[Callers] ideal contra tunes
michael at michaelbarraclough.com
Thu Oct 25 09:54:47 PDT 2012
No-one seems to have mentioned that the tempo should be appropriate for
How about considering some of the following:
Presence or absence of air conditioning
Number of beginners
Where the dance is in the program and what went before and what is
At our local dance (Glen Echo) I have seen new dancers leave in their
droves because the band was playing 120-124bpm for the 1st few dances
(and the caller didn't change this). They were exhausted!
Winter speed here is typically 118-120 but in the summer 116 is much
If it is taking longer than you would expect for the line to reform
(people are drinking, changing T-shirts, resting etc) then consider that
the pace (or the length) of the last dance was too much.
On Thu, 2012-10-25 at 09:00 -0700, Kathryn Bowman wrote:
> Out in the Pacific northwest, we generally tend to play quite a bit lower
> than 120. We get complaints about 118 that we are playing too fast from
> the dancers and callers. Kind of depends on the dance, how many four or
> eight count moves, how far apart the lines are if its a big hall, the
> experience of the dancer, some of the moves like hays and wavey lines. I
> generally like about 114 if its not too hot. Some callers ask us to call
> as slow at 110 which feels pretty draggy to me.
> On Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 10:47 PM, tavi merrill <melodiouswoodchuck at gmail.com
> > wrote:
> > 120 bpm is generally considered normal - but one of my best dance
> > experiences ever, with the band "Old Grey Goose" left me both feeling
> > sublime, and realizing their tempos were on average a little lower than i
> > was used to. Ralph Sweet has a great thought about tempo - the idea that,
> > based on the length of the average human leg, there is a frequency of
> > motion at which the least force is expended to set it swinging (imagining
> > the dancer's leg as a pendulum)...
> > And i suppose that, like everything about dance music and calling, what is
> > ideal really depends upon the dancers present. Suffice it to say i've had
> > great experiences as a dancer around 118, but when i'm really "into" a tune
> > on the fiddle, it's easy to warp up to 126 without realizing it. As a
> > fiddler new to playing for dancers, if your technique on notey reels is up
> > to snuff, it's easy to get carried away and confuse "energy" with speed -
> > sometimes the hardest thing is slowing down. On the dance floor that
> > confusion never happens, fast is just fast... and less enjoyable to dance.
> > Hence my making a somewhat conservative suggestion.
> > tavi
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