New Hampshire Old-Time Country Dance Web Site

Passing On Our Living Tradition

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Evolving Chestnuts

I've mentioned that many of the chestnuts have evolved. On this page I want to discuss some of the changes that have happened and that continue to happen.

Much of this was published in the Seacoast country Dance Newsletter; details are included in each section where relevant.


On This Page

In various parts of the Change & Preservation page I referred to changes in specific dances. Here I'm putting them all in one place and getting into a bit more detail on some of the changes.

  1. Money Musk. A discussion of Money Musk and its evolution, and some ideas about its evolution (both mine and others').
  2. Money Musk: Several Transcriptions Over a Century. Here I present several transcriptions of Money Musk and compare 32- and 24-bar versions, looking for similarities and differences and how they affect the dance.
  3. The Evolution of Lamplighter's Hornpipe. Lamplighter's Hornpipe changed from triple minor to duple minor, and gained two new figures. I present transcriptions and discuss the two versions.
  4. Petronella. Petronella has changed a couple times within the past 50 years. Those changes are discussed here.

Money Musk

Money Musk

The material in this section is based on two articles I wrote for the Seacoast Country Dance Newsletter. The first was published in March, 1988 under the name Some Thoughts About the Dances We are Dancing. The second was from August 2006 and was part of a report on Northern Week at Ashokan that summer. The material has been edited and expanded to fit together, update some of the ideas expressed, and to include some new material and ideas that I didn’t know about when I wrote the original articles. I start with material from the 1988 article.

As you read the article you can see more detail about the various versions of the dance I discuss in the sidebar.

The varied ideas about phrasing of Money Musk

A few months ago (from March 1988) when Steve Zakon was calling, he was asked if he would call Money Musk. Many bands, including Swallowtail and the Lamprey River Band don’t play the tune, so the dance isn’t called very frequently around here. Furthermore, very few triple-minor dances (in which every third couple is active) are called these days anyway. Thus, it was the first time Steve had called the dance. He did reasonably well, but he wasn’t sure of the phrasing, which surprised me. 2020 Note: To be fair, Steve hadn’t been calling all that long at the time, and although he had danced it the chestnuts weren’t being done very frequently in the Monadnock region at the time.

Before the next dance he called in the area, I decided to make sure I knew the phrasing so I could pass it on to him. Besides my memory of dancing it to Tod Whittemore on numerous occasions, as well as to other callers, I consulted a tape of Duke Miller calling the dance in Fitzwilliam several years ago (Duke being one of the people who made the dance very popular in the Monadnock region for many years). Sure enough, Steve was asked to call it again in Madbury this month, and I gave him a card with the phrasing I knew. As we were dancing, it felt just right to me, but I noticed strange facial expressions from Roger, who has undoubtedly danced it at least as much as I have. I talked to him afterwards, and it turns out that he used to dance it with a slightly different pattern with a few additional moves in the dance. [2020 Note: A number of years later I saw a similar response from Marianne Taylor. It turns out she also knew different phrasing for the dance.

This got me to think about the evolution of some of the dances we do over the years. Over the past century, the dances (and music) have evolved considerably. For example, if you went to a dance a hundred years ago (from 1988), most (if not all) of the contras would have been triple minor dances. In Prof. L. H. Elmwell’s Prompter’s Pocket Instruction Book published in 1892, it appears that all the dances were triple minor; he doesn’t even mention whether dances are triple or duple. [This book isn't very well known, but there are numerous books very much like it from that time period. I have it because I ended up inheriting a number of dance books from Guy Mann who used to call in Dover in the 1940s and 1950s.]

The transition from 32 to 24 bars of music

Getting back to Money Musk, for many years, it was danced to a 32‑bar version of the tune. That is not surprising, as the majority of dance tunes are of that length. However, at some point it changed to be danced to a 24‑bar version of the same tune. It’s not entirely clear when that happened. In the Northern Junket, Vol. 2 #11 (1951), Ralph said it happened about a hundred years earlier. In his An Elegant Collection of Contras and Squares (1984) he described it as happening in the 1870s. I’ve read that in some places it kept being danced to 32-bar music into the 1900s.

In any case, the same amount of dancing was compressed into 3/4 the amount of time. In part this was done by changing the forward and back figure to a very quick figure. In the Northern Junket in 1951 Ralph Page describes it as “take two short steps forward and two steps back”. Over time in New Hampshire that evolved into a balance forward and back in many places.

Money Musk

One year at the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend we were playing Money Musk at the lunchtime jam session. At some point we looked up and a whole line of people had formed and was dancing without calls. Ever since it's been a request at lunch time and always draws in lots of dancers. Here's one of the early cafeteria Money Musk sets from 2013.

But that only accounts for eight beats (four for each “forward six”); there are 8 left to cut to bring it down to a 48-beat (24-bar) dance. The first four came out of the “go below one couple” which was cut from 8 beats to 4. The remaining beats came out of the final “three quarters around”, which was cut from 8 to 4 beats as well.

Most of the changes in the chestnuts over the years can probably be attributed to two basic factors. (1) There has been a general speeding up of dancing. This corresponds with a general speeding up of so many other aspects of our culture that it’s to be expected. Not only is the overall pace of life greater now, but where people used to come to dances at least in part to socialize and relax after many hours of hard physical labor, these days people come to dances to get exercise after many hours of working in an office. (2) People have come up with ways to make dances more fun that caught on and became the way to do the dances. We’ll see this more with Petronella. But next I present a couple changes/reasons for changes that don’t fit this pattern.

A different idea

Ed Moody wrote an article in the Northern Junket, Vol. 10 #9 (July 1971) about Money Musk, tracing changes in the dance starting with the original The Reel of Sir Archibald Grant of Monie Musk. In asking how it had come to be shortened by 16 beats he suggested the following line of reasoning. Interestingly he described the change as happening about 40 years ago which would make it approximately 1930, considerably later than usually thought to have happened.

He described the kitchen junkets which were where dancing occurred prior to dancing in town halls. The kitchen was usually the biggest room in the house, although often long and narrow, so the best too dance in. Generally all the furniture would be cleared out and a fire made in the wood stove. A milking stool was set in the sink opposite the wood stove for the fiddler/caller to sit on. Because the room was long and narrow, that meant the dancers would have to pass close to the stove. But the stove would get pretty hot, so you wouldn’t want to stay close to it for long.

So rather than the usual graceful turns with outstretched arms, the turns would be done with the forearm vertical to take up less space. As a result it took fewer steps to get around, and people would get ahead of the music. The fiddler/caller therefore started calling the next figure sooner, eventually reaching the point where they would be calling the rights and lefts for the first B part, leaving a whole B part at the end no longer needed. Presumably rather than playing the tune AAB, at some point the C part was added in, and the tune went ABC, with the dance shortened to 24 measures.

Although there is a certain plausibility to this, it seems a bit far fetched as well. It appears to be presented seriously, but the apparently serious presentation of something implausible can be part of Yankee humor, so it’s hard to say. But it was amusing enough to be worth presenting here!

Go below one couple and forward six!

What follows is based on an article written in 2006 as part of a report on that year’s Northern Week at Ashokan. I wrote:

“One of the most enjoyable events was the New England Ball on Friday evening beginning at midnight, at which we did many of the old chestnuts - Petronella, Chorus Jig, Money Musk (for the second time of the week), Lady of the Lake, Lady Walpole's Reel, Gay Gordons, Varsouvienne, etc. Some were done with no calling or minimal calling, starting with just the top couple being active as Dudley often does it. Combine that with some of the best music imaginable and it was truly outstanding!”

But I had one complaint about the teaching and dancing of Money Musk, both there and at the previous Ralph Page Weekend. As we do it in New Hampshire, the calls after crossing over are “Go below one couple and forward six” which has always been taken as short for forward six and back. Then you turn three quarters and forward six again. That started as two steps forward and two steps back, but in New Hampshire it turned into a balance forward and back.

But at Ashokan (and at the previous Ralph Page Weekend) it had been taught as go below one couple and balance to the right and to the left. The calls going back at least to the 1890 (see transcriptions in the sidebar) have been forward six. At sometime in New Hampshire we started dancing it as a balance forward and back, presumably because it was more fun. Dudley has attributed it to the music being played slower than in Boston I believe, leaving more time for footwork which at times has been fancier than most current balances. In Francestown in the 1980's everyone balanced forward and back together making seven discrete sounds. But it's always been forward and back. Those of us who knew the dance cringed when it was taught as side-to-side.

Now I am and was perfectly aware of the folk process and how things including dances often change over time. But this didn’t accomplish any of the usual purposes. It didn’t’s speed up the dance, and it didn’t make it more fun. I speculated: This is different; it appears to be either based on ignorance of the dance or (hopefully not) a simplification assuming dancers can't handle a balance forward and back. From 2020 I have to add that perhaps some callers can’t handle a forward and back, although I don’t think that explains those particular examples. The side-to-side balance is so prevalent these days that I’m inclined to think that callers might just have been avoiding one more thing to teach in an already complicated dance. In any case, nearly 15 years later I still object!

Money Musk Phrasing

Money Musk: Several Transcriptions Over a Century

How the Dance has Both Changed and Remained the Same

Here are several transcriptions of the dance spaced out over a century. Comparing them shows how some aspects of the dance have changed substantially, whereas others remain nearly unchanged.

I start with two transcriptions of the 32-bar version of the dance. The first one is Prof. Emwell and the second is from Ralph Page nearly a century later. Following that I present two transcriptions of 24-bar versions of the dance. The first is from Ralph Page calling the dance and the second is from Dudley Laufman calling the same dance more than 50 years later.

The 32-Bar Versions

Both of these are from written sources and make the phrasing of the dance clear. The phrasing is written out in beats. Dance tunes typically have two beats per measure, so to figure out how many measures (bars) a figure takes, divide the number of beats by two. A 32-bar tune typically has two eight-bar parts (labeled A and B), each of which is repeated.

Prof. Emwell, 1892. The first 32-bar version comes from Prof. L. H. Elmwell’s Prompter’s Pocket Instruction Book published in 1892. At the time there were quite a few similar books being published; I think this one is fairly typical. It is shown as it appears in his book.

Ralph Page, 1984. The second is from Ralph Page’s An Elegant Collection of Contras and Squares, published in 1984. It is written out to make the phrasing of the dance clear rather than to indicate how one would call the dance.


Money Musk
Couples 1, 4, 7 are active
Proper dance, do not cross over

Prof. Emwell, 1892
A1
First couple swing once and a half around.
Go below the next couple.
8
8
A2
Forward six.
Swing three-quarters around.
8
8
B1
Forward six.
Swing to places.
8
8
B2Right & Left.16
Ralph Page, 1984
A1
Right hand to partner, turn once and a half around16
A2
Go below one couple and forward six and back8

Right hand to partner, turn three quarters round8
B1Forward six and back8

Right hand to partner, turn three quarters round to place8
B2Right and left four16

There are minor differences iin timing between the two versions. In both versions the dancers end up in the same place half way through the second A part, but the two versions differ in the timing up to that point. Following the middle of A2 both versions are phrased the same. Although the wording is different I would assume that swing once and a half around means to turn by the right hand.

The 24-Bar Versions

For at least 100–150 years, and possibly more, the dance has more frequently been danced as a 24-bar dance. We’ll start with a version of the dance from Ralph Page, and then look at a more recent version from Dudley Laufman.

Both versions are transcriptions of actual calls for the dance. In the above written versions of the dance the figures were written in to correspond with when they were danced. When actually calling the dance the caller calls the figures before the dancers do them, so the dancers can begin the next figure at the right time.

It can be difficult to figure out the timing of the figures from a transcription of actual calls if you don’t know the dance well. Therefore I end with the dance written out as actually danced with the length of each figure given, much like the two 32-bar versions. Both Ralph and Dudley call them with the same timing so this version represents how both call the dance. Again timing is in terms of beats; to convert to measures (bars), divide by 2.

Ralph Page, 1950. The first 24-bar version is as called by Ralph Page. It's from the 78 RPM record New England Contra Dances Volume 5 (With Calls), MH-1025-A with the Ralph Page Trio (Dick Richardson, fiddle, Junior Richardson, bass, and Johnny Trombley, piano). Ralph didn't call it the same way each time; this is as he called it the second time through.

Dudley Laufman, 2006. For comparison, here's another 24-bar version as called by Dudley Laufman more than 50 years later. It's from the CD Where'd You Get Them Great Chunes, Dudley & Jacqueline Laufman with the Sugar River String Band, 2006. It's fairly representative of how I've heard him call it over the years; although like Ralph Page he doesn't call it exactly the same way each time through.


Money Musk
Couples 1, 4, 7 are active
Proper dance, do not cross over

Ralph Page calling, 1950
A
Go once and a half around        — — — —
Go below one couple and forward six        — — — —

B
Three quarters round and forward six across the hall
— — — —        Three quarters round, right and left four.

C
You right and left four        —        — — — —
— — — —        — — — —

Dudley Laufman calling, 2006
A
Go once and a half around, once and a half around.
Below one couple and forward six        — — — —

B
Three quarters around        — —, and forward six again, once more.
Three quarters around, Three quarters around and you right and left four

C
And you right and left        — — and you right and left back        — —
— — — —        — — — —

24-Bar Phrasing as called by Ralph Page & Dudley Laufman
AGo once and a half around8

Below one couple
and forward six
4
4
BThree quarters around8

And forward six
Three quarters around
4
4
C
Right and left four16

Comparing these two 24-bar versions of the dance, the most striking thing to notice is how similar they are despite being over 50 years apart. In one sense that may not be surprising, as Ralph Page was one of Dudley’s most important influences as a caller. Nevertheless, the timing was identical, and many of the calls were as well; the differences that exist are mostly pretty minor.

There are certainly other callers whose calls are worded differently or even phrased a bit differently, but many or most of them time the actual figures the same as Ralph Page and Dudley Laufman. There are a few callers whose timing is different, but at least in New Hampshire it would be safe to say that this is how a large majority of dancers and callers know the dance.

Comparison of 32-bar Dance with the 24-bar Dance

Now it’s time to look at how Money Musk changed when it switched from a 32-bar dance to a 24-bar dance.

The Music. The tune for the dance was originally a two-part tune with repetition of each eight-bar part for a total of 32 bars of music, much like most other dance tunes. When the dance was shortened to 24 bars, the music was altered. The repeats were dropped, and a third part was added.

The Dance Figures. The dance figures were unchanged other than that they were fit into less music so had to be danced faster.

Timing of the Figures. The timing of the figures changed considerably, in the process altering the character of the dance substantially. Here is a comparison of the amount of music allotted to each figure in the 32-bar and 24-bar versions of the dance.

Dance Figure3224
Go once and a half around. Below one couple16
12
and forward six84
Three quarters around88
And forward six84
Three quarters around84
Right and left four1616

Parts of the dance are unchanged in timing, and parts have been speeded up. Also, the location of various figures with respect to the musical phrase has been changed, in some cases producing dramatic differences in the feel of the dance.

The first part (once and a half around, below one couple) has decreased from 16 to 12 measures, enough to speed it up noticeably. The final figure of the opening portion of the dance (forward six) is now given half the time it was originally. It’s fairly difficult to do a full forward and back in four counts, and as a result many dancers now treat it as a balance which fits the allotted time better. Furthermore, whereas the figure used to start half way through A1, now it occurs at the end of the A part. Given that it’s treated as a balance, that figure is much more likely to occur at the beginning of a phrase than at the end, so many people find that confusing.

The first three quarters around is unchanged in its time allottment, and remains fairly leisurely. It’s common to back out all the way to place when making lines up and down the set, and even to back out further than where the lines might be expected to form. Those who can’t deal with a leisurely figure sometimes turn by the left one and a quarter times.

The next forward six now comes half way through the B part, and once again is a very quick figure. It’s followed by turning three quarters to place, which is a very rapid figure. One of the more distinctive parts of the dance is the leisurely three-quarters turn the first time and the rapid one the second time.

The dance ends with rights and lefts, which are unchanged from before.

Lamplighter's Hornpipe

The Evolution of Lamplighter's Hornpipe

Lamplighter’s Hornpipe is one of the classic chestnut contras, but probably one of the lesser known of that group of dances. It doesn’t show up in the index to Ralph Page’s Northern Junket, but he does present it in his An Elegant Collection of Contras and Squares (1984). There he comments that it’s probably from the 1840s. He says there that they used to call it Road to Californy although they would still use the tune Lamplighter’s Horpipe. I have heard of it being danced to the tune Road to California and have danced it with that used as a change tune.

As far as I know there have been two major alterations to the dance, and probably a few minor alterations as well over the years. Originally the dance was a triple minor (every third couple active. Like most triple minor dances the active couple dances with both the #2 and the #3 couple. At some point it was changed to a duple minor (every other couple active). Ralph Page discusses it as one that can be danced both ways, and in fact I remember dancing it in my early days of dancing starting as a triple and being changed to a duple part way through. As we’ll see, that can have a major effect on the feel of the dance. Now, instead of dancing with the second and third couple, the active dances with the usual inactive below, and with the next inactive below. That has caused confusion for more than one dancer!

Later on the figures were compressed enough to fit in an additional balance and a swing as part of the dance. David Smukler and David Millstone in Cracking Chestnuts (2008) guess that this happened in the 1950s or 1960s.

The Transcriptions. In the right column (below on smaller screens) I compare the classic triple minor version of the dance with the version that I call which is a fairly standard modern version of the dance with one exception noted with the transcription.

Lamplighter’s Hornpipe: A Comparison of the Triple and Duple Minor Versions

In the right column (below on smaller screens) I compare the classic triple minor version of the dance with the modern duple minor version of the dance. I use the version that I call which is a fairly standard modern version of the dance with one exception noted with the transcription.

Each transcription shows the figures of the dance with phrasing as beats; divide by two for measures. They are written out more as instructions than as calls; figures are listed where they are actually danced. I’ve also included some supplementary description. This can help anyone trying to call the dance to avoid some of the potential problems with teaching the dance. Also, in places the additional information helps illustrate differences between the two versions. Following that I show a comparison of the figures and timing for the triple and duple minor versions.

Lamplighter’s Hornpipe as a Triple Minor Dance

There are two sources for Lamplighter’s as a triple minor dance:

Prof. L. H. Emwell, Prompter’s Pocket Instruction Book. White-Smith Publishing Company (New York, Boston), 1892.

Ralph Page, An Elegant Collection of Contras and Squares. Lloyd Shaw Foundation, Inc. (Denver), 1984.

I only present one transcripton as a triple minor because both books present the dance with the same figures and the same timing of figures.

Lamplighter's Hornpipe as a Duple Minor Dance

This is the version of the dance that I call. It is a fairly standard duple minor version of the dance with one exception, described below.

Comparison of Figures & Timing

This compares the figures and time allotted to each for the triple and duple versions of the dance. Look below for a discussion of this comparison.

Lamplighter’s Hornpipe as a Triple Minor Dance

Lamplighter's Hornpipe
Proper dance, do not cross over



Triple Minor; Couples 1, 4, 7 etc. are active
A1Active couple cross over, ladies in the lead, end facing out between the 2nd & 3rd couples4
Balance in long lines at the sides4
Turn the right hand person by the right hand,once around, make lines again, actives facing out8
A2Balance in lines again, twice8
Turn the left hand person by the left hand about ¾ around, end in the center facing down8
B1Actives down the center, two by twoTurn as a couple, come back, cast off16
B2Top two couples right and left four16

Lamplighter's Hornpipe as a Duple Minor Dance

Lamplighter's Hornpipe
Proper dance, do not cross over



Duple Minor; Couples 1, 3, 5 etc. are active
A1Active couple cross over, ladies in the lead, end facing out below the inactives they're dancing with4
Balance in long lines at the sides, actives facing out4
Turn the right hand person by the right hand once around, make lines again, actives facing out4
Balance in lines again, actives face out4
A2Turn the left hand person by the left hand about ¾ around. Keep holding on and actives take hands in the center to make diagonal lines of four4
Diagonal lines balance4
And the actives swing8
B1Actives down the center, two by two. Turn as a couple, come back, cast off with the original inactive couple16
B2Top two couples right and left four16

Comparison of Figures & Timing

Once again timing is given in beats; to convert to measures divide by two.

Comparison of the Two Versions
Dance FiguresTriple Duple
Actives cross below one couple44
Balance long lines, actives face out44
Turn the right hand person by the right hand round84
Balance in lines again, actives face out84
Turn the left hand person by the left hand round84
Diagonal lines balance4
And the actives swing8
Actives down the center, two by two. Turn as a couple, come back, cast off1616
Right and left four1616

Triple & Duple Versions: Interpretation & Commentary

The dance was originally a triple minor (every three couples active), and in fact you dance with both of the inactive couples. The modern dance is a duple minor (every other couple active), so the actives dance with the other couple in their group of four and with the next inactive below. This gives the dance a very different feel, and can make the dance confusing to people who haven't done it before.

The triple version starts with the actives in each group of six crossing, lady in the lead, to go below, ending up facing out between the second and third couple. The next figures are done with the other two inactives of the opposite sex in your group of six. The duple minor dance feels quite different here even thought the actual figures are nearly the same. The cross below is to where the next active couiple started the dance. The next figures are done with the inactive from your original group of four and the next inactive below.

After the first balance the modern version shortens the next three figures. The turn by the right is cut from a leisurely 8 beats to a rather brisk 4 beats. The orignial double balance is cut to a single balance. The turn by the left is shortend just as the turn by the right.

In the balances there's an option to balance forward and back or to balance side to side. Ralph Page favored balancing forward and back, as do David Smukler and David Millstone in Cracking Chestnuts. I learned the dance with a side-to-side balance, starting by balancing toward the person you were going to do the turn with.

At this point the duple version has shortened the dance by 12 beats; but the music has remained the same. The most striking difference between the two versions is the addition of two figures in the second A part. Instead of going down the center, first the actives balance and a swing with their partners. Usually after turning by the left they go to their partners for the balance and swing. At some point (I suspect at Ashokan with David Kaynor calling but I don't remember for sure) I danced the dance with the actives holding on to the inactives and taking hands with their partners to balance four in line diagonally. That was such a nice modification that I decided to keep it, and have called the dance that way ever since.

In the second half of the dance the figures are unchanged and their timing is unchanged. But the change from triple to duple has important effects. In the triple version the actives go down the center, turn as a couple, come back to the #2 and #3 couples with whom they've been dancing. and cast off with couple #2. In the duple minor dance they do the same thing, but they have to pass the first couple they've been dancing with and go all the way back to their orignial inactive couple. Generally in a duple minor dance you only dance with one other couple at a time, so it's tempting to cast off with the wrong couple. As a caller I often teach that you have to come back further than you expect all the way to your original inactive couple.

Petronella

Petronella

Petronella has changed twiice during that the past 50 years or so. The opening figure is the most complex part of the dance. To start the dance the active gent in four steps turns over his right shoulder (clockwise) to end up below his starting position, in the center of the set facing up. At the same time the active lady turns similarly to end facing down in the middle of the set, roughly between the starting positions of the first couple. A common call for this figure is "round to your right".

Once in position the actives then balance to their partner. Then the figure “round to your right and you balance” is repeated three more times, with the actives going a quarter of the way around each time, to end up roughly opposite where they started for the second time, and by the fourth time back on their own sides.

Now, the first fork in the dance begins here. Ralph Page said (Northern Junket, Vol. 10 No. 2, 1970 and An Elegant Collection of Contras and Squares, 1984) that the closer you got to Vermont the more likely they were to reverse the order and dance it as “balance and turn a quarter”.

The contradance revival in the early 1970s brought about further changes in the dance. Dudley Laufman talks about the actives taking hands during the balance, and even twirling under their joined arch. I have seen that done myself. Then one night a set of dancers got the inactives to join them, making a diamond for the balance. The inactives would go around the diamond with the actives. This became very popular quite quickly. When I started dancing in the late 1970s we would sometimes start with just the actives dancing, and then part way through the caller would tell the actives to join in. Some dancers still preferred not to invite the inactives to join them. Within a few years it was nearly always danced with the inactives participating. Dudley refers to that version of the dance as Citronella.

Ernie & Joan Spence

Ernie & Joan Spence. Ernie was responsible for many people starting to dance. He was an excellent dancer himself, and danced an excellent Petronella. He was stepping most of the time he wasn't doing the balance. It was a joy to watch him dance. Photo by Patrick Stevens, used by permission from UNH Special Collections; see footer for details.

The last major change took place in the 1990s. People started to clap in each “round to your right”. There were two claps on the second and third beats of the second measure of the figure. That also caught on quite rapidly, although there are still quite a few people (including me) who dislike it. It appears to be somewhat less pervasive than at first, but is still fairly common.

After the four times through that figure the actives go down the center and back, cast off, and the final figure is rights and lefts. These figures have remained unchanged.

There have also been changes in the music used for the dance. It comes from the Scottish dance of the same name, done to the tune of the same name. In the Northern Junket he wrote, “Neither did we ever dance it to the tune named "Petronella". All of the good fiddlers knew that particular time and most of them heartily disliked it. We dancers went one step further — we despised it! The commonest tune in southwestern Hew Hampshire to do the dance to was "Girl I Left Behind Me", with "Finnegan’s Wake” a close second. The nearer you got to Vermont the surer you were to dancing "Pat'nella" to this tune.” The tune he presented is what we now call Green Mountain Petronella. Although Dudley used Petronella on the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra recording, he has said many times that those tunes were often used, and named some others as well.

Petronella Transcriptions

Here are some transcriptions to accompany the discussion of Petronella.

The first one is as called by Ralph Page's Uncle Wallace at kitchen junkets, as described in the Northern Junket, Vol. 10 No. 2, 1970.

Petronella
Duple Minor; Couples 1, 3, 5 etc. are active
Proper dance, do not cross over



Ralph Page, Northern Junket, as called by Uncle Wallace
A1
Balance partner
Around to the right and
4
4

Balance again
Around to the right and
4
4
A2
Balance again
Around to the right and
4
4

Balance again
Around to the right to place
4
4
B1
Down the center with partner
Same way back, cast off
8
8
B2Right and left four16

The next transcription is from the calling of Dudley Laufman from a Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra record. These are the actual calls for the dance. In the first half of the dance the calls are pretty much together with the figures. In the second half the calls get ahead of the figures. I'll show the phrasing of the dance in the next transcription.

Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra, Farm & Wilderness Records, FW3, 1972, Dudley Laufman calling.

Petronella
Duple Minor; Couples 1, 3, 5 etc. are active
Proper dance, do not cross over



Dudley Laufman calling with the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra
A1Now go round to the right and you balance        — — — —4
Now go round to your right and you balance once again4
A2Now go round to your right and you balance to your partner4
And go round to your right and you balance once again4
B1Now go down the center with your own, and you bring her right back home8
— —        And you cast off, and you right and left right over8
B2And you right, left, left, right, over and go back again8
— — — —        — — — —8

The last version is the modern version as it is called today. It's not one of the more frequently called chestnuts, most likely because it doesn't have a swing which is considered essential by many modern dancers.

The phrasing is the same as in the older version that Dudley called.

Petronella
Duple Minor; Couples 1, 3, 5 etc. are active
Proper dance, do not cross over



Modern Version ("Citronella")
A1Round to your right and balance in a circle4
Round to your right and balance in a circle4
A2Round to your right and balance in a circle4
Round to your right and balance in a circle 4
B1Down the center, turn single8
Come back, cast off proper8
B2Rights and lefts16