• Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact

  • Squares, Contras, Phrasing

    November 12th, 2011
    contra, dance, music
    Last night I played for an old time square dance. We were in a barn [1], and I spent most of the night on octave fiddle. Playing old time tunes, some of them crooked [2], for dancers who were dancing to the beat of the music felt very weird to me. In the contra and square dancing I'm used to, the dancers dance to the phrase. Dancing to the phrase, if you're supposed to chain across you do it when the music tells you to, but if you're dancing to the beat you do it whenever you're ready.

    A lot of what I've been working on lately as a musician is playing to support the dancers. In contra dancing, this means choosing appropriate tunes and then playing them in a way that emphasizes the different parts of the dance. For repeated petronellas you'd want short (four beat) chunks while for a full hey you'd want something with a less chunky feel. You want the dancers to know when to do different things without thinking about it. For a contra dance this isn't so hard, because a given part of the dance will always match up with the same part of the music. For the unphrased squares last night, though, this wasn't true at all. I pretty much just played with the band and ignored the dancers, which really felt wrong to me.


    [1] Uneven floor, too cold, choosing between too much and too little lighting (they chose the latter), but a lot of fun.

    [2] A crooked tune has an unexpected number of beats. Most tunes have sixty four beats, divided into four sections of sixteen beats. A tune with a different number of sections or different length sections isn't usually considered crooked, as long as every section is a multiple of eight.

    Comment via: google plus, facebook

    Recent posts on blogs I like:

    Parenting expectations and experiences

    12 people on what it was like for them The post Parenting expectations and experiences appeared first on Otherwise.

    via Otherwise June 17, 2022

    10x (engineer, context) pairs

    Your actual output depends on a lot more than just how quickly you finish a given programming task. Everything besides the literal coding depends deeply on the way you interact with the organization around you.

    via benkuhn.net June 9, 2022

    Buckingham Palace

    I love England. Especially because of the big castle called Buckingham Palace. I got to see the outside there, but my mom showed me some pictures of the inside. I love it there. But the outside doesn't look very fancy to me. But I never knew why those …

    via Anna Wise's Blog Posts April 25, 2022

    more     (via openring)


  • Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact