I stand corrected - I obviously misread my own Web site, where I
correctly listed the tune as 24 bars long, but during this discussion, I
jumped to the conclusion that the listed 24-bar length meant that the
tune added up to a normal length in the end (since 24 is a "normal" length).
In fact, just as Michael describes, I hear on the Altan recording that
the meter switch in the third part only lasts for one bar, so while
there are indeed a nice normal eight bars in the part (thus a total of
24 in the tune), there's still one beat missing when you reach the end
of the part.
That's what I get for talking about a tune I don't play myself! It's
certainly always been a Madison session tune, but I've consciously
avoided learning it simply because I find the meter switch annoying.
So ... the stat as I stated before remains correct:
"Only 16 of the 3,304 metered, Irish tunes in the Tunography have a
total length which breaks the 'rule' of being built of 8-bar parts."
And here's my improved (and now simpler!) explanation of what's not
included in those 16:
'This does not include tunes which have the "normal" number of bars
(multiples of 8) but which switch meters somewhere, which may or may not
mean that the total number of dance beats is "normal."'
Thanks for the supporting story about the Altan incident, Philippe :)
Michael Reid sent on 1/29/07 7:05 PM:
> On 1/29/07, Alan Ng <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Guns of the Magnificent Seven, an example Jerome mentioned, adds up to a
>> plain old 24 bars in the end (counting normal-length reel bars, that
>> is), despite the change in meter in some of the third part of the tune.
>> Another way to say this is: you could play the Guns (or other of the
>> odd-meter tunes which I've excluded from the 16 tally) for any ceili or
>> step or set dancers and -- if they are as insensitive to the music as
>> some dancers unfortunately are -- they'll still end their dance steps on
>> exactly the same beat as your tune ends.
> I don't follow you on that, Alan. "Guns" has one 3/4 measure in the C
> part, and the missing fragment is not made up elsewhere in the tune.
> See Henrik Norbeck's abc notation of this tune, which incorporates two
> versions, each of which has a single 3/4 measure. This could come out
> even for dancers only if they intuitively (and improbably) divided
> that short measure into two beats.
> Somewhere I heard a story -- I can't vouch for it's accuracy -- that
> Altan once played for a contra dance at the famous Glen Echo Spanish
> Ballroom outside Washington, D.C. The story goes that one dance fell
> apart when the band switched to "Guns."
> Michael Reid
> Boulder, Colorado
Alan Ng, PhD . [log in to unmask] . http://www.alan-ng.net/
Madison, Wisconsin, USA