[I'm sending this query to the trad-dance-callers list, to the
SharedWeight callers' and musicians' forums, and to a number of
individuals. Please send responses directly to me *off-list*
(see Note 1 below). I plan to collect responses for about the
next two months and will summarize results to the lists and to
individual respondents some time in July. Thanks. --Jim]
As some of you may know, I've worked on and off in fits and starts
for some time at gathering lists of recommended tunes [see Note 2
below] for (traditional-style) patter squares. [In case you're
wondering what I mean by "(traditional-style) patter squares", see
Note 6 below.] My idea is to compile lists from a wide variety of
sources and to look for tunes mentioned independently by many
different recommenders. So far, I've compiled tune lists from a
few dozen books and albums, and I'm currently adding lists from
a bunch more books, articles, record catalogs, etc. I'm sending
this message because I'd like to supplement all these sources with
lists from current informants, possibly including you. So ...
* If you are a musician who has substantial experience
playing for (traditional-stye) patter squares and if
you have a list of recommended tunes that you're
willing to share--either an existing set list or a
list you come up with by sitting down and scratching
your head for a while--please send it to me *off-list*
[see Note 1] at
jim dot saxe at-sign gmail dot com
* If you are a musician who mostly plays for other things
than patter squares (e.g., contras or New-England-style
squares or concert performances) or even if you're not
a musician, but if you nonethelessAå have accumulated a
list of tunes you particularly like *for patter squares*,
I'd also be interested in hearing from you.
* I'd also be interested if anyone can supply lists of
tunes played *for patter squares* by players skilled
in the genre who are no longer living (e.g., Ralph
Blizard, Lyman Enloe, Benton Flippen, Bob Holt, Pete
McMahan, Lee Stripling, Joe Thompson, or Melvin Wine,
to name a few). However, see Note 5.
* If you know other people who might be willing and able
to contribute lists of recommended tunes, please feel
free to pass this request along. (But please try not
to put up my email address in places where spammers
are likely to harvest it. Also, see Note 1. Thanks.)
Below are some notes clarifying what kind of responses I am
and am not interested in. ***Please read at least Notes 1-3
Note 1: If you got this query via a mailing list, please send
tune lists directly to me and *not* to the entire mailing list.
As stated above, I'm trying to see which tunes get mentioned
*independently* by many recommenders, so I don't want the lists
anyone sends me to be influenced one way or another by whatever
suggestions other people have already sent. If you pass my
request along to some of your friends, I'd prefer that you each
send tune lists just to me rather than discussing tunes among
yourselves first and then sending me a combined list (unless
you and your friends are in the same regular band and such
discussions are how you normally create your set lists). Please
look carefully at the "To:" (and "Cc:") line of any reply and
make sure that that it doesn't include the address of any mailing
list. That would include addresses of the form
James Saxe via ... <...>
where <...> is a list address.
I plan to gather recommendations for the next couple months and
to post a summary some time in July.
Note 2: Please *don't* explain to me that the suitability of
a tune for a particular kind of dance can depend very strongly
on how it's played. I'm already quite well aware of that.
However, I also think it would be widely agreed that some tunes
lend themselves to being played well for dancing more than
others. (If you strenuously disagree, I will look forward to
your forthcoming album of rip-roaring square dance arrangements
of tunes from the Child ballads and _The Sacred Harp_. Meanwhile,
please don't respond to my query by attempting to un-ask it.)
After I've settled on a list of frequently-recommended tunes,
a possible follow-on project would be to try to identify one
or more renditions--online and/or on commercial recordings--of
each tune played in a danceable style worthy of study by
musicians learning to play for patter squares. For such a
project, style of playing would of course be a prime concern.
But that's not what I'm working on or asking about right now.
Note 3: Please *don't* give me lists (or references to lists,
albums, tune books, syllabi, etc) where tunes well suited for
patter squares are mixed with other sorts of tunes without
specific indication of which tunes are which.
Note 4: I'm not all that interested in recommendations for just
one or a few tunes. If you have substantial experience playing
for patter squares, I'd expect that you can come up with at least
ten tunes that you think are quite suitable, and perhaps you
can come up with many more than that without feeling that you're
starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel. (If you send a long
list, you might want to distinguish which are your favorites and
which are the second-tier or third-tier choices.)
Note 5: If you send me a list of tunes from the repertoire of
some deceased musician, please tell me something about how you
compiled that list. I'm not merely looking for a list of tunes
played or recorded by, say, late great fiddler Bestus Bowslinger,
but for a list of tunes that Bestus actually played *for patter
squares*. And if you happen to have some tapes of Bestus playing
at actual dances, and if they include 30 different patter-square
tunes, and if you send me the names of the 20 tunes you happen
to recognize, then I'd like to be informed that the your sampling
of Bestus's repertoire has been filtered by the limitations of
what tunes you recognize.
Note 6: When I say "(traditional-style) patter squares," I mean
to exclude singing squares and squares that are prompted to the
phrase of the music in the New England style (or in the style of
19th-century quadrilles) and I mean to include the kinds of
squares generally thought of as traditional to the western and/or
southern U.S. I specifically would include visiting couple dances
in this genre, even when the progression is around a big circle
or by a scatter promenade, rather than around a square of four
couples. I'd also include most "transitional" (50's era) western
squares (other than singing calls) as well as more recent
compositions in similar style. I do *not* mean to say that the
dances in question must be called in a style that includes a bunch
of rhyming doggerel ("do-si high, do-si low, chicken in the bread
pan scratchin' out dough") or other extra verbiage.
Much of the "hoedown"/"patter" music produced in recent decades
for the MWSD market is, IMO, very non-traditional in character
and thus not of interest for purposes of my current inquiry.
(Hint: If a tune isn't found in any tune books, played at any
jam sessions, or recorded on any non-MWSD label, it's not what
I'm happy to get recommendations for recently-composed tunes in
traditional style, as well as for genuinely traditional (old)
tunes. I'm also happy to get recommendations for tunes from
"northern" sources that nonetheless have the right feel to work
well for traditional southern/western dances.
Of course I realize there aren't precisely defined and widely
agreed boundaries between different kinds of square dances or
different styles of calling (prompted vs. patter vs. singing;
phrased vs. unphrased; New-England vs. southern vs. traditional
western vs. ...). Ditto regarding precise definitions of musical
genres. I also realize that a particular choreographic pattern
might be danced to different styles of music and calling, etc.
That said, I still hope that the preceding paragraphs will suffice
to provide an adequate idea of what I'm looking for.
Thanks in advance to any of you who have tune lists to share.
I have many dances in my collection that I would love to attach to a
title. If you can provide one, I would appreciate it.
A1 Bal Ring, Spin Right (2X)
A2 LH Star, Gents Chain
B1 Mad Robin, Face Partner & Swg
B2 CL 3/4, Pass Thru, New Neighbor Swing
*#6 Untitled (Becket)*
A1 CL 3/4, N Swg
B1 N RH Balance, Bx Gnat, Pull By, Ladies Alle L
B2 P B&S
A1 N Gyp, N Swg
A2 Gents Alle L 1-1/2, P Swg
B1 Cir Left 3/4, Bal Ring, Spin R
B2 Bal Ring, Spin R, Bal Ring, Pass Thru
A1 N B&S
A2 Ladies Gypsy 1-1/2, P swing
B1 Lad Chain, LL
B2 N DSD, N Bx Gnat, Pass Thru
A1 N Gypsy, N Swg
A2 Hey/Lad Ricochet
B1 P B&S
B2 LL , CL 3/4, Pass Thru
Can someone point me to the best resource to get the figures for Dutch Crossing (specifically the Yankee Dutch Crossing that is frequently called at dance weekends). With less than 2 weeks to spare, I've been asked if I'd like to do a Dutch Crossing workshop and I think I need the figures down pat if I'm going to do that. Thanks in advance!
These two proved popular at Eastbourne International Folk Festival.
I would be interested in any comments on them, and on whether the Double
Gypsy I have used is common.
Rogue's March has the same first half as Devil's Dream, but without
the awkward hand change at the end of A2. The second half is different and,
I believe, flows more smoothly, and includes a Swing.
Rogues March (by John Sweeney)
A1: #1s Face Down in the Middle; #2s Face Up on the Outside: Dance Forwards,
Turn Alone, Dance Back, Neighbour Handy Hand Allemande 1/2 - #2s now in the
A2: Dance Forwards, Turn Alone, Dance Back, Neighbour Handy Hand Allemande
1/4 - #2s let go and face back in
B1: Double Gypsy: #1s Gypsy wide and separate into Neighbour Gypsy Meltdown
B2: Long Lines Go Forward & Back Men Rolling the Ladies from Right to Left
on the way back
Balance the Ring; Pass Through - #1s Down the Middle check out your
In A1 and A2 every dancer starts off heading the same direction each time.
In B1 the #1s start a Right Shoulder Gypsy with each other but as soon as
they can see their Neighbour they change it into a Gypsy with the Neighbour
then melt down into a Neighbour Swing. #1 Lady needs to go wide around #1
Man and avoid the temptation to weave into a Left Shoulder Gypsy with her
The Pass Through is unusual in that the #1s stay together and go between the
#2s. This sets everyone up beside their New Neighbour and ready to start A1
The Slithy Serpent (by John Sweeney)
Double Contra - Four Facing Four - Mescolanza
A1: Lines of Four Go Forward & Back - Men Roll the Ladies from Right to Left
on the way back
Lines of Four Go Forward & Back - Ladies Roll the Men from Right to
Left on the way back
A2: With your Partner: Slip Sideways (4) - Left Hand Couples through the
Middle; Set to Neighbour
With your Partner: Slip Sideways (4) - Left Hand Couples through the
Middle; In Fours: Balance the Ring
B1: Serpentine Hey: Ladies leading their Neighbour Men: 2 x
[In Fours Circle Left Half Way (4); Middles Open Back Ring Half Way
B2: Partner Gypsy Meltdown - Finish facing a New Line
In the Serpentine Hey the four ladies are basically dancing a ladies hey,
dragging their neighbour along behind them. As they circle left they have to
very quickly change direction to dance around the back of the next couple.
An Open Back Ring is a circle with your backs to the middle of it, open
because you dont take hands with the other couple, you just keep dragging
your neighbour along. It should flow smoothly! If you are not in the Back
Ring then rest! You can see the move at 0.26 in
I practice the direction by getting the four ladies to dance a full hey
dragging their neighbour men behind them. Then make sure they understand
that that is not part of the dance, just where they go.
John Sweeney, Dancer, England john(a)modernjive.com 01233 625 362 & 07802
http://www.modernjive.com for Modern Jive Events & DVDs
http://www.contrafusion.co.uk for Dancing in Kent
This is my favorite square dance focused festival of all time. If you can
find a way to be there, you will not regret it. Today is the last day for
early bird rates on the super affordable tickets. If you can't afford it,
but want to get there, we can make it happen. Please forward to friends of
old time music and dance and try to send a contingent to represent your
"DARE TO BE SQUARE
May 19th - 21st 2017
A weekend for aspiring and advanced callers, dancers and musicians in a
small swiss town in the mountains of West Virginia! Workshops will be held
Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Bill Ohse, Will Mentor, Lou Maiuri, Mary
Alice Milnes, Gerry Milnes, T- Claw, Taylor Runner, Jesse Milnes, Ellen &
Eugene Ratcliffe and many others yet to be determined! There are two
beautiful dance halls and there will be many opportunities to practice
calling! Evening public square dances will be held on both Friday and
Saturday night with late night jam sessions at all hours. The High Ridge
Ramblers with Dave Bing, Andrew Dunlap and Mark Payne will play the Friday
night square dance! Saturday night square dance will be Jesse Milnes and
friends. Workshops will be held in Helvetia Fiddle Tunes, Calling 101 &
102, Helvetia Baking, Big Circle Square Dances, Glenville Style Squares,
Flatfooting 1 & 2, West Virginia Ballad Singing, Play Party Games, Calling
Feedback Sessions much more!
REGISTRATION is open!!
$65 prior to May 1st and $75 at gate.
FREE to folks under 18 years of age!
Please let me know if you can't come due to not being able to afford the
admission price, we can work something out. There are several volunteer
opportunities for partial and full tuition. There are also several
scholarships available to eager beginning callers! Also, We are in need of
a few more musicians to play for workshops. Contact hillreb1(a)gmail.com for
HOUSING - $10-15 suggested donation per person for rustic camping for the
Rooms available for rent at the Bee Keeper Inn and the Kultur Haus Helvetia
reserve yours before it's too late. "