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doing Playford right

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Jack Campin 01 May 16 - 10:34 AM
Bonzo3legs 01 May 16 - 11:15 AM
Bonzo3legs 01 May 16 - 11:26 AM
BobL 02 May 16 - 03:10 AM
DMcG 02 May 16 - 04:11 AM
DMcG 02 May 16 - 04:40 AM
Bonzo3legs 02 May 16 - 10:10 AM
Bonzo3legs 02 May 16 - 11:00 AM
Mo the caller 03 May 16 - 08:08 AM
DMcG 03 May 16 - 11:53 AM
Jack Campin 03 May 16 - 12:47 PM
GUEST,Peter 03 May 16 - 03:21 PM
Marje 03 May 16 - 04:56 PM
matt milton 04 May 16 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler 04 May 16 - 04:36 PM
Mo the caller 08 May 16 - 08:17 AM
BobL 09 May 16 - 03:19 AM
Mr Red 09 May 16 - 03:51 AM
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Subject: doing Playford right
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 May 16 - 10:34 AM

I just came across this recording by Les Witches (who I know nothing about) doing Playford material FAR more convincingly than anybody else I've heard:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tGi_lM4x60

It's a believable 17th century lineup - violin, recorder, plucked strings, harpsichord and occasional drum - which lets them do much quicker and livelier ornamentation than you ordinarily get in this sort of repertoire. The overall tempo probably isn't much greater than usual, but their level of energy leaves the usual British accordion/melodeon-led performance sounding like a ketamine-fuelled show for dancers moving in knee-deep treacle.

This HAS to be the way it was meant to go.

BTW their harpsichord seems to be a split-key microtonal type - I haven't seen one of those used for folk-ish material before.


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 01 May 16 - 11:15 AM

I have an excellent stereo recording of this band taken from French Radio - Église Saint-Loup, Namur (BE) (Festival Musical de Namur)
4 july 2009


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 01 May 16 - 11:26 AM

Crikey, I have the Nobody's Jig CD as well in lossless FLAC format. I can upload to my dropbox if you like.


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: BobL
Date: 02 May 16 - 03:10 AM

I too have the CD - but there's only one track that I think could actually be danced to.
There's a "Zesty Playford" movement active in the Coventry area, and workshops at various festivals, and the Playford Liberation Front workshops at Halsway Manor have turned out some interesting variants. See caller Colin Hume's comments: I'd go along with everything he says.


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: DMcG
Date: 02 May 16 - 04:11 AM

Good notes from Colin Hume referred to above. For me, the essential point of.the Playford tunes is the can be danced to: lose sight of that and you lose the point. The notes refer to the "Orange and Blue" recordings of the 1970s and I think they have the speed spot on for my tastes.


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: DMcG
Date: 02 May 16 - 04:40 AM

Picking up this "zesty playford" theme. Back in the early 70's I went to an IVFDF event at York. To get to the part where they were doing whatever I was going to I had to pass through a hall where Scottish dancing was being practised. It was a large hall and we had to enter and leave at opposite corners, so it took may two minutes to cross avoiding tables, bags, etc etc. I. The centre they were practising four bars of music and the dance movement. Again, and again, and again. Same phrase, same movement. After around two hours in where I was dancing I came back through the same hall and sure enough those same four bars were playing. I can't be certain it was the same people, of course, but my impression is it was.

Each to their own. Naturally, but to my mind tha only people I expect to be that obsessed with "doing it right" are professional ballet dancers. You are in the realm of being entertainers who are watched, not dancing for itself.

So the phrase "Doing Playford right" to me means something much more like the zesty approach, not museum perfect specimen performances.


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 02 May 16 - 10:10 AM

French and Belgian radio broadcasts now uploading to dropbox. They are both in lossless flac format. It says 30 minutes left! I'll post the links when upload is complete.

If yu are not familiar with flac format, free software like Foobar2000 & VU Player will play these. Alternatively, use Traders Little Helper to convert to wav format which will play in Windows Media Player.


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 02 May 16 - 11:00 AM

here you go!

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fourw8hq53l6jsi/AADNiFCf3ged--7MndHAKYLOa?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/nu15t60pjn1kww6/AABMc-UBv6iHIl4Hm2W7gOc4a?dl=0


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: Mo the caller
Date: 03 May 16 - 08:08 AM

DMcG.
I agree with you about the excellence of the Orange and Blue recordings.
I also agree that we dance for enjoyment.
But I disagree with the use of the word 'obsess'. There is a time and place for everything.
As a caller I try to choose dances that those present will enjoy, and to teach them in so that they can succeed - if that means giving hints about short cuts and (always) ignoring historical footwork, so be it. If the age of the dancers means they have to walk not dance, and cut out the twiddly bits to avoid getting dizzy - well we still enjoy the company, the music and the shape of the dances.
But it can be a joy to dance in a group that gets the dance right without the shortcuts (...square the set and start again...never mind which side as long as you are opposite your partner... etc). And at a festival there is a place for a workshop where you can really get to grips with something hard - historical footwork or whatever.
Same with playing. You can bumble along, going to sessions, joining in a bit, getting a little bit better at joining in but never really up-to-speed. Or you can practise. Each to their own (why am I on here when I should be practising)


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: DMcG
Date: 03 May 16 - 11:53 AM

I wouldn't disagree with most of that. Mo. There is certainly a place for getting things 'as correct as possible' in most things. I do think, though, that it is very easy to lose sight what the purpose is when you concentrate on perfection. I don't say everyone does, by any means, but the risk is there. For example, my daughter was very keen on Irish dancing and frequently went into competitions where, being relatively junior, the assessors had maybe thirty or forty people to get through in an hour; so four people would start simultaneously, dance for four or five seconds and the bell would ring: off you go, next batch. For my tastes, that misses the whole joy of the thing. You get the same in music sometimes: some people are so focused on getting technical perfection that they forget it is the slight variation in timings, emphasis and so on that humanises the music and that is what brings it to life.


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 May 16 - 12:47 PM

The problem with a lot of British takes on Playford is neither lack of technical perfection or an excessive fixation on it. It's that the whole show has been dumbed down into a maundering shuffle done to leaden music, and the participants don't see that it might ever be any different.


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 03 May 16 - 03:21 PM

The problem with a lot of British takes on Playford is neither lack of technical perfection or an excessive fixation on it. It's that the whole show has been dumbed down into a maundering shuffle done to leaden music, and the participants don't see that it might ever be any different.

+1


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: Marje
Date: 03 May 16 - 04:56 PM

We were once dancing in a set of EFDASS dancers who favoured the Playford Plod style. We were not expert dancers but we liked to bounce around with a bit of energy. One couple actually complained that our dancing was "too tense", and that we should relax and dance with less energy and pace - they couldn't cope with people whose feet actually left the floor sometimes.

I have also danced with RSCDS dancers, who have a different set of preoccupations: I was just about managing to get the footwork right, and learning to do a few dances without a caller, but then I was asked to try to keep my arms closer to my sides, in case my loosely swinging limbs bumped into anyone else during the dance.

Marje


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: matt milton
Date: 04 May 16 - 08:46 AM

Perhaps not entirely germane to this discussion, because I'm not especially interested in whether the music is suitable for dancing or not...

...But I've recently been enjoying the album of Playford tunes called 'New New Nothing' by Shulamit Kleinerman. It came out in 2008 and, to my ears, finds a happy medium between Early Music/Baroque tempo and restraint and a livelier folky ornamentation/double-stopping etc.


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler
Date: 04 May 16 - 04:36 PM

"doing Playford right" is not just a matter of "plod v zesty", but more of "alterations v original". There is a move called the Grimstock Hey, whereby each gender heys on their own side, but join hands when the meet each other at the ends and, having turned direction hold nearest hands until they meet another couple, when they loose hands and having passed them, reverse, rejoin hands and start again. In Mr Playford's original 1651 book, the hey in the Grimstock dance is a simple dip and dive!


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: Mo the caller
Date: 08 May 16 - 08:17 AM

Actually there are 3 different heys in the dance Grimstock,one with no mention of hands one (the one in the 2nd figure) of which may be a simple dip and dive. Or is it a dip & dive holding both hands with partner? And is the hey in the 3rd figure a cross-Grimstock, or is it the figure that Cecil Sharpe describes in his interpretation, or something else completely.
Not so easy to guess what the concise dance directions in Playford mean. Actually all dance instructions are open to misinterpretation; in books from the first half of the last century (and in some modern cd insets) the term "R hands across" is used for something that most people would call a right hand star - and I've known some callers invent a different figure on reading this.


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: BobL
Date: 09 May 16 - 03:19 AM

Different times, different names and sometimes different ways of doing the same thing: hands across, star, mullinet, capstan; hey, reel, grand chain, rights and lefts. Also, the same names could be used for different figures, e.g. allemande. It all adds to the fun.


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Subject: RE: doing Playford right
From: Mr Red
Date: 09 May 16 - 03:51 AM

there is a problem with "getting it right" and that is when there are "mixed experienced" (note - not abilities). There is often one man (not always male) who knows the thing backwards, and you can dance Cajun, French, Breton, Irish Set, Latvian, Scandi and even Contra, but you don't know this particular set, even though you have switched languages to the current genre (almost). And there is a language to all these genres. More than a dialect.

Then this knowitall grabs you and pushes.

My point, and I make it to all newbies, is that grab and push is a primeval danger signal and it tends to wipe your short term memory to deal with the danger. So all that focused concentration you were applying is lost. And they can't see that.

Help? They know nothing!

The correct procedure is hand gestures; point, rotate etc.


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