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18th century dancing masters

Paul D 03 Mar 11 - 11:53 AM
Mo the caller 03 Mar 11 - 12:03 PM
Jack Campin 03 Mar 11 - 12:06 PM
Chris Green 03 Mar 11 - 12:10 PM
Folkiedave 03 Mar 11 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Mar 11 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,c.g. 03 Mar 11 - 01:55 PM
Paul D 03 Mar 11 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,BobL 03 Mar 11 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Mar 11 - 10:59 PM
GUEST,c.g. 04 Mar 11 - 03:25 AM
Mitch the Bass 04 Mar 11 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,Chris P 04 Mar 11 - 02:53 PM
Paul D 04 Mar 11 - 06:39 PM
Jack Campin 04 Mar 11 - 07:59 PM
GUEST,c.g. 05 Mar 11 - 03:12 AM
Paul D 05 Mar 11 - 06:02 AM
Brian Peters 05 Mar 11 - 11:52 AM
Paul D 05 Mar 11 - 12:04 PM
Thompson 05 Mar 11 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,c.g. 05 Mar 11 - 05:44 PM
Thompson 05 Mar 11 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,c.g. 06 Mar 11 - 07:21 AM
Thompson 06 Mar 11 - 08:43 AM
Jack Campin 06 Mar 11 - 09:05 AM
Tootler 06 Mar 11 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,c.g. 07 Mar 11 - 03:24 AM
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Subject: 18th century dancing masters
From: Paul D
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 11:53 AM

First of all my apologies I posted a similar message in someone else's thread a couple of weeks ago but the thought if I start a new thread I may gather more opinions. I am after people's opinions.

I am in the middle of a project where I am transcribing a complete country dancing master published by John Walsh c1755.

if anybody here has any experience on working on this kind of project I would be grateful of their experiences dealing with such things as

1. deciding whether a tune in such a book with odd number bars in is a mistake or intentional for example I have come across one tune with five bars in the A section and 9 inthe B section. ( decided this was an error.

2. also interested in whether anyone here has experience of transcribing the dances themselves. I am particularly interested in one instruction which is repeated in many of the dances I am looking at called, " right and left" have managed to find at least three different versions of what right and left should mean. ( it would appear different things to different dancing master's)


many thanks for any opinions given


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Mo the caller
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 12:03 PM

The EFDSS dance clubs dance a lot of dances recreated or interpretted from Walsh.
There may be something on Colin Hume's website.
There is an American English Country Dancing
mailing list' which discusses dances, modern and historic.
Some of the dances we dance use Walsh as a starting point and adapt to make a satisfying dance for modern tastes.
The same applies to the dances in John Playfrod's books


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 12:06 PM

I did David Young's Edinburgh dances of 1740, the MS in the Bodleian:

http://www.campin.me.uk/Music/YoungBodleian.abc

Young was pretty careful about the music, and presumably about the dances as well though with the latter I have no way of checking.


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Chris Green
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 12:10 PM

Hi Paul

Firstly thanks again for those tunes you sent me!

Deciding on whether there's a strange number of bars in a tune for a reason or not is always rather tricky. In 'Trip to Parnassus' which you sent me there's a bit in the B section where the addition of an extra bar (well, note really!) just makes the whole thing make a bit more sense - plus you can use it to dance a modern 32 bar polka to. I've uploaded the original and my adaptation here so you can see what I mean.

However, some of the tunes I come across are clearly just designed to have an odd number of bars! My problem with approaching this in a scholarly way is that I have little or no experience of 18th century dance so I have no way of knowing whether they fit the dances or not. I'm only in it for the tunes I'm afraid!

Sorry I can't be more helpful, but thanks again for the tunes!

Chris


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 12:54 PM

Village Music Project?


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 01:46 PM

Hi, Chris

I agree with you about 'Trip to Parnassus.' A B section with only 15 measures is certainly a mistake. Sixteen measures would be traditional.


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: GUEST,c.g.
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 01:55 PM

You can't say that a B section with 15 bars is *certainly* a mistake. You can't assume all dances ever written had multiples of 8 bars. We have to be very careful about assuming things are mistakes, in fact it's better not to unless you have very good reasons in the case of the individual tune.


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Paul D
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 05:06 PM

These books do contain mistakes. They were sometimes engraved by people without musical knowledge. I have found a few fairly obvious mistakes such as missing time signatures, missing bar lines. time signatures given and the notation written out in a different time signature.

as a non-dancer I am just trying to get the opinion whether uneven bars danceable, with figures such as casting up and down surely is not impossible to do to an uneven bar length


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: GUEST,BobL
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 07:30 PM

There certainly are dance tunes out there with strange phrasing (e.g. Huntington's Maggot in Henry Playford's 1698 "Dancing Master", revived in "The Fallibroome Collection"). Popular songs of the time provided one source of tunes, and I'm sure I've come across a few that are padded with nonsense syllables to unusual lengths, though none I could name offhand.

As to whether the dance figures fit the music, well, that is going to depend on the figures. And the answer may not be a definite yea or nay: figures can usually be padded out or hurried up as necessary to fit longer or shorter musical phrases.

BTW, the description "rights and lefts" did indeed mean different things at different times, but the figures are pretty much interchangeable - after all, they were done to the same music. If you're after historic authenticity, the Dolmetsch Society might be able to advise.


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 10:59 PM

Yu culd say tht whn I type like ths, its a new rt form. But mor likly, its a mstake. The 15-mesure thing is a mstake. Fix it and dance it.


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: GUEST,c.g.
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 03:25 AM

I could say Leeneia has *obviously* mis-spelled her name and change it to Lena.

I would be wrong.


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Mitch the Bass
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 05:21 AM

You could contact Andrew Shaw who has published a number of books of dances from this period including, Mr. Kynaston's Famous Dance, The She Favourite and Emperor of the Moon.

His details are at:
http://www.battilana.ndo.co.uk/Publications.htm

I had the pleasure of doing the music engraving for the books but took instruction from Andrew on correction of bar lengths, erroneous notes, missing repeats etc.

Howard Mitchell


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: GUEST,Chris P
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 02:53 PM

Someone above mentioned the Village Music Project. If you look part way down
This Page you will see how we made decisions in similar circumstances.


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Paul D
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 06:39 PM

That page is really helpfull thank you chris.


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 07:59 PM

Chris's way of using ABC to record editiorial decisions is a very good idea (most other notation systems can't do that as easily). I do the same.

But it doesn't address the issue of WHAT editorial decisions you make, confronted with some piece of garble knocked off by an apprentice engraver with a hangover. Usually you can find other copies of the tune that make more sense (though one of Aird's defeated me: he seems to be the only source for it, it's nonsense as it stands, and there's no obvious fix).

Dance code is another problem. I've never had access to a dance expert who could make sense of David Young's instructions - nobody's ever contacted me about making practical use of them. Since I don't even do modern dances of similar type, they could be Masonic rituals or instructions for preparing the Philosopher's Stone for all I know. And it looks like Chris P is editing in a similar vacuum.


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: GUEST,c.g.
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 03:12 AM

Persuading/bribing/threatening some good dancers and a good musician to try the dances is quite a useful way of seeing what happens.


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Paul D
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 06:02 AM

Have found a local lady who seams quite clued in going to meet her next week and hopefuly persuaded her group to try a couple out.

I would say 70% of the book I am transcribing reuses dances published by the Playfords and a good percentage of others that only appear in the book I am working on.

An example of one tune that I believe only appears in this book is called 'Irish Joak', which is the tune that led me to this manuscript as I'm writing my dissertation on the black joak, the collection of bawdy songs attached to it and the whole series of joak tunes


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 11:52 AM

I'd be interested to read that thesis!


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Paul D
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 12:04 PM

That can be agranged, should be done by end of May. The research for it has been really interesting, I have really enjoyed doing it.


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Thompson
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 05:33 PM

If you're going to consult anyone, make sure you wear a tailcoat with a pocket in the tail, so you can pack your foldable violin into it. It was always important that the dancing master didn't carry his tools, but entered through the gentlefolks' entrance rather than the servants'. One must keep up appearances.


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: GUEST,c.g.
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 05:44 PM

But do be careful about sitting down if you have your kit fiddle in your tailcoat pocket.


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Thompson
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 05:49 PM

SPROINNNNNNNNNNNGG!


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: GUEST,c.g.
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 07:21 AM

Probably more like CRUUUNNNCH


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Thompson
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 08:43 AM

Maybe CRUUUUNNCH EEEEEEEEEEEEEE SPROIIIIINNNNNNGG as (a) the instrument is crushed, and (b) the strings engage with the goolies of the master?


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 09:05 AM

The Longleat ballad
Occasion'd by a Gentleman's Sitting upon a Cremona Violin

Now woe to ye Bum yt ys Fiddle demolish'd
That has all our Music & pastime abolish'd;
May it never want birch to be switch'd & be slash'd,
May it ever be itching, and never be scratch'd,
Sing down, down derry down.

[from a volume of broadsides in Glasgow University Library special collections department, N.b.23(39), c.1760]


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: Tootler
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 11:07 AM

Jack,

I like it [VBG]


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Subject: RE: 18th century dancing masters
From: GUEST,c.g.
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 03:24 AM

Jack - thanks. That's brilliant.


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