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Traditional Barn Dances With Calls & Fiddling
Calls by Dudley Laufman to great fiddle tunes, easy to us
Published by Human Kinetics
White Mountain Reel COMPANIONS
Arrangements for Violin, Viola and Cello/Bass
New Hampshire Folklife www.nh.gov/folklife
An educational resource featuring the Traditional Music Collection - a searchable
database of independently produced recordings by NH traditional musicians. Also features
the Learning Center with activities and essays on aspects of folklife and traditional arts.
For more than 300 years, the dances we do and the music we play have been done continuously in New England. Some dances have made their way all across the country, and new dances are always being written.
Our goal is for the children to experience a direct link with the past and to enjoy themselves socially through dancing. During their time with us they will:
Jigs and reels were danced in what is now New England by colonists and Native Americans 350 years ago. The fiddle (violin) was the chief instrument used. Some of the instruments were brought over from England. Some were made here.
On the frontier, people first danced jigs and reels in their log cabins on a dirt floor. Later on, before meetinghouses were built, dances were held in the kitchens of farmhouses. A fiddler sat in the corner; there was no caller or teacher. People learned by watching others. They often did the same dances over and over.
In town, people danced in taverns, private ballrooms, and in the fort. Music was provided on fiddle, cello, or flute. There was no caller. Town people learned by attending dancing school if they could afford it. The dancing master earned his living teaching the fancy dances of the day such as the minuets, country dances like Sweet Richard, Nancy Dawson, as well as manners and etiquette.
Dances that would have been done by the common folk are: Sir Roger de Coverly, a circular reel which sometimes includes the Farandole, solo jigs, and, three, four, and six hands reels.
Children mostly did singing games such as Here we go Round the Mulberry Bush. In colonial and pre-colonial times it is possible that children of the gentry were sent to dancing school to be tutored in the manners and minuets of the day.
Greensleeves, St. Patrick's Day in the Morning and Irish Washerwoman are a few of the jigs and reels that were used. Many old tunes have acquired new names:
Here we go Round the Mulberry Bush
The Bear Went Over The Mountain
The Muffin Man
Yankee Doodle has always been Yankee Doodle.
Some of the favorite dances done were Virginia reels, the Portland Fancy, John Paul Jones, and square dances. Barn dancing was done in The Little House on the Prairie books to tunes like Pop goes the Weasel.
In towns and cities, people danced in public ballrooms, having learned the steps from dancing masters and callers. Orchestras consisted of violins, cellos, bass viol, clarinet, and cornet played music. The city folks dianced some of the rural dances as well as other contre dances, quadrilles, waltzes and polkas.
Fiddles are still the lead instruments, accompanied by accordion, piano, banjo, and guitar. Because so many musicians are highly trained, the music is often less rough and earthy sounding.
The dances still be done today are Virginia Reels including Sir Roger de Coverly, singing square dances like Marching through Georgia, contre dances, polkas, modern urban contra dances and modern western square dances. People still dance in their homes as well as in barns and town halls.
Some of tunes common to most dance bands are Haste to the Wedding, Road to Boston, Flowers of Edinburgh, Fisher's Hornpipe, and thousands more, with many new ones written each year.
Traditional New England dancing now has many names: barn dance, square dance, contra dance, country dance, and old time dance.
Barn dance is a good name for what we do because it includes most of all the above kinds of dances and music. Everyone can dance whether they have danced before or not, if they're young or old, city folk or country folk.
Unlike the dancing master who gave lengthy instruction on dance and etiquette to adults and maybe the children of the gentry, we find those dances and methods of teaching them are not suitable for 20th century children in the time span of a class. Dances like Black Nag or Hunting the Fox would take many classes to do with children and would be laborious rather than fun. Therefore we have adapted some of the jigs and reels danced by the common folk of the colonial years for children of all ages.
Some of the dances we teach are the Country Dance, the Paul Jones, the Farandole, and Sir Roger de Coverly (Virginia Reel). We are likely to add more recent dances such as Marching through Georgia, Grand Salute, and Portland Fancy.
SoÖthe dances they do now, the music they dance to, and the instrument that the music is played on, were danced and played 350 years ago here on this very spot. They have never stopped being done.
Visit the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts website:
New Hampshire Folklife
accordion - n a portable keyboard wind instrument in which the wind is forced past free reeds by means of a hand-operated bellows.
band - n a small group of musicians that play music together.
bones - n hand-held percussion instruments made of bone or wood.
bow - n a wooden rod with horsehairs stretched end to end used for playing the fiddle or other members of the violin family.
bridge - n a wooden carved arch used to raise the strings of a fiddle.
Canterbury - n the town in New Hampshire where the Laufman's live in a little house on the edge of the woods.
concertina - n a hexagonal shaped musical instrument of the accordion family.
contredance - n a folk dance in which couples face each other in two lines or in a square.
do-si-do - n [Fr dos-a-dos back to back] a dance figure in which the dancers pass each other right shoulder to right shoulder and circle each other back to back.
Dudley Laufman - n dancing master, sometimes called the Johnny Appleseed of modern contra dancing.
fiddle - n a violin: a bowed instrument having four strings tuned at intervals of a fifth.
harmonica - n a small rectangular wind instrument with free reeds recessed in air slots from which tones are sounded by exhaling and inhaling.
hornpipe - n a lively dance tune with many notes (Sailor's Hornpipe also known as Popeye's theme music).
instruments - n a device used to make music.
itinerant - adj traveling from place to place.
Jacqueline Laufman - n fiddler and partner for dance caller Dudley Laufman of the band Two Fiddles.
jig - n a lively, springy, bouncy dance tune in 6/8 time (Pop Goes the Weasel).
kitchen junket - n a festive social affair often held in the largest room of the home.
limber jack - n a wooden puppet on a stick used to dance out the beat of a tune on a separate board held under one's leg while sitting.
longways - adj a dance formation with partners across from each other in lines, as used for a contredance
melodeon - n a small reed organ in which a suction bellows draws air inward through the reeds.
microphone - n a small electronic piece of equipment used to magnify the sound of voice and instruments.
musician - n a performer of music.
orchestra - n a large group of musicians that play music together.
partner - n either of a couple who dance together.
pochette - n a very small fiddle that would fit in the pocket of a dancing master.
promenade - n a figure in a square dance in which couples move counter clockwise in a circle.
quadrille - n a square dance for four couples made up of five or six figures.
reel - n a lively dance tune usually in 4/4 or 2/4 time (Yankee Doodle).
refreshments - n assorted light food and drink.
rosin - n pine pitch (resin) that has been processed into a solid form, usually amber or black colored, which is rubbed on the fiddle bow to make it slightly dry sticky.
songs - n a short musical composition with words and music
strings - n the gut or wire cord of fiddles, violas, cellos, etc.
swing - n a dance figure in which two dancers revolve with joined arms or hands.
violin - n a fiddle; a bowed instrument having four strings tuned at intervals of a fifth.
cast off - v to pass around the outside of the set and back again in a longways dance; also called peel the banana.
Bubble, bubble, bubble goes the syrup in the pan
Old Roger is dead and lies in his grave, lies in his grave, lies in his grave.
Old Roger is dead and lies in his grave, E - I, lies in his grave.
They planted an apple tree over his head, over his head, over his head.
They planted an apple tree over his head, E - I, over his head.
The apples got ripe and they all tumbled down, all tumbled, all tumbled down.
The apples got ripe and they all tumbled down, E - I, all tumbled down.
There came an old lady a pickin' 'em up, pickin' 'em up, pickin' 'em up.
There came an old lady a pickin' 'em up, E - I, pickin' 'em up.
Old Roger gets up and gives her a thump, gives her a thump, gives her a thump.
Old Roger gets up and gives her a thump, E - I, gives her a thump.
Which makes the old lady go hippity-hop, hippity-hop, hippity-hop.
Which makes the old lady go hippity-hop, E - I, hippity-hop.
Onto the stage comes a chimney sweep, chimney sweep, chimney sweep.
Onto the stage comes a chimney sweep, chimney sweep, chimney sweep. (Sweep the stage clear)
Review historical materials before we arrive and have them be prepared to ask us questions.
Locate Canterbury, New Hampshire, where we live.
Track the route we would have taken to your school.
Estimate distance and time.
Locate all eleven towns in New Hampshire with one syllable.
Locate the only New Hampshire town with five syllables, one word.
Locate Quebec Province and Quebec City.
Encourage children to practice the etiquette of politely asking someone to dance before coming to the next dance session.
Make dance cards listing the names of the dances, the tunes used and with whom they danced.
Read Little House on the Prairie in which Pa plays his fiddle for dancing to Pop Goes the Weasel. Read other books of music and dance (see list below).
Ackerman, Karen Song and Dance Man
Aiken, Joan, The Moonís Revenge
Armstrong, George and Gerry, The Magic Bagpipe
Bornstein, Ruth, The Dancing Man
Cosgrove, Stephen, Fiddler
Davidge, Bud, The Mummerís Song
Flournoy, Vanessa and Valerie, Celie and the Harvest Fiddler
Gauch, Patricia Lee, On To Widecombe Fair
Gray, Libba Moore, My Mama Had a Dancing Heart
Hollinshead, Marilyn, The Nine Days Wonder
London, Jonathan, The Sugaring-Off Party
Lowery, Linda, Twist With a Burger, Jitter With a Bug
Martin Jr., Bill & Archambault, John, Barn Dance
Mayer, Mercer, The Queen Always Wanted to Dance
McKissack, Patricia, Mirandy and Brother Wind
Medearis, Angela Shelf, Dancing With the Indians
Oxenbury, Helen, The Dancing Class
Schotter, Richard and Roni, Thereís A Dragon About: A Winterís Revel
Schroeder, Alan, Ragtime Tumpie
Shannon, George, Dance Away
Spinelli, Eileen, Boy, Can He Dance!
Stops, Sue, Maurice!
Tripp, Edward, The Tin Fiddle
"Trosclair", Cajun Night Before Christmas
Walsh, Ellen Stoll, Hop Jump
-------------------, Noahís Square Dance
Thank you so much for teaching me how to dance. It was fun changing partners and do-si-doing. I also liked showing my parents how to have fun while dancing.
I have a classmate who plays the fiddle. He showed us on his share day and he played real well. Iíve been thinking of becoming a musician too. I will play the keyboard.
óMaster Patrick, Goffstown, NH
B = Boy G = Girl
Girl is always on the right
(top of set)
Partners are beside one an other in a circle around the room.
Four couples, partner beside each other, form the four sides of a square.
All forward and back
All two hand swing
Top couple chasse down and back
Make a bridge - top couple under
Adapted for students of French language
The French Canadians love to dance. It helps them to get through the long Quebec wingers. Their music and dances are entirely free of the restrictions placed upon the New England contra dance.
This program is held in the classroom. Move the desks. Traditionally these dances are "called." Monsieur Laufman, speaking mostly in English, shows how the steps are done. The students translate. Live fiddle music with "le pied" (foot clogging).
Some of the dances are Le Brandy, La Patate Longue, La Contredanse, Le Pont De L'Ombre, Le Petit Char, La Plonguese, and others.
A one time event in the classroom, this program could also culminate in an evening party with friends and other classmates or even family...the students showing what they have learned and the getting their parents up to do the same dances.
Monsieur Laufman has been going to French Canadian dances in Province de Quebec and Chicopee, Massachusetts, since he was a young man. With Madam Jacqueline Laufman, he continues to play and call the dances to some of the best French Canadian tunes ever composed.
For three years they have taken part in the Manchester, NH, Historical Society's evening, a Franco-American Soiree, of French culture, music and dance.
Elementary school art teacher:
(subject to change)
$550 per day
$300 evening (if the same day)
$550 for evening only
Additional costs possible if very large events and/or travel.
Arts in Education Grants: apply to
New Hampshire State Council on the Arts
2 1/2 Beacon Street -
Concord, NH 03301-4974
603/271-2789 tel 603/271-3584 fax
Please call us so we can answer your questions.
Jacqueline & Dudley Laufman
PO Box 61, Canterbury, NH, USA 03224
Tel: 603-783-4719 Fax: 603-783-9578
New email as of January 2007:
jdlaufman (at) comcast (dot) net
(Put the @ symbol in above address instead of the word (at) with no spaces and a . between comcast and net to deter spam.)
Last updated: 03/04/2013
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