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Contra-Dance Music

The contradance traditions of the Northeast retain many of the characteristics of Irish and Scottish dance tunes, and new ones continue to be absorbed into the tradition.

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HISTORY

Contra Dance tunes include folk tunes from up and down the Eastern seaboard of the US (Canada to Appalachia) and Great Britain (especially Scottish and Irish), and composed tunes.

MELODIC MODES

The music uses major and minor keys and modes that are easy for a fiddler to play.

RHYTHMIC MODES

Jigs, reels, hornpipes, marches and waltzes are common. The normal structure is square, i.e. constructed of two 8-measure phrases repeated twice (AABB), with each song repeated a dozen or more times before the caller cues for a new song.

DANCE PERFORMANCE MUSIC

TIME LINE

REFERENCES

Jim Wood, Fiddle and Dance, Fiddler Magazine 2016.



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