The Old Crossroads barndance

Also known as The Auld Cross, Doon The Brae, Down The Brae, Down The Braes, Down The Brea, Down The Glen, The Old Cross March, The Old Crossroads March, The Old Crossroads, Rocks Of Brae, The Rocks Of Brae, Síos An Gleann.

There are 18 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Old Crossroads has been added to 87 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Five settings

X: 1
T: The Old Crossroads
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|: B, |E>^D EF G>F GA | B2 e2 dB- BA | G>F GB AF DE | F2 E2 DB,- B,G |
E>^D EF G>F GA | B2 e2 dB- BA | G>F GB AF DE | FG/F/ ED E3 :|
|: A |Be-ee e2 de | f2 e2 dB- B2 | A3 B d3 e | dB G/A/B/c/ d2 B^A |
Be-ee e2 de | fg/f/ ef/e/ dB- BA | G>F GB AF DE | F2 E>E E3 :|
X: 2
T: The Old Crossroads
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|: e |A>^G AB c>B cd | e2 a2 ge- ed | c>B ce dB GA | Bc/B/ AB/A/ GE- EG |
A>^G AB c>B cd | e2 a2 ge- ed | c>B ce d>B GA | B2 A>^G A2 :|
|: (3Bcd |ea z^g a2 =ga | bc/b/ ab/a/ ge- e2 | d3 e g3 a | ge c/d/e/f/ ga/g/ ed |
ea- ab a2 g>a | b2 a2 ge- ed | c>B ce dB GA | B2 A^G A2 :|
X: 3
T: The Old Crossroads
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
AG|E2A2 ABcd|e2a2 ge zd|c>Bce dBGA|B2A2 GEED|\
E2A2 ABcd|e2a2 ge zd|c>Bce dBGA|BAAG A2:|
|:ag|e2a2 ~a2ga|b2a2 ge zg|d>^cde g>fga|gede g2ag|\
e2a2 ~a2ga|b2a2 ge zd|c>Bce dBGA|BAAG A2:|
X: 4
T: The Old Crossroads
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|: A>G |E2 A2 A2 B/c/d | e2 a2 ge- ed | c>B ce dBGA | B2 A2 GE- ED |
EA- A^G AB cd | e2- ea ge ed | c2 ce d>B GA | B2 A2 A2 :|
|: ag |e2 a2 a2 ^ga | b2 a2 ge- eg | d>^c de g>f ga | ge c/d/e/f/ g2 b/a/g |
e2- ea a2 ga | bc'/b/ ab/a/ ge ed | c2 ce d>B GA | B2 A2 A2 :|
X: 5
T: The Old Crossroads
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|: B, | E>D EF G>F GA | B2 e2 dB-BA | G>F GB AF DE | F2 E2 DB,-B, B, |
E>D EF G>F GA | B2 e2 dB- BA | G>F GB AF DE | FG/F/ ED E3 :|
|: A | B2 e2 e2 de | f2 e2 dB z2 | A3 B d3 e | dB AB d2 BA |
B2 e2 e2 de | f2 e2 dB-BA | G>F GB AF DE | FG/F/ ED E3 :|

Twenty-two comments

Another March, however - - -

The couple dances danced to marches are very similar in style to those danced to barndances and the phrasing of some marches, like this one, ‘The Pikeman’s’ and ‘The Centenary’ slot into a 4/4 time signature better than 2/4… Slotting it away in reels or hornpipes just didn’t seem the right place for this, so it has been placed under that smaller collection ‘barndances’, also out of respect for that similarity of use and accompanying dances.

I’d promised to notate one of those dances and will do that here sometime this week, all things allowing. Hopefully you’ll then understand better the reasoning above…

The Heel & Toe (Polka) / The Military Two-Step

8 bars in 4/4, 16 in 2/4
There are variants…The directions below are for the tune as notated here, 4/4.

Music: polkas or marches

Speed: anywhere from approximately 100 to 120 beats per minute.

Hold: waltz/ballroom hold - or ‘barrel-hold’, the ‘advance’ can be danced ‘open’, but even the whole of Bars 1-4 can be danced ‘open’…

BAR 1:
- couples, man on her left, she on his right, and facing the line of direction (LOD=ACW, Anti-Clockwise) around the dance area, weight on inside feet, man’s Right/woman’s Left.
COUNTS:
# 1 - place the heel forward - outside foot, Man’s Left/Woman’s Right.
# 2 - cross over and place ball (toe) of that foot inside of the foot taking weight - still the outside foot doing the moving.
# 3 - step forward in the LOD - (Man’s Left still/Woman’s Right)
# 4 - step forward again (Man’s R/Woman’s L)

NOTE: counts 3 & 4 are ‘brush-steps’, catching your heel on the floor as your foot moves forward to make the step, ‘heel-step’, ‘heel-step’…

BAR 2:
COUNTS:
# 1 - 4 - 2 X 3s (heel-123) and the couple turning halfway round Clockwise (CW) to face back the way you’d come. (M-LheelLRL, RheelRLR/W-RheelRLR, LheelLRL)

BARS 3 & 4:
- REPEAT ALL THAT back to place, ending up facing LOD

NOTE: Bar 2 can also be done as a complete turn, once around, and dancing bars 3 & 4 exactly as before, continuing in the LOD/ACW.

BARS 5 - 8:
- couples turning CW travel in the LOD/ACW with 8 X 3s (heel-123)

NOTE: as with other such dances, the last bar in this case, the dancers can choose to do a ‘double’/pivot step (M-L,R,L,R/W-R,L,R,L), ideally turning as a couple twice round CW while continuing to move around the dance area in the LOD/ACW. But hey, if you only get once around, good on yuh, you’ve points for trying.

Forgot to mention something or sources, a number of folks, in the main this one was danced and collected in Fermanagh and Donegal.

- with ‘accounts’ in Armagh too…

& my screw-up with the ABCs, now corrected, as one example, from (B B) to B-B…

Note on dance - - - ‘Heel & Toe’

As in most cases, certain things are by choice. You can choose to do the whole dance without the ‘heel catch’/brush step, or ‘smooth’, in other words you can just walk those steps…

Looking at my notes again, there wasn’t a county I had the pleasure of visiting where this dance wasn’t in the collective memory. In many cases a particular tune or set of tunes were closely associated with it, such as the polka ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me’…

Barn dance???

I don’t think the tune "Down the Braes" is a barn dance, as it has been listed on this website. The rhythm and the feel of this tune doesn’t fit with any other true barn dances.
Not everything that is not a reel, a hornpipe or a jig is a barn dance, and not every tune has to be "something".

Re: Barn dance???

Read the comments attached with the tune. It explains the answer to your question.

Barn Dance???

I still don’t see why to call it a Barn dance when it ISN’T, this just leads to confusion.
A March, in any case.

Because march isn’t an option when submitting tunes. There is not necessarily a set time signature for all marches, so Jeremy didn’t give it as an option. Same way he didn’t include the option for slow airs. If you have a look around, you’ll see that every slow air is listed as something else. Do a search through the discussions and you’ll come up with several discussions concerning this issue.

Marchin’ Thru Georgia ~

The couple dances that accompanied marches were akin, kissin’ cousins, to those also called barndances/Germans/Schottisches, so really, since there isn’t a specific area for ‘marches’, this is a reasonable category for them. As well, the top up that often followed the usual five figures of the ‘sets of quadrilles’ or ‘sets’ or ‘quadrilles’ or ‘square sets’, nowadays often a fling/hornpipe/barndance, in that ephemeral ‘past’, could also be a march. So there are some few associations to warrant marches being placed here when there is no category for ‘march’.

“The Old Crossroads” / “Down the Braes”

K: Amin
|: e |
A>^G AB c>B cd | e2 a2 ge- ed | c>B ce dB GA | Bc/B/ AB/A/ GE- EG |
A>^G AB c>B cd | e2 a2 ge- ed | c>B ce d>B GA | B2 A>^G A2 :|
|: (3Bcd |
ea z^g a2 =ga | bc/b/ ab/a/ ge- e2 | d3 e g3 a | ge c/d/e/^f/ ga/g/ ed |
ea- ab a2 g>a | b2 a2 ge- ed | c>B ce dB GA | B2 A^G A2 :|

Good man, you beat me to it slainte… I had made a note to link to it and then got distracted…

Making a set of it, and I’ve heard this trio together in many places ~

"O’Donnell Abú" / "O’Dhomnaill Abú"
Key signature: D & G Major
Submitted on June 4th 2007 by ceolachan.
https://thesession.org/tunes/7309

"The Old Crossroads" / "Doon the Brae" / "The Rocks of Brae"

"The Meeting Of The Waters"
Key signature: D, A & G Major
Submitted on July 6th 2005 by FiddleMeThis.
https://thesession.org/tunes/4679

Problems with the midi ~

For some reason slurs (-) aren’t being played by the midi as intended ~

dB- BA = d B2 A
DB,- B,G = D B,2 G
Be- ee = B e2 e

This tune is underrated! It pairs nicely with Dunmore Lassies.

Down The Glen

Not a barndance but a march, from Gerry O’Connor/Eithne Ní Uallacháin/Desi Wilkinson, Cosa Gan Bhroga.

The Old Crossroads, X:5

Setting as played at the Golden Guinea pub session, Bristol, UK.

Re: The Old Crossroads

And it’s not "The Old Crossroads"! It is the "Old Cross March"!! The Old Cross Céilí Band popularised the march, "Down the Brae", back in the 1960s.