What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Ah. Now where’s Ceolachan? He’s the one we need for this one…monkeyos, you might want to look Ceol up by his member name and write him and ask for some pointers, if he has time to give it. Hopefully we’ll have a few of the others chime in — I’m assuming, though, that you want to learn these as Irish players play them, right?

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Oh — and DO do a search in the discussions sections. We’ve had a lot of past discussions on these dances that will be helpful to you. Sort of. Kind of. πŸ™‚

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Go for it monkeyos! and hornpipes and varsoviennas and polkas You could even learn a rant (ie The Morpeth)
boring bloody reels!@#$%^&*()_+

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Yeah go for it. Ceolachan is defo the best person to ask about this. If you write to him you must accept that you’re going to receive in your inbox the longest, most detailed e-mails you’ve ever seen, and that your correspondence will be a lifelong, continuing relationship πŸ™‚
Especially if you mention the word "schottische"!

Re: What is a barndance, German, schottische, highland, fling, highland fling, mazurka, strathspey, quickstep, two step, one step, side step ~ etc ?


Well, I’m chuffed, even blushing and cracking more laugh lines in the chuckling. If you click on the ‘name’ that follows this it will take you to my ‘reduced’ page, calorie couting. You’ll find links there to some of the discussions and to some tunes with relevant discussion and even some dance descriptions. What drives ‘dance’ music is the dance, the two mirror each other and speak to one another. That ‘lift’ is the spark that makes the tune dance, a dance between you and your instrument that elecrifies the dance floor and helps the dancers, motivates them, guides them through the moves. Yeah, I know, some of them are a bit slow to response, and some response, even on the music, do tend to go awry, but that’s all part of the craic…

Damn, I’ve broken silence. Oh hell, I’m in ‘discussions’. What have you done to me ‘Dow’ ~ I’m all wet ~ I’M MELTING, you vicious little pranksters and your dog ~ AAAAAAAAAA!!!

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Ha, we caught you lurking in the undergrowth, Ceolachan. Good on you!

Posted .

Let us not forget ‘marches’ ~ also used for dance in Eire ~

If you do a ‘search’ under tunes just using say a general term, like ‘march’, or ‘highland’, don’t select the form or key or anything else, it will give you a list of that form. The ‘Highland Flings’ are under a few categories, including ‘reels’, and the marches come in different key signatures so are also all over the place. Good luck, there’s some lovely tunes an Eire/Ireland has a very rich selection of different froms, from listening pieces to dance tunes. Once you’ve got the variety, the other thing to conquer is speed, enjoying all the different tempos, without letting others push you into excess every time, and repetition, I was playing with some ‘jerks’ recently who wouldn’t play anything more than twice, and played a hell of a lot of things, without any heart, in chains, one tune after the other, no repeats.

I decided to do the unforgiveable ~ I played bodrhan beats on my pint glass with my whistle, hoping the glass would shatter so there could be a bit of drama in the steam rolled wall of sound going on about me. The real laugh was that I also decided to play the same "rat-a-tat-tat" for everything, though it was in the main, as usual, reels. They were oblivious to the ‘slight’…

So, as ‘Dow’ threatened, more than just a few lines. I’m still melting, but slowly. It’s cold today…

Let us not forget ‘marches’ ~ also used for dance in Eire ~

Hey, ‘wounded hussar’ ~ I’ve got some strong stuff to heal your wounds with, if you like single malt that is… Keep well…

Three ~ that’s about it for now… πŸ˜‰

Damn my fingers and eyes. In case it isn’t known, I am a ‘mild’ dyslexic, though it was far from mild when I tried to learn shorthand. I keep seeing the slips and transpositions of letters and missing letters, and I hate it… Most of my screw ups are oddly with single syllable words, and especially mixing up things like ‘of’, ‘if’, ‘as’, ‘is’… But, surprisingly, I’m a damn good proof reader.

Back on topic, how ever extreme you might be, even one-footed, and there was once a one-footed dance master, take to the floor, feel the music out there, moving with others, answering the tunes. It will always help your playing of the dance tunes, aid your understanding, making it physical. You definitely don’t have to be great, what craic would there be in that. The best dancers, as far as spirit and humour, are those who are learning, have no preconceptions or concretized attitudes. Mind you, there are some great folks who manage to be good dancers through and through, I count ‘consideration of others’ as a necessary to that qualification of ‘good’ ~ folks who are able to maintain a freshness and openness to their dancing, as there are similar folks with regards to the music… Keep in fresh, the best of tradition has ‘humour’ and ‘heart’….

& variety…

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

‘Monkeyos’, just to repeat the obvious, but knowing you already know that avenue ~ listen…

First, and Texas has its share, find a musician(s) you like, as a musician and as a ‘character’, ask them for help, be brave. You may have already done that, but live sources, near sources, are valuable resources, like your local and distant sessions therabouts.

Secondly ~ If you follow those links to tunes, you’ll find a list of recordings. I’d go for the ‘basics’ first, bare bones, master the melody and the rhythms of the tune form and tune before doing your own doctoring and variations. By this I’m meaning the old standards, in players. Learn, for example highland flings, from players up North in Ulster. You’ll often find that the contemporary players will often give such players as their source, sometimes in person, sometimes via recordings. The problem with the recordings is that they are divorced of context. They lack the laugh and the dance and the general carry on that those recorded musicians often have going on about them, which the music is accompaniment for, seasoning.

Once you have educated your ears, your physical body, your soul, well, when you’ve been bitten and you’ve a good understanding of the form, then TheSesh and collections, in print and online, can add to your repertoire, those skeletons, but they don’t have the muscle, connective tissue or the blood flowing through them. So, as I always do, make the best effort you can to find living sources/characters, and listen with your ears and your heart and your feet, your whole body.

I did some work with deaf folk, dance in fact. They could feel the pulse and the lift and the drive of the tune, form and specific melody. They could follow that and dance to it. It spoke to them, helped them through the steps and moves. They felt it all over. Some Irish musicians I’ve known and played with and danced to, couldn’t do that much. Most everything they played was flat out ~ flattened by speed and ornamentation. They didn’t understand as well as those deaf folk I had the pleasure of sharing time with. One example, ha, they thought they could play polkas and that polkas were simple, so they didn’t like them. The truth was, they couldn’t play polkas worth shight. Worse, when you slow such people down, which can be damned hard to do, usually, all their failings become clear, such as lack of control of the rhythm and bite of the music. Even their ornaments tend to be muddy. Speed doesn’t cure the faults, it just covers them up…a sort of running away from the problem without realizing it follows you and is ever present… Learning other tune forms, like marches, can give you a better understanding of that heartbeat of the music, which should be sacraficed for acrobatics and speed, "See what I can do" ~ the show…

Sorry guys, I have done as ‘Dow’ warned. That’s what happens from being absent, but really, it’s what comes out of the recent frustration of a session I shouldn’t have subjected myself to, the speed demon shights…

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Anyone fancy a rheinlander?

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Yes indeed, great kick to dance to too… But if we’re going there let’s pols away… Show~waddy-Daddy / Show~waddy-Daddy…

Or ~ Showad-dyda-Dito…

"Showaddydadito" ~ a little cut-and-paste:

The following is robbed from Showaddy’s details:

"I was the little boy who pointed out that the emperor was naked.

I came across something like this, and I like it:

""The best praise is when someone says ‘what a lovely tune’ not when someone says what a good player you are"".

I like truth and fidelity in people. Probably the thing I dislike most is blinkered intolerance, and unreasoned hate. Hypocrisy features high on my list of dislikes too."

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Monkeyos I did warn you. You give him an inch he’ll take a mile πŸ˜€

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Nah! ~ only a measly ol’ kilometer. Oh yeah, I screwed up again just above in the last long exhalation ~ it should have ready:

~ which shouldn’t be sacraficed for acrobatics and speed, "See what I can do!" ~ shouldn’t be sacraficed for the show…

That’s where ‘show’s’ robbed quote fits in… I love it when it makes you want to dance, when you’re inspired to want to learn the tune rather than the ‘flutters and twiddles and excesses’ that can bury a good tune and a good time…

Actually, I was waiting for Dow to raise another comment out of the woodwork. I’ve been drumming this worm ridden wood with words now for awhile and finally he’s made a show and a happy face too… How do you get the damned thing to show teeth Dow? And shouldn’t they be yellow too?


Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Ceolachan - your notes on speed could do with being nailed to the wall of many session venues, im(ns)ho. There are a few who can play fast and good, and then there’s the rest of us πŸ™‚

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Single malt sounds good - in fact I’ve been thinking lately about investigating that other good traditional pastime (and not limited to Ireland), the making of a wee bit of Mountain Dew or Quare Stuff or Poteen or whatever have you. Anyone any experience? This may not appear on first inspection to be related to music but then on t’other hand, perhaps it most definitely is..! a more socially acceptable form of poison than say hash, here. Mind you, as you may note I’ve been playing a good deal more flute recently and while the dizziness is abating, I often can’t help but think after a few tunes that fluters have a little secret here .. how to get mildly spaced out without imbibing nought save but air.

Posted .

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

I’m still trying to work out whether I come out of this well or badly.

Even if I do have paranoia they could still be out to get me.

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Tricks of the wood ~ If you leave your flute in eau, the pure stuff, or good strong poteen, well, aside from it smelling nice, when you play it with the bottom end over a glass, the results of condensation, the sweat, will be ‘wood aged’ but potent enough to qualm the shakes…if you like drinking your own spit. In Cape Breton they call it ‘Swish’, another tale, but acquire it from the barrels that the ‘eau’ is shipped in, from the ‘West Indies’…

I suppose I’m one of the few, just guessing, that has had the poison internationally ~ various forms of poteen. The best tends to be grain based. There are test strips and things you can get to test for the bad alcohol, methanol, the stuff that actually causes the headaches, real poison, what can make you go blind. The quality of the mash and the care of the brewer determines the toxicity or not of the end product. There are some damned good brewers in Eire, as well as elsewhere. In the SE USA they will often throw in a bit of protein which helps the brewing process and just seems to disappear if things go right, except for a few bones in the bottom when your done. A squirrel or rabbit will do the trick… As with most such tonics, it does improve with aging, but some people have no damned patience at all. In some countries you can actually get a license to brew, but in some cases that is for ‘scientific’ purposes only. I’ve also sampled the ‘source’ the ‘eau’, the very single and knock you on your ass crystal of the stuff ~ in France and here, and whew! I loved it, but in small doses. To avoid the meth build up some brewers just through out the first run, as meths evaporate first, so the poison tends to be the first thing out of the worm…

Good luck, but don’t lose your sight for it…

Show ~ you came out well, just sit down and drink some of this and it will all come clear…or cloudy…

John ~ there are other places I’d like to plant the nail…

Please, don’t do the flute thing I mentioned earlier. I actually knew someone who regularly doused their flutes with alcohol, to loosen them the used to say. Damned right, did you see the ‘plural’ ~ flutes. I remember visiting them at home once and there was a sink full of pieces of flute. So while the fumes might sustain you and the condensation top it up, please, do not give your flute a drink. Just allow the moisture and swelling to happen naturally and with playing. I could have cried viewing all those bits in the sink…

But, on topic, this particular person was a great source for the less usual tunes, lots and lots of highland flings and the like…

~ and good poteen…

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

*smirk* Hey, when you come back to the discussions, you do it with a vengeance, don’t you, my darling? ;) Welcome back, and it’s nice to see you back this side…

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Well, Ms. Lee, you always raise a smile and increase my wrinkles, uh, I mean laugh lines… πŸ˜‰

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

And btw, i don’t much like polkas. Well, that’s not a very precise statement, it’s prolly more precise to say that I don’t like polkas after about ten minutes of them, as there’s something about the rhythm that makes me want to flee from the room with my hands over my ears. I know. I know. It’s sad to know one has flaws. πŸ™‚

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

I like polkas. Or, more like, some of my favorite tunes to play are polkas. I *don’t* like how so many of them sound almost the same. Isn’t there room for a bit more creativity in the form?

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Zina, I’m shocked… I would have never thought that of you. πŸ˜‰

It is another one of those things, you need to dance them to a good set of music, get the feel for them in your joints, and it helps if your first real exposure is in a good place ~ all things right you’ll surely become bit by the bug for them. It’s like certain tune forms, sometimes it takes awhile to understand and appreciate them, but isn’t that true for most things. Sometimes you just have to move past your biases and preconceptions and swim in the deep water of a thing, get soaked to the bone to appreciate them. You still might not like them, but your understanding might improve. It is better to ‘appreciate’ and ‘understand’ than to just plain dislike or hate a thing. I get caught there sometimes, but I always find its my problem, not the thing I’m feeling strongly anit about.

I was spoiled rotten on polkas and slides, and it didn’t just stop there. I can count several fine players as friends, friends I miss. Among these is Johnny O’Leary, who I’d known from the times when there were only one or two sets worth in Dan O’Connell’s pub, to when things got carried away and the place was packed to discomfort with folks from all over the place ~ including the nut cases who took up much more floor space than there was, leaving the rest of us to compensate or suffer bruises ~ and with rats running along the upper boards. The latter ate my favourite coat during one night of dancing and music making. I never put anything up there again.

Like with anything, each form has it’s ‘ways’ of variation and ornamentation. Like the old maxim, it is in limitations that we find true freedom, rather than anarchy. The kick is finding the ways you can have with a form without sacraficing or annihilating the thing were dealing with ~ variation with respect and understanding of the thing we’re doing it to, melody and form, in this case ‘polkas’. Now, the other side of this, is that there are more than one type of ‘polka’…dance-wise and music-wise…

I’ve no doubt, with a heart like yours Zina, that if you moved past the bias, got the right injections of understanding, you’d be able to light up a floor of dancers with your polka-ing, music or dance… But I have unlimited faith in you…

Sorry gang, I’m on my second Irish coffee…

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

Well, darling, I think part of the problem is that I just don’t like the rhythm, no matter how good it is. But then, I can dance to anything for unlimited amounts of time, even polkas. I discovered that with learning to dance C&W. πŸ™‚

You too? I was waylaid by desperate friends into doing line dancing, they wanted a ‘man’ ~ but they never got me into the gear… Yeeha!!! At one time, and this was out here in the sticks of Cymru/Wales, I counted 13 linedance classes taking place within 15 miles of Aberaeron… What a bunch of wannabe cowboys, with Welsh accents and mostly Welsh speaking. Somehow those cowboy outfits, even a specialist shop in Aberaeron, boots and all, didn’t really change the basic person. Even weirder ~ it’s sheep country in the main…

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

A barn dance is kind of like a hornpipe only quicker, a mazurka is like a jig slowed down with the beat in odd spots, and a strathspey is like a reel but with a bit slower with Scottish snaps scattered through it….
and a lot of tunes can sound like other types of tunes, depending on how fast you play them, and where the accents go………..
or something like that……..

Re: What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?

"~ a mazurka is like a jig slowed down with the beat in odd spots ~ ? I hope you have a perscription for that…

The nearest jig even possible for comparison would be the slip jig, both having three beats to the measure, and in a sense, since the mazurka is usually ‘swung’ like a hornpipe of barndance, each beat can be divided again into three:

mazurka ~ 3/4 | N>N N>N N>N |
slip jig ~ 9/8 | N2 N N2 N N2 N | NNN NNN NNN |

Now, please, stop abusing your medication…

N = a generic ‘Note’ of any pitch…