[SCA-Dance] Maundering about "Glory of the West"

Alexander Clark alexbclark at pennswoods.net
Mon Aug 23 19:13:24 EDT 2010


Let me first address the question of time and tempo. For tunes where
the time signature does not divide each beat into thirds, Playford
uses either the half note, or the quarter note, or the whole note, for
one beat. Which note depends on how the beats are subdivided, because
he uses eighth notes in all such tunes, and never sixteenth notes. In
The Glory of the West it seems that there are no beats divided smaller
than half, and that the quarter note is a beat.

On 8/23/10, White, John <white at drexel.edu> wrote:
>> From: Behalf Of Tim McDaniel
>> On Mon, 23 Aug 2010, Yves de Fortanier <Yves.de.Fortanier at comcast.net>
>> wrote:
>> > According to Filip's transcription of the First Edition,
>> <http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~flip/contrib/dance/playford.html>
>> > I'm thinking the open and close takes a bar/measure each and the
>> > movement for "open" could be [1] branle out twice, [2] slip out
>> > twice, or [3] "step, cross in front, step, pause"
>> Is [3] sometimes called a "grapevine bransle" step?  I think I've seen
>> that done in a few other dances.
> Seems to be what he's saying, though I would resist this.  However, I did
> say that "how one's feet accomplish this isn't vitally important" and I
> meant it.  Counter-however, given the speed at which GotW is usually played,
> bouncing is not something easily foregone ....

>From what I've seen, when people do a grapevine for a branle double
they usually cross behind.

>> > Setting to another dancer without turning - I count at least seven
>> > dances having that, including Stingo and Newcastle.
>> I don't know those dances; thanks for pointing them out.  You mean
>> that Playford specifies only setting and indeed they are danced with
>> only setting?
> Yes - setting by itself is a valid move.  Doesn't mean it is always a valid
> move, and doesn't mean that every time they say "set" they mean only "set"
> ...
>> > Since there's two bars in which to do two sets, I see two options:
>> > do it once at half speed or do it twice at normal speed. There is a
>> > similar situation with "The Health": the instructions say simply
>> > "set" and the music gives two bars for it.
>> Anyone know "The Health"?
> I've reconstructed it (http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~white/ECD/health.html ).
> The Health would seem to have only one phrase, and it's a four measure
> phrase,
> which means that my reconstruction is wrong in believing that the set is
> setting
> alone (or that St Cecilia recorded a different version ...).

I reconstructed and published it back in 1994, but haven't been
teaching it. I assumed that "set" meant "set and turn S." This is
supported by some of the dances in Sloane 3858: Bobing Joe repeatedly
calls for "set" or "sett" where the music would allow for a set and
turn (even where the Playford dance by that name and, presumably, that
tune calls for "set and turne S."), and Sollibrand (in the first part,
which seems to be about the same as The Saraband in Playford) says,
"Lead up, and sett twice" where Playford says, "Lead up forwards and
back, that againe, set and turne S. that againe _._".

I take this to mean that one kind of ellipsis sometimes used in dance
instructions in Playford's time was "set" as an abbreviation for "set
and turn single". This certainly seems to fit in Glory of the West.

>> I like two sets as an option.  Not aesthetically, but that it's
>> consistent with Playford, fits the ECD pattern, fills the time
>> available.  I think I did that in at least one ECD dance in a mundane
>> [1] practice here in Austin.
> I do not see the aesthetics it stretching a step to fit the music.  The
> omission of the "and turn" is clearly (to me, and perhaps to me alone) a
> better
> method of fitting the step to the music than either repeating the step
> without
> it being written (if neither is written, which unwritten "fix" is the better
> one?)
> or slowing it to fill two measures.
>> Dannet de Lincoln
>> [1] word chosen advisedly

I think that it is necessary to choose what assumption to make in
order to bring out the "set" even with the music, and of the three
options that are most apparent to me, I consider a double set to be
the least likely (because it means that important information about an
unusual step was left out), and the slow set to be unsatisfactory, so
I recommend the set and turn. I'd say that this is a more plausible
assumption than the repeated set and turn in Rufty Tufty.

>> --
>> Tim McDaniel, tmcd at panix.com
>           \\Dafydd Cyhoeddwr

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