Danish Contra reel

Danish Contra has been added to 3 tunebooks.

Download ABC

One setting

X: 1
T: Danish Contra
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
|: G,EBe gfeB | cGEA FDGB, | G,EBg agfb | fdae ^cAFD |
B,Edg e3 a | afgf d3 b | bfda e^cgf | e^cAd AFDB, :|
|: G,DBG F3 A | AFDG ECDB, | A,EcG F3 d | dcEB AGEF | B,Fde f3 a |
af^ce dBcA |[1 ^CEA^c eaeg | fdBc AFDB, :|[2 ^CFA^c eaeb | c'aff cAA^D |]

Seventeen comments

My God…. the Danes must be really…. creative.

Can’t wait for the midi file so I can use it as a ringtone


It would be courteous to at leat leave a comment on your contribtuion, like where it comes from, if it is actually played in your local sessions, why? Anything other than just a dump and run would be welcome. As it stands, ditto everything the doc said, but I’m not waiting for a ringtone, though as such, being so confused, it would draw attention to itself…

* not necessarily favourable attention…

Hey all, so I learned this tune at a contra dance weekend in Denmark, I didn’t know what it was called, but thought it was fun and danceable. I am new to the ABC notation, so I may not have written it all out properly.. is it possible to upload recordings?

ABC Notation ~ πŸ˜‰

Not bad for a first try Lizzy. I’ve sent you some further information on ABC notation, and as I always say, just ask here in ‘Discussion’, most folks are more than willing to help.

But as to this tune, I’m about to unleash on it, and it’s not my grouch in control. It will be about music, this tune, new waves, and not about you. You’ve done well, and you’ve come back and made corrections to your ABCs, and you’ve added some comment. So you’re in my good books, even if this melody isn’t, but more on that later.

Missing the dance ~ a question of agreement and phrasing

X: 1
T: Danish Contra
C: ???
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Emin

|: There’s not one bar/measure of ‘agreement’ in the A-part, though there is some definition of a two bar phrase with G,EBe & G,EBg…
G,EBe gfeB | cGEA FDGB, | G,EBg agfb | fdae ^cAFD |
B,Edg e3 a | afgf d3 b | bfda e^cgf | e^cAd BFDB, :|

|: Again, not one bar of agreement, though a nod of identity of a two bar phrase with the dips G,DBG & A,EcG, and the last two bars ~ ^CEDc & ^CFEc, but again, no agreement anywhere. In other words, not pleasant for dancing or dancers, lacking that clear definition of phrasing in the melody that helps define movement, figures, in a contra or quadrille. And no amount of Boom-Chuck will make it better.
G,DBG F3 A | AFDG ECDB, | A,EcG F3d | dcEB AGEF |
BFde f3 a | af^ce dBcA |[1 ^CEDc eaeg | fdBc AFDB, :|[2 ^CFEc eaeb | Caff cAF^D |]

Further lack of that pleasant clarity of phrasing, the final couple of bars of each part also have no agreement what-so-ever, other than beat.

~ | bfda e^cgf | e^cAd BFDB, :| ~ & ~ |[1 ^CEDc eaeg | fdBc AFDB, :|[2 ^CFEc eaeb | Caff cAF^D |]

All this suggests this might be a ‘modern’ composition, C: ?. Even as an ‘exercise’ or ‘etude’ it’s pretty awful… There’s not much ‘dance cosciousness’ in the structuring of this melody, other than it being a steady beat and 32 bars built on two repeating 8 bar parts…

Even in history one can find disjointed composer lead fancies, and weird choreographies, but in this age of federated square dancing and re-enactment yahoos, from Vikings to Klingons we seem to suffer a plethora, or would that be plague, as the category singer-songwriter suddenly pops to mind.

Resolutions ~ whatever the key

Little nods of resolution, and especially at the end of each 8 bar part, as to E in e minor, help, they help give a melody shape, a shape through phrasing that aids the dancer, and those agreements mentioned above are what makes a tune memorable too, so that musicans and dancers can easily identify with it and find themselves humming it… Those little resolutions don’t need to be on the tonic, E in this case, they can be on the dominant, and help to give definition to phrasing, and to the dance…

C: ?

The suspicion of a modern composition rises also as this wanders all over the place and feels over worked while losing track of itself… I’m surprised it didn’t also drive up into other positions ~ c’ - d’ - e’ - f’ ~

So I tried that program that you sent me, where one can check the ABC to the real notes, and I found quite a few mistakes in the B part.. I have now fixed those, I don’t know if it helps for your ears, but when I heard the midi as I had first written it, I was also quite unconvinced. Another part of the ABC that I need to learn is how to tie over bar lines, through out all of the B part, and some of the A, those doubled notes are held across the bar to make an almost syncopation. Also, when I heard it played they had a lot of accents on the triplet type phrases, cGEA FDGB, for example was played with an accent on 1, 2 and, and 4, which is then applied to most of the tune. I really enjoyed these accents and it did give the tune life, not any boom chucks.. I don’t think those would fit anyway. : ) I agree it is certainly not singable, I think I really liked the more subtle rhythms to it, and you mentioned it as a possible etude, but is certainly good work for a fiddle’s fingers.
The dance weekend was tommerup, if anyone is into contra dancing and anywhere near denmark. Quite a fun weekend, lots of jams and dancing all the time, which for me was 7th heaven. http://www.contradance.dk/tommerup/

πŸ˜€ ~ caught! ~ and well done and contributed…

Brilliant Lizzy, I’m not just smiling I’m having a good and pleasant laugh. Bless you for your kindness and insight.

So, basically, this isn’t a dance tune, as crossing the bars make it even more of a confusion for dancers, and from all you say it is obviously a modern composition. Sometimes the great skill and drive of musicians can temporarily reduce the stink of shight. Sorry about the hard criticism, but I’m no fan of such excesses, however talented they are delivered, and whether or not they find a public release through recording.

On that last count, who were the musicians this tune was given air by?

You can join up notes across bars two ways ~ ( ~ ) ~ & with like notes using a hyphen ~ A2- | A4 :| ~ or within the bar ~ | ABcd- defg | ~

Check those two options on the pages of the links I’d sent. But for others, here they are again:


& http://www.lesession.co.uk/abc/abc_index.htm
( ) / - slurs & ties

Pat Shuldham Shaw & the Danes

The square and contra tanz movement in Denmark had a strong influence from Britain in the last century, in particular the English Country Dance revival and movement, Cecil Sharp, and especially from the likes of Pat Shuldham Shaw. Some of his compositions are on site here, such as "Margaret’s Waltz":

He loved a twisty dance and composed both good and bad, music and dance, though he had a higher success rate than most, and some folks mistake his creations as being older than he… He had a sense of things and his influence is wide ~ Cymru/Wales, England, these isles, Denmark, and across North America… And things bounce back and forth through various permutations and evolutions and confusions…

πŸ˜‰ ~ with appreciation for your efforts, whatever my opinion on it ~ πŸ˜€

If I remember right, there’s no shortage of Danish Contras & quadrilles, including the newly composed… Both traditions which are shared with these islands. In Ireland you’ll find both the ‘Sets’ (Sets of Quadrilles) and the longways or contra dances which survive in the ‘ceili dance’ tradition, official and unofficial. Up till World War II one could still find quite a few ‘country dances’ being enjoyed, squares and contras/longways… "The Cashel Set" is one example of an Irish ‘Set of Quadrilles’, often only carrying a place name as an identifier. One obvious 32-bar example of a contra/longways survivor is "The Seige of Carrick", which exists in several forms other than just the official ceili dance take on it. Both dance formations, quadrille & contra, are found all over Europe and North America, and elsewhere across the planet and its history. Naturally, that also included Ireland, never fully disconnected from the rest of the world.

Do you have the dance description that came with these notes? Why not add that to the comments, if you have it, and maybe some of the story behind the place and event where you learned this tune. Sell it to us, let us share your joy in participation. Don’t forget to credit any composer or choreographer, if you know who is responsible. And thanks for the link to the event, much appreciated.

Does this one get airplay in your locale, with your friends, in the community sessions around you? Which continent are you based in? πŸ˜‰

While I don’t think this is a good fit with the general dance music you’ll find here, we’ve got quite a variety, and some of it makes much less sense than this. Some of those reasons for ill fit why I suspect it is someone’s fancy, a ‘modern’ composition. It also does not fit comfortably into the ‘history’ of European dance music in general.
Mind you, the Danes were composing contra and quadrille tunes and dances in the last century, the 20th, including, as already said, under the influence of an interest in English Country Dance and that ‘revival’, which the Danes embrassed whole heartedly…

Why is ‘agreement’ important? It’s ‘dance music’, it is the phrasing in the music as well as the basic heartbeat of it that speaks to a dancer, that helps the dancers and nudges them through the steps, the basic beat, and moves, the phrasing of music and dance. This little ditty is all over the place, is out of synch in general, lacking any evident connection with history or dance. It isn’t the first, it won’t be the last.

Good on you for giving it effort and time, and being open to my rant and ramble here… May your joy and appreciation of all things rhythmic be lifelong… ~ ‘c’

Well, some evident connection ~ 8 bars Xs 4 = 32 bars… πŸ˜€

Yup!, suspicions confirmed ~

"Square Dance Partners Vissenbjerg"

The preponderance of grays is a tell, but it does look like many of them are having fun, no doubting what Lizzy has said "a fun weekend, lots of jams and dancing all the time" The dress code is relaxed and I didn’t see any petticoats or reinactment costumes, though some interesting outfits with some of the callers. They look like a lovely group. One thing we have little control over, we all get older, and that is usually evidenced with a rise in gray, white and silver, for those of us who avoid dyes…

Except for one exception in the year 2000, Larry Unger and Nat Hewitt from the U.S. of A., the ‘Musik’ was provided by Danish musicians and bands, even if the titles were sometimes in English or Quebecois ~ "Greasy String" / "Whiplash" / "Reel de Quebec" / "The Barking Bulldogs" / "Stringtime" / "English Contra Dance Band"… I especially love the sax, synth and steel drum band for 2007, with music stands and sheet music.

Yeeha! ~ talk about foreign influences, looking over their dance callers list. Bob Dalsemer, what a kick. I see he was also there making contributions with fiddle and bow that year. He’s a fine caller and musician.

Here’s more proof of that influence, approximately half U.S. callers to half Danish ~

2010 ~ U.S. callers:
Kathy Anderson Dayton, Ohio & Seth Tepfer Atlanta, Georgia

2010 Galleri ~ What a kick, the hippie-like outfits of the callers, or are they just returned from the ashram? Oh no ~ "The Gypsy"… πŸ˜›

2009 ~ U.S. callers:
Nils Fredland & Tom Hinds
2008 ~ U.S. callers:
Carol Ormand & David Millstone
2007 ~ U.S. callers:
Cis Hinkle & Bob Dalsemer
2006 ~ a break?!
2005 ~ U.S. callers:
Kathy Anderson & Becky Hill
2004 ~ U.S. callers:
Cis Hinkle & Carol Ormand
2003 ~ U.S. callers:
Kathy Anderson & Caller: Rich Mohr
2002 ~ U.S. callers:
Mary Devlin & Bill Litchman
2001 ~ U.S. callers:
Lisa Greenleaf & Ron Buchanan
2000 ~ U.S. callers & musicians:
Beth Molaro & Linda Leslie
Musik: Larry Unger og Nat Hewitt, U.S.A.

The world is a small place, sometimes…