Scottish waltz tempo question

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george garside
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Re: Scottish waltz tempo question

Post by george garside » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:37 pm

the book 'the second ceilidh collection' 1 of 4 very useful tune books published by Taigh na Teud on the isle of skye the following speeds are indicated
Dancing in Kyle and endearing young charms 144
Rope waltz played for a st Bernard waltz 176.

Depending on the type of waltz I tend to start off with as close an approximation of speed as I can whilst watching the dancers feet and making slight (ish!) adjustments until the dancers look happy and at ease, this being done in the first few bars. From then on its just a question of playing to the dancers feet,

On one occasion I was asked at the end of a ceilidh to play a 'smoochy' last waltz which was something I was not familier with doing. I could very roughly remember part of the tune ' when the girl in my arms is the girl in my heart etc and so set off with an approximation of that , adjusting the tempo to the dancers feet, I then switched onto familier ground continuing with Endearing young charms, wild colonial boy, road and miles to Dundee etc etc .The dancers seemed happy enough with it, some joined in singing an 'all had smiling faces' . I was both relieved at having got away with it and sufficiently chuffed to use it on many subsequent occasions.

george

Matt Butcher
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Re: Scottish waltz tempo question

Post by Matt Butcher » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:14 am

Thanks for the link Garth, interesting to read about him, a "second box" player I notice, in relation to another thread that's going on at the moment.

Thanks George, those tempos are a good clue as to some of the possibilities. I may not be too far off. I like your story too: I'm sure "getting away with it" is a skill in itself that comes with a lot of experience.

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Re: Scottish waltz tempo question

Post by JEBrown » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:43 am

george garside wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:37 pm
the book 'the second ceilidh collection' 1 of 4 very useful tune books published by Taigh na Teud on the isle of skye the following speeds are indicated
Dancing in Kyle and endearing young charms 144
Rope waltz played for a st Bernard waltz 176.
Ha! That series is my 'go-to' for dance tunes! Although I do prefer Deirdre Adamson's arrangements.
george garside wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:37 pm
Depending on the type of waltz I tend to start off with as close an approximation of speed as I can whilst watching the dancers feet and making slight (ish!) adjustments until the dancers look happy and at ease, this being done in the first few bars. From then on its just a question of playing to the dancers feet,
I agree with this: I think it's really important for musicians to be aware of the dancers and how well they can cope with the tempo, and to adjust accordingly. We once had to restart a Canadian Barn Dance after just a few bars when we began a little too enthusiastically and the dancers were tripping over themselves...
george garside wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:37 pm
On one occasion I was asked at the end of a ceilidh to play a 'smoochy' last waltz which was something I was not familier with doing. I could very roughly remember part of the tune ' when the girl in my arms is the girl in my heart etc and so set off with an approximation of that , adjusting the tempo to the dancers feet, I then switched onto familier ground continuing with Endearing young charms, wild colonial boy, road and miles to Dundee etc etc .The dancers seemed happy enough with it, some joined in singing an 'all had smiling faces' . I was both relieved at having got away with it and sufficiently chuffed to use it on many subsequent occasions.
Waltzes are tricky things - some need to be played fast, others slow, depending on the type of dance, the time in the evening, etc. Personally I don't like dancing waltzes myself, but they are often very lovely to play. And when you start to get into the rhythmic differences between a Viennese waltz, a French waltz and a Scottish waltz... well I need to return to my theory books to familiarise myself with all that (although maybe it's just easier to stick to playing Scottish tunes...)

george garside
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Re: Scottish waltz tempo question

Post by george garside » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:31 pm

Matt Butcher wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:14 am
Thanks for the link Garth, interesting to read about him, a "second box" player I notice, in relation to another thread that's going on at the moment.

Thanks George, those tempos are a good clue as to some of the possibilities. I may not be too far off. I like your story too: I'm sure "getting away with it" is a skill in itself that comes with a lot of experience.
'Getting away with it' is relatively easy when playing for dancing as rhythm is king as far as dancers are concerned and the tune/melody less so. Another example of getting away with it was the occasion when I was trying and failing miserably to play for and run a ceilidh for which the caller had not turned up. I can't play and speak let alone 'call' when playing so whole thing was rapidly becoming a farce. A voice from the back of the hall shouted 'can you play something we can jive to'. I thought 'shit' as that was just not my style. I vaguely remembered to tune of lone donegans sweet 16 9 putting on the agony etc) so bashed out a travesty of that and people got up and started jiving to it. I quikly adjusted to their rhythm by watching them but couldn't think of any more jiving tunes so finished up going into ken john peel aand swanee river to the rhythm of their moving arses! I did that for the rest of the evening adjusting my ceilidh tune repertoire to a jiving rhythm - a 4/4 is a 4/4 is a 4/4!
george

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Re: Scottish waltz tempo question

Post by rancoman » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:45 pm

Matt - the tempo you played the clip at was fine for a Scottish Waltz. If you don't have a posh metronome, 16 bars of a Scottish waltz should last about 20 seconds.

Hope that helps :ch

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Re: Scottish waltz tempo question

Post by Matt Butcher » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:42 pm

Rancoman - thanks very much, most helpful. There's plenty of other things to work on not least the bellows, although practising in the car isn't the best for that, it's not that small a box and I'm not that tiny either.

George: :lol:

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Re: Scottish waltz tempo question

Post by rancoman » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:51 am

That's a new one on me - and a whole new concept of 'in-car entertainment'.

Just shows how much fun you can have in the back seat of a car, eh? :b

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