Antrim square set dance

Antrim square set dance

this is a long shot…..anybody know the names of the tunes on Matt Cunningham’s Dance music of Ireland vol 17 used for this 3 figure dance?

Re: Antrim square set dance

Ah, so it’s up to Vol 17 now, is it? And some of us are still trying to sort out the tune names for Vols 11 to 14 …
The entire tune sets from Vols 1-10 have been published by Dave Mallinson Publications, 1999. However, his listing of Vol 3 refers to an old tape version, but the tune listings for this and the revised Vol 3 CD version are now in the Recordings section.
Sterling work by various people has produced almost complete tune listings for Vols 11 and 12, but there are a few "gan ainms" still to be sorted out. I have Vols 13 and 14, but haven’t had the time to make any significant inroads into identifying the tunes, so I won’t be putting up either of those CDs here until I have something like a useful listing. However, it’s more than likely that someone else will get there first!

Re: Antrim square set dance

You would remind me of my neglect, so many things to do, so many responsibilities… 😏

Re: Antrim square set dance

Matt Cunningham Vol 17

1.) Antrim Square Set ~ choreographed by Des Jackson
2.) The Flight of The Earls ~ choreographed by Jim Keenan
3.) The Sliabh Fraoch Set ~ choreographed by ?
4.) The Limerick Tumblers ~ choreographed by Terry Moylan
5.) The Dublin Set ~ choreographed by Sean & Stasia Clerkin

I’ll check and see if we have this one… If so, it shouldn’t be a problem to find the names for the tunes for the three figures of Jackson’s set…

Re: Antrim square set dance

Ceol, that’s very odd - according to your links there are no volumes 15 and 16.

Re: Antrim square set dance

My wife has just reminded me that she learnt the Antrim square set at a workshop in Killarney in February. She enjoyed dancing the set very much but unfortunately doesn’t know what the tunes were.

Re: Antrim square set dance

Yes, 15 and 16 were the couple and ceili dance CDs… They were in great part taken from the first CDs. So the ceili dances on the first CDs are now all gathered on one CD, and similarly with the couple dances, with some additions…

Matt Cunningham CDs #s 15 & 16

CD #15: Ceili Dances

1.) The Sweets of May
2.) The Three Tunes (Figure Dance)
3.) The Trip to the Cottage
4.) The Bridge of Athlone
5.) The High Cauld Cap/Walls of Limerick
6.) Haymakers Jig
7.) The Fairy Reel
8.) The Eight-Hand Jig
9.) The Priest and his Boots/Siege of Ennis/Harvest time Jig
10.) St. Patrick’s Day
11.) The Siege of Carrick
12.) The Humours of Bandon

CD #16: Two Hand Dances

1.) The Military Two Step
2.) The Gay Gordon’s
3.) The Stack of Barley
4.) The Verse of Vienna (Shoe the Donkey)
5.) The Schottische (Heal and Toe)
6.) Barhndance
7.) Two Hand Reel
8.) Two Hand Jig
9.) Two Hand Hornpipe/The Corn Reeks
10.) The Sweetheart Waltz
11.) The Pride of Erin Waltz
12.) The St.Bernard Waltz
13.) The Valita Waltz
14.) The Peeler and the Goat
15.) Mazurkas

Re: Antrim square set dance

Sorry bigboxboy, I haven’t found that CD yet… I think we may be dancing this set to a different set of recordings… I’ll keep looking…

Re: Antrim square set dance

thanks ceolachan et al….let me know of any developments….in the mean time I will start putting dots on staves…

Re: Antrim square set dance

Ceol ,
I have not danced this set .Is it a type of Lancers ? I remember dancing a set with lots of marches from somewhere in the north may years ago and wondered if it is similar.

Re: Antrim Square Set ~ C: Des Jackson, Australia

Baz, it’s a new choreography. It’s a fun danced based on a popular American Square Dance move called "The Grand Square", which was gleaned from the later quadrilles of the 1800s, but that isn’t likely the choreographer’s source. I started up a thread previously around it, because of what felt to me as slightly presumptious, calling it "The Antrim Set", when Antrim already had it’s own sets based in history and practice, including versions of the usual, "The Plains" or "First Set of Quadrilles", and "The Lancers". No, this is neither, it is a modern choreography with borrowing from American Square Dance. But, American Square Dance rose out of the quadrilles and the quadrilles out of the earlier cotillons and country dances, where there are a number of square formation dances to be found.

There are only three figures to it, the classic count for new competition driven choreographies, though I don’t know that this was the motivation for this one. At least there is no pretense being made of ‘antiquity’… It’s a fun and a relatively easy dance to learn. It does have some of the usual inconsistencies of modern choreographies though, but these are minor.

There are no specific tunes for this dance, just forms, all tending to be 32 bar tunes, or AABB in structure. Also, the practice is to play a set of two tunes per figure, with the change roughly in the middle, or AABB/AABB/change/AABB/AABB… Here are those figures by tune form ~

Reels ~ Figure 1: 144 bars counting the 8 bar introduction:

Jigs ~ Figure 2: 136 bars counting the 8 bar introduction:

Slides ~ Figure 3: 152 bars counting the 8 bar introduction:

‘Slides’ were not part of Antrim’s tradition, though single jigs were… Nowadays you find ‘slides’ played most places where Irish sessions are held…

You can find at least three descriptions of the figures for this dance online, here are two ~

Kent State U., Ohio, U.S.A. ~ Dr. Lenette S. Taylor’s / Crooked River Set Dancers’ excellent and generous selection of dance descriptions
The Antrim Square Set ~ & a picture of the choreographer

Another lovely collection this time from Australia ~ courtesy of the Newcastle Irish Set Dancers
The Antrim Square Set

& not forgetting ~
Set Dancing News ~ for anyone not aware of Bill Lynch’s excellent work

Antrim’s Square Sets

"I remember dancing a set with lots of marches from somewhere in the north" ~ Baz

Yes! Marches were used for the quadrilles, for both of the most popular square sets, "The Plain" & "The Lancers" sets of quadrilles. But, waltzes were also used, etc… Single jigs were also very popular… Prior to the introduction of ‘American Square Dance’, the figure "The Grand Square", from my research and collecting, as best I can remember, was never mentioned or danced. However, I do have memory of coming across drawings and descriptions of it, but that may have been in Paris or England, for example the excellent collections in Cambridge and London, rather than amongst the many manuscripts I poured over in Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland. The most prevalent descriptions, whatever title given to the collection of tunes, were for the two sets mentioned. ‘Names’ like "The Dublin Set" or "The Belfast Set", to name just two of many, were in reference to the music used, as was true for the "Jenny Lind Set". The figures remained the usual, though sometimes with subtle differences in descriptions…

Jenny Lind

"Jackson’s Tribute to Antrim"

Previous madness with regards to what I’ve choosed to refer to as "Jackson’s Tribute to Antrim". I just can’t bring myself to call it "THE Antrim Square Set"… But I don’t hide that fact… 😉

Discussion: The Invention of Tradition
# Posted on February 28th 2008 by ceolachan

Re: Antrim square set dance

The explanation for Vols 15 and 16 would seem to be that Matt was responding to requests from dancers for the ceili dances and two hand dances to be together on a couple of CDs, instead of being spread across a dozen.

Re: Antrim square set dance ~ to what purpose??? 😏

It would be nice to know exactly what you are doing? While I’ve said that there are no set tunes for the three figures of this dance, you could chase up tunes in Antrim’s tradition, replacing the slides called for in figure 3 with single jigs. That would be cool…

No luck yet with that particular recording but I’ll keep looking and will ask around in the week… I have had a bad habit of lending things out when my wife isn’t there to curb that tendency…

Good luck with whatever you’re up to.

Vols. 15 and 16 ~

Yes lazyhound, exactly…

"Tops forward, Sides separate" ~ Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford

In the early 20th Century, the revival of ‘old time dancing’, which included the quadrilles, promoted and funded by the wealthy Henry Ford of Ford motor car fame, did include "The Grand Square"…

Book source: "Good Morning:
After a Sleep of Twenty-five Years, Old-fashioned Dancing is Being Revived by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford ~ early 1900s
(this edition 1926)

Page 25:

"GRAND SQUARE"—-(16) In this all couples are moving at the same time. First four forward, sides seperate. Sides turn backs to each other, and walk four steps to the corner; make one-quarter turn and walk four steps to head places; then make one-quarter turn and walk four steps to center, meet partner and take four steps to places. At the same time the first four advance four steps to the center, meet new partner, turn one-quarter, and walk four steps to side, drop hands and walk four steps forward, turn one-quarter and walk four steps to place. The movement is reversed by the call "sides forward, first four separate." Each dance will thus make a complete square, four steps on each side.

(16) refers to the number of measures… 8 one way, then 8 to ‘reverse’…

"Good Morning" ~ Mr. & Mrs. Henry Ford

The 1926 edition also exists in a reprint, which I’ve just found out…

Paperback: 172 pages
Publisher: Kessinger Publishing Co (5 Jun 2003)
ISBN-10: 0766161013
ISBN-13: 978-0766161016

& from Amazon

& Google Books too ~ pages you can view online

Re: Antrim square set dance

Thanks for that Mr C I have remembered the dance I was thinking of it was the Armagh Lancers, a set revived but was still danced in living memory in Orange lodge halls. Connie taught it one time in London in the eighties it had a number of march figures. Quite topical
I agree with the comment about three figures I once caused a near riot when asked to judge a competition ,by suggesting that I the judge, should tell the teams which three figures of the Kerry set they should dance 

Re: Antrim square set dance

Yes, Connie had my original notes on that, in several flavours…

Tis a sensitive subject…

Re: Antrim square set dance

Ulster notes ~ which included the two Tory Island sets, before Connie’s changes, something for which I accept part blame, and the Armagh sets and variations ~ etc… The pain is when someone considered a friend, and party to the carry on that helped bring my wife and I together ~ suddenly pretends you don’t exist, nods, smiles painfully and then quickly exits… There were several of those.

I will always think of Connie fondly, except for those remembered moments of pain, where he did his best to avoid us. I never expected accolades or even credit, though that would have been nice, considerate. What I regret is the distance put between our friendship, between my the two of us and Connie, by Connie, that he obviously felt uncomfortable about it all… I guess he wasn’t to know that I really didn’t care, I’d have much rather just been able to keep those bonds of friendship strong. They meant more to me than the chats and notes I freely shared with Connie… We were of two different minds with regards to the sets. I refused to compete, though he did try to get me involved. I didn’t mind helping with details, but I wasn’t going to be party to something very much against my feelings with regards to these things we all hold a shared passion for ~ this music and dance the their contexts. I want to put my heart and time into certain aspects of tradition, and that doesn’t include competitions, though I am always willing to help someone who asks, whatever their motivations…

Must stop this ramble, I’m again feeling pretty blue on this subject. It’s a bit like losing someone before you can tell them everythings all right, that you love them whatever discomfort may have come between you… The smiles, laughter, ribbing and the craic were the greater part of our times together…

Discussion: Music from Antrim area
# Posted by Antikhntr - December 13th, 2006

Sadly, we never did manage to find Matt’s CD #17 or I’d have gladly sent you the list of tunes he used. As we use other music for Des’s set I don’t expect we’ll replace this missing CD. If we do, I’ll try to remember to add it here under ‘Recordings’ with all the tracks and tunes given… But I’ve already lapsed on several of the Cunningham recordings, mea culpa! 😉