westdance: Shepherds' Holiday

Matthew Larsen matt1.larsen at gmail.com
Fri Sep 25 14:43:24 PDT 2009

>> The ones we did were kind of like Madame Socilia's Alman, where there
>> was something extra and the music seemed fit.
> Well, that music was composed to fit the steps by Joseph Cassazza, so
> yes, it fits. (ba dum, ching!)

Well, my point was that it felt similar - kind of odd, but it worked.

> In Dafydd's class, he doesn't seem to talk about the choreography
> fitting the music. He thinks that only one of the 3 dances in the
> class has a non-divisible-by-4 length: The Whish.

Yeah, I had remembered them all having odd measures, but I guess that
was a mis-recollection.

> In it, Dafydd interprests "set and fall back" to be setting followed
> by a single step. Playford uses "fall back" to mean a double in many
> dances, such as Faine I Would.  Occasionally Playford says "fall back
> a D.", other times he just says "fall back", and in all the dances we
> actually do, we interpret that to be a double. And, of course, the
> particular wording "set and fall back" doesn't appear in any other
> dances. Just to be confusing.
> ...

I haven't looked at The Whish, partly because while it was a little
interesting, I didn't think it was that great a dance. :-)  Mostly
interesting from a reconstruction point of view was my thought, and as
a curiosity, since we don't have a lot of dances from that period that
have odd numbers of measures.

> I wonder how many things people consider typos that Playford has in
> the music? It is certainly the case that later editions don't correct
> anything in dances: they're either the same, or disappear. The only
> exception is a few titles like "Hide Park" changed to "Hyde Park".

Well, if they are typos, that could have contributed to them going
away -- if people reading the book couldn't figure out how to do it
then either, that would tend to make the dance less popular. :-)

Though if Lee's theory is correct, it may be more that the printing
just isn't very clear.  It may be that the transcription in the modern
edition is wrong, while the original can be interpreted correctly.  A
little surprising if so, since you'd expect whoever did the
transcription to notice that there were only seven measures and check


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