[Callers] Callers Digest, Vol 84, Issue 15

Alan Winston - SSRL Central Computing winston at slac.stanford.edu
Sun Aug 21 12:43:58 PDT 2011

Tom wrote:

> He didn't go into any more specifics and I wasn't wise enough to ask
> any questions.   But if you look at some of the old dances like
> Petronella and Hull's victory, they have identical B parts and unique
> A parts.  The same applies to Chorus Jig and Rory O' More.

Pedantically: At the more-or-less-1800 time when these dances originated, the
match of figure to tune was not fixed the way we've fixed it for these
chestnuts and the way it's generally fixed for English dances now.  New 32-bar
tunes were published in collections; people fit figures to them (Thomas
Wilson's "Complete System of Country Dancing" in various editions through the
1810s has tables of figures, whether they're progressive or not, how many bars
they take, etc) and danced them, and might dance the same figures to a
different tune or different figures to this tune tomorrow night.  (Not so much
unlike modern contra.)  If you look at published suggested figures for dances,
or figures people wrote in their diaries as matches for tunes, etc, you'll see
a bazillion dances that are very much like:

 A1: right hand  star, left hands back
 A2: 1s down the middle and back and cast off
 B1: with the couple below (third couple in your triple-minor set) 
     circle left and right
 B2: with the couple above, four changes of rights and lefts

The 'distinctive' Chorus Jig down the outside and back, down the middle and
back and cast off shows up in "Fisher's Hornpipe", "Trip to Tunbridge", a
setting of "The White Cockade", etc.

All of *that* is a long-winded way of saying that they weren't remotely
concerned with the novelty of the figure or whether they were dancing a "new"
dance.  They got novelty from tunes.

Which is utterly irrelevant to the original question.

-- Alan

 Disclaimer: I speak only for myself, not SLAC or SSRL   Phone:  650/926-3056
 Paper mail to: SSRL -- SLAC BIN 99, 2575 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park CA   94025

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