[Callers] Re: Callers Digest, Vol 2, Issue 5

Tom Hinds twhinds at earthlink.net
Thu Oct 7 14:03:31 PDT 2004


For someone who is calling a square for the first time, I would suggest that you
first make sure the figure works and that you understand the dance inside and
out.  Draw out the dancers at each stage of the dance.  Pick a break that uses
movements that are different than those used in the figure.  Check to make sure
that the ending and beginning of the break meshes well with the ending and
beginnings of the figure and visa versa.  Example: You may find a break that
ends with promenade once around and a figure that begins with heads promenade
half (or all) of the way around.  Not the end of the world here but do you want
the heads to promenade once and a half?  Other transitions may just not work or
be awkward.

If this is your first time calling a square, call something that is different
for your group BUT is bomb proof.  You want the dancers to win. The dancers want
you to win.   I want you to win and call squares for a living!  Practice calling
the dance all the way through (breaks and figures) without cards to music.
Don't practice the day of the dance only.  Practice maybe a week before, a
couple of days before and the day of and WITHOUT CARDS.

Music-  for the most part music for squares is happy.  This means that you'll
want to use music in a major key.  But break the rules.  I do.   If you want,
you can create different moods with minor tunes.  But make sure it fits into the
program so that minor tunes are over used.     Many of the CDs out there are
terrible to practice calling to.  They're meant for listening  not dancing.  You
can't beat New England Chestnuts (Rod and Randy Miller) for NE style music.
Old time music can be what I call the 'drone' type which some people love and
others hate.  This type of music is hard for some people to hear the  A and the
B music because it lacks much of a melody.   I would suggest A. Robic and the
Exertions as an excellent recording to practice to. The cuts are long and there
is a melody. One cut has a crocked tune.  Quebec Pure Laine (French-Canadian
music) is a recording that has two long cuts (atleast the cassette has two cuts-
one on side A and the other on side B) but no 4 beat intro.

Tom

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> Today's Topics:
>
>    1. Re: Re: Dance organization? (Lisa Greenleaf)
>    2. Re: OK, I'll start off with a question. (Lisa Greenleaf)
>    3. (no subject) (Jenna Watson)
>    4. Crooked Tune (Clark Baker)
>    5. Re: (no subject) (Lisa Greenleaf)
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 06 Oct 2004 12:04:12 -0400
> From: Lisa Greenleaf <greeny at rcn.com>
> Subject: Re: [Callers] Re: Dance organization?
> To: The Witful Turnip <wturnip at sympatico.ca>,
>         <callers at sharedweight.net>
> Message-ID: <BD898FBC.16A4A%greeny at rcn.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
>
> > One other thing I do, which I've found helpful, is to note on the back of
> > the card the date I called the dance.  I found that in the beginning, I was
> > calling the same dances over and over again for a while.
>
> Keeping track of dance frequency is a good idea.  I don't write on the card,
> but I do have a little notebook in which I write down the program, the band
> and the pay.  Lisa
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 06 Oct 2004 12:10:38 -0400
> From: Lisa Greenleaf <greeny at rcn.com>
> Subject: Re: [Callers] OK, I'll start off with a question.
> To: Chris Weiler <chris.weiler at weirdtable.org>,
>         <callers at sharedweight.net>
> Message-ID: <BD89913E.16A4B%greeny at rcn.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
>
> > Is it difficult to find music that
> > is good for practicing? What is the same or different between practicing
> > for squares and practicing for contras (besides the material and talking
> > a whole lot more)? 8^)
>
> Squares tend to be a bit faster than contras, but it really depends on the
> square.  If you have a 32 bar square, then any lively contra music should
> be enough for you to practice to.  It also need to have a very good downbeat
> drive; syncopated tunes aren't great for calling squares.
>
> There's also the question of patter.  If you want to build excitement by
> inserting patter in a square, that takes practice.  Again, it's just a
> matter of picking motivating music and getting into a rhythm.
>
> Lisa
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2004 02:48:47 -0400
> From: Jenna Watson <watsonj75 at earthlink.net>
> Subject: [Callers] (no subject)
> To: callers at sharedweight.net
> Message-ID: <F09E08C3-182C-11D9-AB30-0050E4797B04 at earthlink.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed
>
> I have a question about music that an aspiring caller could practice
> to? What is something that would be a good beginner band to listen to
> while practicing at home?
>
> What signifies a "crooked tune"?
> Jenna
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 4
> Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004 23:39:14 -0400
> From: Clark Baker <cmbaker at tiac.net>
> Subject: [Callers] Crooked Tune
> To: callers at sharedweight.net
> Message-ID: <200410070339.XAA01543 at localhost.localdomain>
>
> > From: Jenna Watson <watsonj75 at earthlink.net>
> > Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2004 02:48:47 -0400
> >
> > What signifies a "crooked tune"?
>
> For contra dance purposes, a tune that isn't in the usual AABB (or A1,
> A2, B1, B2) form, especially one that doesn't repeat in 64 beats.
> Almost all of our dances expect the music to be phrased in 8-beat
> phrases and to repeat every 64 beats.
>
> --
> Clark Baker, Belmont, MA
> cmbaker at tiac.net
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 5
> Date: Thu, 07 Oct 2004 11:19:58 -0400
> From: Lisa Greenleaf <greeny at rcn.com>
> Subject: Re: [Callers] (no subject)
> To: Jenna Watson <watsonj75 at earthlink.net>,     <callers at sharedweight.net>
> Message-ID: <BD8AD6DE.16A9C%greeny at rcn.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
>
> > I have a question about music that an aspiring caller could practice
> > to? What is something that would be a good beginner band to listen to
> > while practicing at home?
>
> Any contra dance band CD that has a good beat and clear melody line: Rodney
> Miller, Nat Hewitt, Larry Unger. Frank Ferrell. Note that these are all
> classic New England musicians.  If you want to practice to old time,
> The Horseflies CD "In the Dance Tent" is a good one.   Lift Ticket and other
> new bands have very nice CDs out, but some of the tunes are very syncopated
> and may not be easy to practice to, although listening to that kind of music
> makes for good ear training.
> >
> > What signifies a "crooked tune"?
>
> Contra tunes are 32 bars/64 beats.  A crooked tune has more or fewer bars,
> usually just within one part of the tune (the A or the B).  You can feel a
> crooked tune because it's like a hiccup.  Ruthie Dornfeld plays a lot of
> crooked tunes; there's one on her "Egyptian Dominoes" album.  Old time bands
> love crooked tunes, so Bruce Molsky and Dirk Powell play them on their
> respective CDs.
>
> Lisa
>
> ------------------------------
>
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> End of Callers Digest, Vol 2, Issue 5
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