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tune names - may I vent?

leeneia 02 Jun 17 - 10:28 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Jun 17 - 10:31 AM
Manitas_at_home 02 Jun 17 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 02 Jun 17 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Some anonymous Adonis 02 Jun 17 - 10:49 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Jun 17 - 01:20 PM
Will Fly 02 Jun 17 - 01:23 PM
Jack Campin 02 Jun 17 - 03:06 PM
Will Fly 02 Jun 17 - 03:29 PM
leeneia 02 Jun 17 - 05:02 PM
GUEST 02 Jun 17 - 05:16 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Jun 17 - 05:34 PM
Jack Campin 02 Jun 17 - 06:16 PM
leeneia 02 Jun 17 - 07:05 PM
Tangledwood 02 Jun 17 - 10:23 PM
GUEST, topsie 03 Jun 17 - 03:43 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 03 Jun 17 - 03:45 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 03 Jun 17 - 03:51 AM
Will Fly 03 Jun 17 - 04:28 AM
Tattie Bogle 03 Jun 17 - 05:24 AM
doc.tom 03 Jun 17 - 06:38 AM
leeneia 03 Jun 17 - 11:32 AM
Jack Campin 03 Jun 17 - 11:34 AM
CupOfTea 03 Jun 17 - 12:59 PM
Tattie Bogle 03 Jun 17 - 01:07 PM
gillymor 03 Jun 17 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,Dave Hunt 03 Jun 17 - 02:18 PM
Jack Campin 03 Jun 17 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery 04 Jun 17 - 07:33 AM
treewind 04 Jun 17 - 08:36 AM
treewind 04 Jun 17 - 08:38 AM
leeneia 04 Jun 17 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery 05 Jun 17 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery 05 Jun 17 - 04:29 AM
GUEST 05 Jun 17 - 04:51 AM
Mr Red 05 Jun 17 - 05:04 AM
treewind 05 Jun 17 - 06:42 AM
Mo the caller 05 Jun 17 - 07:21 AM
Mo the caller 05 Jun 17 - 07:46 AM
Jack Campin 05 Jun 17 - 08:10 AM
leeneia 05 Jun 17 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,Dave Hunt 05 Jun 17 - 04:07 PM
Mo the caller 07 Jun 17 - 04:56 AM
GUEST 07 Jun 17 - 10:53 AM
leeneia 07 Jun 17 - 11:36 AM
Manitas_at_home 07 Jun 17 - 11:55 AM
Mo the caller 07 Jun 17 - 04:24 PM
CupOfTea 07 Jun 17 - 05:53 PM
leeneia 07 Jun 17 - 08:27 PM
Phil Cooper 07 Jun 17 - 10:13 PM
Will Fly 08 Jun 17 - 04:07 AM
Mr Red 08 Jun 17 - 04:58 AM
Will Fly 08 Jun 17 - 05:07 AM
leeneia 08 Jun 17 - 11:13 AM
Jack Campin 08 Jun 17 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Phil Cooper on spouse's laptop 09 Jun 17 - 08:24 AM
leeneia 09 Jun 17 - 01:33 PM
Mo the caller 09 Jun 17 - 04:54 PM
Jack Campin 09 Jun 17 - 05:21 PM
leeneia 10 Jun 17 - 11:23 AM
Jack Campin 10 Jun 17 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,Peter 11 Jun 17 - 05:42 AM
Mo the caller 11 Jun 17 - 06:09 AM
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Subject: tune names - may I vent?
From: leeneia
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 10:28 AM

I play music for country dancers, and I'm the band member who knows the most about computers and music. And so, when our fearless leader went to Germany, it fell to me to locate 15 dances for the other players. I had a bad cold during this period, and like most people, I had a life to live at the same time.

And I just wanna say this to the people who compose new dances and new tunes. Would you please do us all a favor and stop being clever? For example.

The tune and the dance do not need two unrelated names, unless people have composed more than one dance to a good tune. Calling 'Bruxa' 'Flying Sorceress' just because you thought of flying saucers makes things more complicated.

Don't use a name like '1a'. Where is it in an index?

I don't care if you have a friend named Genevieve. I want 'Jig for Jenny,' not 'Gigue for Genny.' Same with 'High Ginks' and 'Handel with Care.'   It's not that amazing that you are familiar with Handel. We all are.

Do not name a tune after a brachiopod unless the spelling is straightforward. Unusual spellings (in this case, Greek) waste volunteer time because they quickly get corrupted.   
=========
I'm willing to contribute my time, but but I resent people who waste it.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 10:31 AM

Gulp!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 10:33 AM

Better compose the tunes yourself then!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 10:44 AM

[i]'The tune and the dance do not need two unrelated names, unless people have composed more than one dance to a good tune. Calling 'Bruxa' 'Flying Sorceress' just because you thought of flying saucers makes things more complicated.'
[/i]

Given that 'A Bruxa' translates as 'The Witch' from the Galician, how related do you want your names?


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST,Some anonymous Adonis
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 10:49 AM

I've never referred to real names in all my years of playing.

Granny get off the stove, you're too old to ride the range.

I thought my nose was bleeding but it's not

Why can't you see I love you when it's sticking out a mile.

Etc etc.

Give the po faced buggers some enjoyment, most of them need it.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 01:20 PM

Here are some of the tunes from our latest album.
Old Joe, the boat is going over
Sobriety on the Humber, 25th April, 2012
The Flying Lock Key

Do we pass muster?


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 01:23 PM

Our ceilidh band uses two callers - they sometimes call the same dance but want different tunes for their version of the dance. That's what they get - and we don't particularly care.

We play a tune whose proper name is "J.B. Milne" - it's often used for a dance called "Knutsford", so we often just refer to it as "Knutsford", even though the dances it's used for by our callers are neither of them called "Knutsford". Fun, eh?

Dances are dances - they have the same steps all the time - but you can play any suitable tune set for a dance as long as it fits. Who cares - the dancers rarely do, unless you're playing for a well established dance such as the "Dashing White Sergearnt" where, oddly enough, we play a tune called "The Dashing White Sergeant".

If I was a composer of tunes, which I'm not (other than one called "The Lurcher" which changes time signatures every few bars or so), I'd call 'em just what I wanted - just for the hell of it.

As to "La", "Une" and "Le" and other such definite/indefinite articles - well, that's what they are in foreign languages. My alphabetisation rule for it is simple: If the tune title is in English and begins with ""A" or "The", the article goes at the end after a comma: "Lurcher, The". If it's a foreign tune, the article goes at the front: "Le Canal En Octobre".

Simples.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 03:06 PM

In Turkish music just about all tunes are called "<form> in <mode> by <composer>".

In Breton music you don't even get that. The prevailing attitude is that names are for wimps.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 03:29 PM

And in Sweden everything is a polska (which is NOT a polka).


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: leeneia
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 05:02 PM

All our dances are one-off. One dance is done to one tune. I wish we had a repertoire of easy dances which people could get under their belts so they can relax more. But our leaders don't want to make it easy.

So, Peter, to answer your question, if the tune has a name, call the unique dance to it by the same name. If you compose a dance for the existing tune "Bruxa", call it "Bruxa."

Here are a few illogical pairings which I would rather not bother with:

Autumn in Amherst to the Red Star Line

Alice to Siciliano

General Grooviness to March for Warren


and if you like twee, The Chocolate Equation, danced to a tune called 72%

Meanwhile, I'm dealing with certain fellow musicians who can barely find the rehearsal spot, much less organize their music.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 05:16 PM

So you wouldn't approve of a dance (North West, I think they called it The Banks) to "The Blaydon Races", "The Man Who Broke The Bank At Monte Carlo" and "Nellie The Elephant" then?


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 05:34 PM

I sympathise, Leeneia. Most of our Brit bands are led by either the caller or the lead musician. IMO the lead musician should decide the tune sets unless the caller is also a musician and prefers regular sets for each dance. I was always part of or organised bands for public dancing and we always kept the dances easy and generally used the same tune sets for each dance. Never was interested in dancers' dances, but each to their own.

Having been with the same band for 30-odd years most of the tune titles were abbreviated, e.g., Rakes, Irish and Shandon was a set consisting of Rakes of Kildare, Irish Washerwoman and Shandon Bells usually used with the dance Bridge of Athlone.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 06:16 PM

In Shetland music you get The Five Tunes.

For Irish music it's even simpler, with The Three Tunes.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: leeneia
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 07:05 PM

They can dance to whatever they want, but I don't want them wasting my time searching for the Liptiana Waltz when it's the Leptaena Waltz. Again, it's probably not a good idea to name a waltz after a brachiopod.

I must say we do get to play some beautiful music. But it troubles me that people come once and never come again. I think we need less challenge and more fun.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Tangledwood
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 10:23 PM

At the bushdance and ceilis I usually play at the music for a dance usually comprises of a set of three tunes, repeated or partially repeated if required for the length of the dance. Should all three tunes have the same name?


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 03:43 AM

"And in Sweden everything is a polska (which is NOT a polka)."

Well, not everything. Maybe Richard Mellish should come in here.

Whichever tune is chosen, what matters is that the rhythm of the tune matches the steps the dancers will be doing. Though mistakes here can have interesting results. I was once at a dance where the caller called The Rifleman, walked the dancers through it and told them to rant. The band then played a hornpipe. For those of us who ignored the instructions and did a hornpipe step it was BRILLIANT.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 03:45 AM

'For Irish music it's even simpler, with The Three Tunes. '

I don't know about that Jack, for Seán Nós dancers it's more often the one : Miss McLeaod's (or the New Mown Meadow, in fairness).


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 03:51 AM

Tune players no longer solely exist for the pleasure of the dancers. There have been players who decidedly preferred to play 'for he heart rather than the feet' for a very long time. They can name tunes whatever way they like.

As well, tunes get re-purposed over time, as dancing fashions change. Should they all be re-named?


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 04:28 AM

"And in Sweden everything is a polska (which is NOT a polka)."

'Twas a joke!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 05:24 AM

In one of the bands I play in, we have a pretty extensive list of sets. They are grouped by type of dance, and listed numerically and by name of first tune in each set, e.g. all the 1s are Gay Gordons Sets, all the 6s are Eightsome Reels (9 tunes in each set there!)
At the end of the list, is a large group of "one-offs" for specific named dances. However, many of the latter group can be used for other dances, so our computer person has further referenced each and every set as, e.g. 32-bar jig, 32-bar reel, 48-bar jig, etc. Not everyone in the band is actually a dancer, but those of us who are can advise which sets would fit which dances. ( And yes, we have Peter Milne too.)
We do introduce new tunes and sets from time to time, but these will be catalogued into the appropriate group as above.
And we take it in turns to choose sets for practices and gigs, a month each, so it's not always "the lead musician" who makes the choice: so the set list for a gig is pretty well decided in advance, not on the night: (however, sometimes changes may be made on the night, depending on possible requests, competence and age of dancers, etc.)
But going back to Leenia's original post, if people want specific esoterically named tunes added, they should be pointing you to a source, nit leaving you to do all the donkey-work!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: doc.tom
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 06:38 AM

Band: Caller: Dancers.
Caller is I/C: She/he should be able to tell the band the name of the dance (in case the band have a set they usually use) AND the rhythm, number of bars and pace (in case they don't).
Band: Should have an 'in rehearsal' repertoire that covers pretty much all of the rhythms and bars the average caller is likely to require. It doesn't matter what the tunes are called. With any luck they will also have a 'for listening' or 'not for dancing' repertoire that occasionally lets them show how good they are and give the dancers a rest.
Dancers: The band and caller have to work with they get!
If the above does not apply to the Band and Caller, they have no business taking money for doing a dance.
Just my opinion, of course!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: leeneia
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 11:32 AM

"...if people want specific esoterically named tunes added, they should be pointing you to a source, nit leaving you to do all the donkey-work!"

Bless you, Tattie Boble. You get the point. I'm not talking about playing music, I"m talking about office work and about making the office work go smoothly.

Here's how our country dance works. There are at least five callers. They meet in secret, and about 3 weeks before the dance, they pick the dances they want to teach. In their minds, a dance and a certain tune are inextricably linked. The leader sends out an e-mail asking for musicians and attaching the sheet music for the tunes. This month, she was abroad and only listed the titles.

That would be fine if composers didn't waste volunteer time with precious titles, fake titles, and titles that are hard to google. That's all I'm saying.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 11:34 AM

I feel a set of Anthony Braxton numbers coming on...


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: CupOfTea
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 12:59 PM

Leena,

I'm both laughing and sympathizing with your plight - working on Leptaena Waltz myself for a dance next Friday. I'll vent along with you - many of the tune/dance combos you've listed are ones we've done, and I was grousing about this very double-barreled issue. Our band started an "Addendum" for all the Not-in-Barnes tunes, and though some of them showed up in Barnes II, the newer dances kept coming with Dance Name done to   A Tune From Somewhere. I started keeping an index that listed both dance and tune names, so when we got the dance list I could FIND the bloody thing.

We have been fortunate that mostly the caller who wants to do these double barrelled combos will provide the music. We're unfortunate when they do it the next time & don't remember there was a different tune name. This trend has been escalating. Recent additions have all been going into an app on my iPad where I keep my dance music, and I will list both tune and dance names., for my own sanity.

I will further add to the complaint - some of the tunes for newly trending dances are not well suited to dances. (I think) it was Sapphire Sea, where after hearing raptures about what a great flow it had, I found as the rhythm section, I couldn't find the beat to save my life.

For traditional NIB tunes that are on the Session or ABC; I recently spent about 2 hours, a call to an out of state friend and him sending me a PDF from a tune book, to use a Scottish tune, another couple hours modifying an ABC version to match the book version, only to have the fiddle and recorder player say "Oh, we won't do that,we want the one from the Session" that looks nothing like the tune in the Scottish source, and the piano player saying "that's great" I weep in frustration. So, a wry laugh, and much sympathy. And isn't Abruxa a very nice tune???

Cheers from Cleveland,
Joanne


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 01:07 PM

And typos rule do they nit? Tattie Boble. It's all the stress!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: gillymor
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 01:45 PM

If I can do some ventilating of my own, Jack Campin pointed out above that "In Breton music you don't even get that. The prevailing attitude is that names are for wimps."
Some of my favorite Breton tunes are simply called An Dro or Breton Dance which can be aggravating when you're looking for notation.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST,Dave Hunt
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 02:18 PM

I agree totally with Dr. Tom (an old friend) I have been calling for over 40 years (and for over 200 different bands!) I obviously inhabit a VERY different dance world to Leeneia! NONE of the bands I work with play from the dots..they have learned the tunes!..They may have favourite sets for certain dances as they have found that a particular set of tunes fits the dance really well, otherwise, I just ask for e,g '32 bar polkas, ten times through please' and any decent band will have plenty in their repertoire to chose from.. OK some bands may have lots of hornpipes they like to use, others lots of good jigs....so I always try to choose dances which allow them to show off their good stuff!...I am also a musician which helps!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 02:39 PM

These problems can be helped a bit by theme coding. I think Breandan Breathnach was the first to do this for a significant repertoire, but there have been a couple of larger efforts since - the National Tune Index (mostly English and Scottish material up to 1800) and Charles Gore's Scottish Fiddle Music Index.

If somebody wants (Gore system) 11H66 3333 in A, there's only one tune it can be.

http://www.scottishmusicindex.org/


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery
Date: 04 Jun 17 - 07:33 AM

Well I never, !! Like Dave Hunt I find Leenia's Description of the Dances she plays at, Bizzare in the extreme !!, ....Secret Meetings with 5 callers,... dances planned 3 weeks in advance, Dances inextricably linked to one tune, dances they want to "Teach". I have played for Barn Dances Ceilids, country dances, call 'em what you like, ..we do not play from music, we have learnt a repertoire of suitable tunes for most of the popular dances that any caller is likely to use, and he/she will ask for, for example, a 32 bar polka or a 48 bar jig or whatever, and the band picks a suitable tune from our repertoire and away we go. Some times a caller will ask for a particular tune, if we know it we play, if not we use an alternative, ...Ive never met a caller who was fazed by this, its perfectly normal practice as far as I,m aware.
I cannot see how you can decide what your going to play 3 weeks before you get to the gig, I cant envisage how you could arrive to play at say, someone wedding with a ready made programme, it all depends on the mood, competency, and requirements of the clients as to how the caller runs the evening Surely ??


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: treewind
Date: 04 Jun 17 - 08:36 AM

I play in an English ceilidh band which also sometimes plays for what we call "Social Dance" in England. They really are not the same thing at all.

Ceilidh: At the gig, caller ask for polkas/reels or jigs, and how many bars. (+ the occasional hornpipe, waltz etc.) Band chooses tunes from its repertoire and plays, usually from memory.

Social dance: Caller contacts band weeks before the gig (hopefully) with a list of dances and tunes. Maybe sends PDF of tunes, maybe quotes numbers from the Barnes book or other reference. Band makes arrangements, rehearses and plays from music. In many cases only one tune will fit each dance (especially for Playford). Learning every tune would be a nightmare.

What we English call "social dance", the Americans call "English Country Dance". What we call "English Ceilidh" has no exact equivalent in the USA, but Contra is similar (and we also have contra over here). Judging from what happens at the Cambridge Contra Club, everything is either jigs or reels and picked at random from a book of tune sets ("jigs 17", "reels 5" etc.)

We played for social dance workshops at Chippenham Folk Festival this year. One of our callers who was doing a "Zesty Playford" workshop was deliberately vague about tunes ("any 32 bar tune", or "jigs at 115 bpm") but the others were very specific about tunes for dances. There was some confusion, typically because there are sometimes two tunes with the same name, but a flurry of emails resolved things well enough by the time we had to play.

Incidentally the two dance genres are so different we don't even play the same instruments for each, keeping fiddle and recorder/flute but swapping melodeon for cello and switching the keyboard from piano to harpsichord. The baroque ensemble lineup apparently went down very well with the dancers at Chippenham, who are used to having a piano accordion leading the band.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: treewind
Date: 04 Jun 17 - 08:38 AM

Oops! broken link. If you're interested: Fendragon is our band...


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: leeneia
Date: 04 Jun 17 - 04:12 PM

Hi, CupofTea. Welcome to the inner golden circle of people who read carefully enough to know that my OP is about distributing music, not about playing notes.

About the tune where you couldn't find the beat. We had one of those, 'The Bemused Benthologist'. (Twee tune name alert!) Our pianist has her master's in performance, and even she had to battle to make it sound like a dance. And after all our practice, the callers didn't do it.

However, we had a beautiful evening. We had a lot of beginners, so things were slowed down. This means that players play more in tune and improvisations are richer. We did 4 lovely waltzes,

A Bruxa
Lepteana or is it Leptaena?
Dear Mama and Dear Papa
The Royal Albert Waltz

I crafted the Royal Albert by turning a 6/8 tune into 3/4 and eliminating certain jiggy features which didn't work in a waltz. It was very beautiful by the time we got done.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery
Date: 05 Jun 17 - 04:12 AM

Ahh !! thanks Anahata, it seems a little clearer now what the O.P was saying, Was it Churchill that said " Two nations separated by a common language" !!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery
Date: 05 Jun 17 - 04:29 AM

Sorry.... Cut myself of !! Apologies to Leenia if I seemed Churlish,I sort of assumed that "English Country Dance" would be similar to what we would call an bard dance or "English ceilidh" over here, and found it difficult to see how you could plan something like that 3 weeks in advance, and why you would need "secret" meetings, or that degree of specificity in tunes. thanks to "Treewind" above I now understand.
Perhaps we need a U.S To U.K folk dictionary, to avoid international misunderstandings !!!.God knows there are enough of those in the "real" world, !!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 17 - 04:51 AM

I am well aware of the distinction between eceilidh and "social dance" but, outside of the historic dance repertoire, there are very few dances that require a set tune even if some have one commonly associated with them.

If you are actually teaching then unecessarily linking dances to specific melodies can make life more difficult for the dancers if they subsequently encounter the same dance with a different tune or, worse, that tune used for a different dance. I know that SWMBO will curse bitterly and make mistakes if the band uses a tune that she has had associated with a different dance.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Mr Red
Date: 05 Jun 17 - 05:04 AM

Well, call me anything but "po-faced" AND:

The whole exercise is enjoyment, and if there is humour in pairing a dance name with a tune name - it all adds to the night. With the caveat, they have to be announced, otherwise it is an in joke and they are not as funny.

And IME contra (which seems to be the genre discussed in the OP) is more about cleverness cf  English Ceilidh.

Being a programmer I would add that the power of a good database and also the internet is that the search can be free-form. But yes, it takes time when you consider that people are people and have differing ideas on neatness and format. Putting a comment on the dance documentation to the effect "tunes, try XXX, or yyy, or ZZZ" with a few variations in spelling/ word order for the &/or le if the entry format was known.

Consider HTML file names....... Some clever, intelligent professional web designers are so neat and orthoganal they name their page "festival-May-2017.htm" neglecting to understand that kind-hearted webmeisters link to them for free and next year (or month) it is a broken or useless link. And not all links are on webpages, far more are on "favourites" - and users just say "OK! next festival"! ....... "current.htm" is sufficient every month/year, duplicated for posterity with clever filenames.

My mantra is "if you can find it, it is tidy"

I often suggest "Horses Brawle" in the key of GG (slang for horse). But the real joke is that it is (correctly) G to Gm. A groan, with a supçon of cleverness!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: treewind
Date: 05 Jun 17 - 06:42 AM

'I am well aware of the distinction between eceilidh and "social dance"'
(Whoever you are) but clearly some people here weren't...

'outside of the historic dance repertoire, there are very few dances that require a set tune even if some have one commonly associated with them.'
I did notice during some of our Chippenham dances that the "set tune" for a dance was, for example, a fairly generic 32 bar jig, and wondered if it would really matter if we played a different tune, or how many people would have noticed.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 05 Jun 17 - 07:21 AM

I've not had the pleasure of dancing to Fendragon yet. Hope I do soon (I love your cello).

On Set tunes,
A) Many 'social dance' bands change to alternative tunes part way through, then back to the original to finish.
B) In the eighteen & nineteenth century publishers DID name dances after the tunes: confusing in a different way, as there were - Different dances in different books.
Same tune different names
Same name different tunes
C) Some ceilidh dances are also wedded to their own tune and cause confusion when the band changes. E.g. Blaydon Races which has a swing at the end - tempting to go into a promenade unless the tune takes you back to forward and back.
D) Some ceilidh dances work with some of a particular type of tune but not others. It is good if the caller is given a set-list in advance and can pair her most often called dances with tunes on the list.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 05 Jun 17 - 07:46 AM

On programme planning.
I don't see how you can blame the composer for wasting your time - it's the callers responsibility to know what is wanted.

Personally when I call at a Social dance club with live music (we usually dance to recordings) I like to find out what the musicians already enjoy playing and use a fair proportion of those tunes. Obviously this wouldn't work in a higher powered setting.

Do your 5 callers call for every dance? It must be hard to build up a balanced evening. The clubs I call at have a rota, with a caller responsible for a whole evening or half. New callers are slotted in with 1 or 2 dances. I've noticed that new callers are eager to try out the new, clever, dances they've enjoyed dancing. More experienced callers call according to the club members abilities. But if you only get a few dances each evening you may not want to repeat a 'chestnut'

I went to 2 dances a week apart with the same band. Both were clubs' Christmas Dances. One included some familiar dances that could be played to 'any jig or reel' as well as some dances with set tunes and some newer dances. Both the band and dancers had breathers to relax and play or dance well. The band was excellent.
The next was all dances and tunes I didn't know. And it sounded as if the band were sight-reading. Didn't sound like the same band. For me the joy was less.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Jun 17 - 08:10 AM

To me, the obvious dance with a specific tune is "Petronella" - "dah dee dah, dah dee dah, dah dee STOMP STOMP STOMP". But that's from the 18th century. Doesn't anybody write them like that any more?


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: leeneia
Date: 05 Jun 17 - 02:51 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Henry. The situation where I live is very different from the situation where you live.

Our callers are younger people (age 30 - 50) who love to dance but are not ballet dancers or other professionals. They did not grow up in villages or attend schools where all the children learn the local dances.

They get the dances and the tunes from books and from the Internet. (in our case, often the books of Peter Barnes or Brooke Friendly) The callers are not musicians, and they need someone to tell them what goes with what.

The situation for the musicians is similar. We don't memorize tunes, but give us the notes and chords, and we can turn a simple melodic line into an interesting, ever-varying piece of music. And that's a good thing, because if we wouldn't we'd soon grow very bored and stop playing.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST,Dave Hunt
Date: 05 Jun 17 - 04:07 PM

From above... '.Our callers are younger people (age 30 - 50) who love to dance but are not ballet dancers or other professionals. They did not grow up in villages or attend schools where all the children learn the local dances.'   Neither did the vast majority of callers I know ....most grew up in urban environments and these days one is very lucky to find any Primary School who teach dance let alone 'local' dances...no space in the curriculum! Most people come to it as adults...that is dancers AND callers AND musicians


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 04:56 AM

If a caller get a dance from a book that book should say what tune you need, and this info should be passed to the musicians. If you find it on Youtube you can pass the link to the musicians.

Is anyone training your callers in programme planning?

Do you repeat many dances or is it a new programme each time. I think the band would benefit from a chance to know how a dance and tune go together. There are points in a dance where the tune needs to be straightforward (obvious phrasing) and points where dancers appreciate 'interesting'. Not saying that you do this, but I went to a PTA dance where the band were enjoying a tune but most of the (non)dancers were finding it hard to hear the phrasing - a different group would have enjoyed the fun in a simple dance.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 10:53 AM

I thought the RSCDS were far enough their own backsides with all thir invented- proves the English are just as far up


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: leeneia
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 11:36 AM

Hello, Mo. No, I don't think our callers are trained. And I find that kindly-meant advice meets only with defensiveness. However, it seems that there's now an experienced caller working behind the scenes whose advice is being taken.

For one thing, we not longer follow somebody-or-other's dictate as to speed, Instead, speeds are tried out and changed as needed to fit the group.

But none of that was on my mind when I started this thread. This thread is a protest about composers of dances and music who waste my time with precious titles and nonstandard spellings. I'm already volunteering to help refugees, to paint my church, to play music in church and to lead my band. I don't need them wasting my time with dance titles like "72%".


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 11:55 AM

Their tunes, their choice. No-one's forcing you to use them.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 04:24 PM

I would be sorry if composers couldn't express their sense of fun in the choice of titles.
It's the caller' job not to waste your time, not the composer


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: CupOfTea
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 05:53 PM

From what Leena said in the OP, particularly the tune names, I assumed she was talking about the same thing I was - in Cleveland, Ohio, the genre we call English Country Dance. In the 30+ years I've been a dancer, then later a dance musician, the tunes came out of Peter Barnes's book and originally, the dance & tune went by the same name, using a very historic repertoire.

Came a burst of creativity, new dances being written, set to old or new tunes, and in Barnes book 2, there was the start of THIS tune for THAT dance in the titles, and with Brooke Friendly, Joseph Pimentel, and in my case, local Steve Otlowski, we were inundated with lots of NIB (Not in Barnes) tunes only recently wed to new dances (and when they wed, they do NOT assume the same name!) So where years ago, we might have been able to play Lilliburlero, Jamaica, Duke of Kent, and many others by memory, now in an evening of 12 dances, 2-6 of them may be entirely new dances with new tunes, which take a bit of rehearsal. Particularly when premiering a dance for the first time with live dancers, you can't just noodle your way through the tune, you must be able to give some structure on it's virgin run.

Treewind's description of Ceilidh and Social dance preparation translate very well to Contra & English Country dance for me. I also play in a contra dance band, where the band picks the music at the rehearsal before the next dance, and we work from that, changing order if a reel or a jig is needed for a particular dance. As an open band, many are just learning the music, so we play from dots. We all do this for fun, not for the minimal money, and there is enjoyment in the challenge of the new - we just want to make appropriate preparations, so that the dancers enjoy it too.

Joanne in Cleveland
PS. just for the heckofit, here's what I have on my plate for our "Travelog" dance Friday:

Trip to Amsterdam - Tune: The Last New Vagaries
Trip to Provence (will get music asap) (author is emailing it)
Trip to Spain - Tune - Donastia
Trip to Cincinnati - Leptaena Waltz
Trip to Woodstock - Tune: Ding Dong Merrily On High
Trip to Tintagel - Tune: The King's Reel (the debated tune described in my first post)

and Blessedly, the familiar out of Barnes:
Trip to to Jamaica - Tune: Jamaica
Trip to Greene
Trip to the Manors
Trip to Kilburn
Trip to Paris
Trip to Virginia
6 of these dances never done before in Cleveland. fun fun fun!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: leeneia
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 08:27 PM

That sounds great, CupofTea. I think I would feel right at home with your group, and I would have fun doing the music.

As you say, musicians have to get proficient with the music so they phrase it to suit the dance.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 10:13 PM

Consistency for indexing tunes is a great idea. As a maker of tunes sometimes (i'm still finding great trad one's to play and learn as well), I like to have fun with the titles. We have a series of tunes made up for our cats. I'm not sure how many would be dance appropriate, but there you go. I hesitate to say I compose tunes, as to my mind Mozart is a composer, I just mess around. I've wanted to try making up a tune called The trickling old lady and the dribbling old man, but of course it would have to be a slip jig. I'm the one guilty of scanning and sending Cupoftea the Skye Collection version of The King's Reel, by the way. Love getting challenging requests in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Wish my knees could still hold up and I'd be able to dance, but there you go. Sorry for the thread drift.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 04:07 AM

The variations in practice for different sorts of dances in different countries is fascinating.

Our 5-piece band (fiddle, mandolin/guitar, guitar/tenor guitar, bass & drums) uses either of two callers, depending on availability. So we have two dance lists - one for each caller - with dances which may or may not be on each list, i.e. there is some overlap. However, the same dance may have a different tune set, according to the arrangements we have with each of the callers! And we always have sets in reserve, for playing to a dance or for listening in between dances.

Our band plays mainly for private functions - weddings, birthday parties and PTAs and the occasional charity function. On the night, the caller will see who gets up to dance and assesses on the fly, as the evening goes on, the ability and enthusiasm of the dancers. In the main, the dancers are of mixed age and very varied ability, so the caller has to be able to get it right for the majority of the people. Many will never have danced at a ceilidh before - some (usually Scottish) will be more experienced and ask for a particular dance to be called. Dancing involving Strip The Willow is always a good one. The caller checks out the dancers and sets the agenda for the evening - always bearing in mind the wishes of the client.

So, the dance names might be titles like "Clopton Bridge", "Wringing Out The Washing" or "The Severn Bore" - and the tune sets to match them are ones we've agreed beforehand with the caller(s).

At our last gig (Saturday last) we played for the Anthony Nolan Bone Cancer charity and the dancers were predominantly in their 20s and 30s and fit as fleas, A very energetic evening!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Mr Red
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 04:58 AM

there is a slight divide here.
IME Contra and Irish Set are more complex and the leeway with music v dance is much much smaller.

One of the reasons I like ECeilidh is that it is accessible to newbies. And helping them is an art form I enjoy. There are things that don't work like grabbing & pushing but pointing and gesticulating works well.

As I invariably say "there are only two rules, 1)smile 2)keep moving".
That doesn't work with Contra. The dialect is alien, and the fun thereof is "getting it right". As can be inferred from the OP.

And while we are ranting, my two penn'th:
Callers, please consider the precise words. What they mean to you and dancers who know this dance, is not necessarily what is obvious.

Contra example: "left and right through up and down" went wrong, and the comment to me was "he didn't say how many" - me & many others were expecting a very familiar extended left & right down and back up the other side.

what he meant, and he had to patronisingly demonstrate (not actually correcting his words) was: "half left & right through with corner/shadow/other" (because it started up and down the lines)

his attitude was - well lets just say Dunning-Kruger would have recognised it!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 05:07 AM

The identification derived from the cognitive bias evident in the criminal case of McArthur Wheeler, who robbed banks with his face disguised with lemon juice, which he believed would make it invisible to the surveillance cameras. Wheeler's incompetence was based on his misunderstanding of the chemical properties of lemon juice as an invisible ink.

Glorious!


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: leeneia
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 11:13 AM

Thanks for sharing. It's interesting.

Humorous titles are okay, as long as they are spelled in a logical way and don't waste volunteers' time. And there's no good reason to have two unrelated names (one for the dance moves and one for the tune) for a new piece.

Phil, I would very much like to hear or see the tunes named for your cats.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 11:17 AM

A few years ago I heard someone play a fiddle tune I liked which they called "24 Hours Around the World". Have I been able to find it since?...


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST,Phil Cooper on spouse's laptop
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 08:24 AM

Hi Leenia, If you go to February Sky's soundcloud page there are rough mixes of several cat tunes (there are two Feb sky soundcloud pages, one is a full set, the other has several rough mix cuts). On the tune page the titles would be Spencer's March, Arthur's Determination, Misha on the Stairs, and Fo's Aig Caint/Bonnie's Reel. If you go to youtube there are video versions of Spencer's, Arthur's, and Bonnie's reel. Again there, if you type in February Sky, then the tune titles, they should pop right up.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: leeneia
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 01:33 PM

Thanks for the info, Phil. 'Arthur's Determination' is my favorite.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 04:54 PM

To take this thread in a slightly off-topic.
When we dance to 17th century tunes do the musicians play them in a C17 style. Would it be a good / bad thing if they did. I know that how we dance is different.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 05:21 PM

There is a weird subculture of people who like to dance Playford dances to thunderously amplified fiddle-and-accordion music as heavy-handed and style-free as the most commercial end of Scottish ceilidh. You'll know who I mean from Whitby.

Why they don't just do the dances to hip-hop I don't know.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: leeneia
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 11:23 AM

Hip-hop lacks the verve.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 11:31 AM

Verve is exactly what's missing from accordion-driven Playford.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 11 Jun 17 - 05:42 AM

"When we dance to 17th century tunes do the musicians play them in a C17 style. Would it be a good / bad thing if they did. I know that how we dance is different. "

The musicians that do aren't the ones that get booked for "Playford" dances. If you want to book a gig like that you need to talk to people who work in both the folk and early music circuits such as Hazel or Emily Askew.


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Subject: RE: tune names - may I vent?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 11 Jun 17 - 06:09 AM

So how does the style differ?


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