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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Howard Jones country dance question (48) RE: country dance question 24 Apr 19

From a musical point of view, any tune which fits the dance will work. What is more important is the expectations of the caller and the dancers.

I am in a band which plays for both 'ceilidh' and 'social' dance, which includes Playford and what I believe Americans refer to as' English Country Dance'. The expectations are very different. Playing for ceilidh, the choice of tune is usually entirely a matter for the band, the caller will simply specify what type of tune they want - we may have some discussion about the style of dance to help us choose which tune from our repertoire we play, but otherwise it is our choice.

'Social' dances including Playford are often more complex, and as Mo has explained the dancers will often take their cue from the tune, so playing an unfamiliar tune may be confusing. Unfortunately some of the tunes can be less than inspiring, especially those for new dances. Composers of great new dances are not always so talented when it comes to composing the tunes to go with them! However some old tunes can also get pretty boring, especially after numerous repeats.

As a musician, your role is to facilitate the dancing. If the caller and dancers are fine with a different tune then there isn't a problem. If they want, or need, the original boring tune then sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and go along with it.

If it all gets too boring then maybe you should look to play for something different. Music is meant to be fun!

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