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Thread: Schottische

  1. #1
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Schottische

    What constitutes a schottische? In musical terms, how would you identify a tune as a schottische rather than some other form?

    D.H.

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    Default Re: Schottische

    I don't know the musical description, and my only experience with it, really, is via Swedish folkdance, where there's a definite "skip" or "hop" in the dance step that is reflected in the music. Kind of a lift off the beat. And, it's a definite "2" feel.
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  4. #3
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schottische

    Thanks, that's helpful. Is the "hop" due to a swing eights rhythm?

    The reason behind my question is that I'm working on Bluebell Polka, which is said to be a schottische rather than a true polka. Part of it also seems to be that polkas are played faster, though the tempo of Bluebell is enough for me!

    D.H.

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    Default Re: Schottische

    This discussion and demonstration may provide some enlightenment about the Scottish Schottische.

    I'm not sure you'll be any wiser after watching but it's enjoyable.

    Bren

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    Default Re: Schottische

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hicks View Post
    Thanks, that's helpful. Is the "hop" due to a swing eights rhythm?

    The reason behind my question is that I'm working on Bluebell Polka, which is said to be a schottische rather than a true polka. Part of it also seems to be that polkas are played faster, though the tempo of Bluebell is enough for me!

    D.H.
    The Jimmy Shand version has a very distinctive lilt to it, not just due to Jimmy's button accordion style but also the drumming, admired by Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones among others.
    https://youtu.be/9OKOLNbwHoE
    Bren

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schottische

    That Fergie story is one of my favourite Phil Cunningham anecdotes, Bren, along with The Shinty Referee where Phil tells of phoning Fergie for this tune and having him phone back from a layby somewhere in the highlands and playing the tune down the phone to Phil to record. Thanks for the video link.
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    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schottische

    Thanks for the video - Phil's little demo at the start makes it clearer. I could listen to these guys play, and talk, all day.
    D.H.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schottische

    This overview of schottische might help here.
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    Default Re: Schottische

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hicks View Post
    Thanks for the video - Phil's little demo at the start makes it clearer. I could listen to these guys play, and talk, all day.
    D.H.
    The thing is, I know Flett Fae Flotta as a straight march, which I have played many times, especially in Orkney, but not at ceilidhs.

    So many tunes can be adapted to many rhythms when it comes to dancing. The rhythm is the thing.
    Bren

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schottische

    We were playing in The Crown in Dunoon last night and two customers asked us if we knew Flett Fae Flotta. They were both Orcadians, we learned, so we obliged them and played it first as a march then into Strathspey mode. Our accordion player loves the Strathspey version! The two guys were quite taken with the change in rhythm.
    Another tune which I have heard in very different forms is Tom Anderson's lovely air Airthrey Castle. I learned it as a slow air and this is the version we generally play, especially when there are fiddlers present, but one of the fiddlers had learned it elsewhere as a Strathspey, and I have to admit I have begun to like it in this form too. Mark of a good tune, probably!
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    Default Re: Schottische

    Schottisches were very popular in Australian Bush Music. There are many of them and they definitely have a "hop" to them.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6yH...kersBand-Topic
    Back in the 70's and 80's Bush dances were very popular in Australia and the Bushwackers band were very well known internationally.

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  17. #12

    Default Re: Schottische

    I'm quoting directly from "The Companion To Irish Traditional Music" (edited by Fintan Vallely, 1999 edition) here. The passages below relate exclusively to Irish - indeed Donegal - versions of the schottische, a dance form and tune-type popular in other countries' musical traditions and in the world of classical music as well, I believe (although that's a world to which I have the most minimal exposure)... And therefore the entries may be a tad too parochial to help the OP with the original query.

    The entry for "Schottische" says, "...see highland".

    Under "Highland", the entry reads as follows. The first paragraph is written by Liz Doherty; the second by Caomhin MacAoidh:

    "Properly called the "Highland Schottische". This is a couple dance introduced to Co Donegal in the mid-1800s by migratory workers returning from Scotland. A local variant of the dance emerged which was known as the Irish highland. The dance itself is no longer common, but the tune-type remains popular within the Donegal fiddle repertoire. The highland is in 4/4 time with an accent on the first beat of the bar, which is usually of crotchet value. The tempo is more relaxed than that of the reel. The highland is characterised by the use of dotted rhythms articulated in a subtle manner and not in the jagged fashion popular in Scotland. This, combined with the tempo chosen, creates a swing peculiar to the highland. While a number of new highlands were composed in Donegal it was also common for popular reel tunes to be broken down into highlands. Many highlands are based on existing Scottish strathspey melodies. Tunes such as "Niel Gow's Wife", "Maggie Cameron" and "Brochan Lom" all exist as highlands in Donegal. In some cases the same title is retained; otherwise a new name is created e.g. "Miss Lyall's Strathspey" is known as the highland "The Cat That Kittled in Jamie's Wig"."

    "The dance. Outside of Ulster, the highland is more commonly referred to as either a fling or a schottische. Older fiddlers believe the origin of the term "highland" stems from its appearance in popular printed music collections describing tunes as a "highland schottische". Today, only one dance is generally done to a highland, this corresponding to what was called in Irish-speaking areas of North Donegal the "highland beag" (little highland). Two other forms of the highland did exist and are now virtually extinct the "highland garbh" (rough highland - a couple dance) and the "highland gaelach" (Irish highland), done with one boy and two girls."

    Under the entry for "German" in the same volume, Liz Doherty writes:

    "A variant of the nineteenth-century popular continental "schottische", the German schottische, was adopted as a couple dance in Co Donegal. As with the Scottish version, the highland schottische, the term schottische was eventually dropped within the local tradition and the dance and related tune came to be known simply as "Germans". Although the dance is no longer part of the Donegal tradition, a number of Germans still exist within the instrumental tradition. These are in 4/4 time and are similar in tempo and articulation to the barndance. As is the case with many of the less common tune-types within the Donegal fiddle tradition these are referred to simply by their tune-type rather than by individual titles."

    Interestingly The Bluebell Polka is mentioned in previous posts as a schottische. I've always thought of it as a barndance and I often play it as the first tune in a set with Ed Reavy's barndance "The Dances At Kinvara" and sometimes with "The Hills Of Tara"...

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    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schottische

    As David Kennedy has noted, schottiches are well known in the Australian old-time dance music tradition, though usually played a little slower than the Bushwackers version of the Mudgee Schottiche. For lots of Australian dance tunes the Bush Traditions website is a great source. https://www.bushtraditions.org/

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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schottische

    Thanks David, Mudgee Schottiche is a great tune, I like that hesitation in the rhythm too.

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    Default Re: Schottische

    It seems Schottische is different in several cultures.

    It's not necessarily Scottish music as such but perhaps an impression of it from afar.


    the Mudgee Schottische brings back good memories.

    In more recent years I had the pleasure of playing with accordionist Mick Slocum (of early incarnations of the Bushwackers), a couple of times at sessions in The Quiet Man in Flemington, Vic.
    Bren

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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schottische

    Just come across this... our local session plays the Swedish tune Schottische Fran Havero, NZ version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twcaK5VeaGA.

    Good tune, something different that we all enjoy!

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    Default Re: Schottische



    How we do it in Scotland for dancing, back when we could do this!

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  27. #18
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schottische

    Then there's the issue of pronunciation.

    In the US, I can only recall hearing it as SHOT-ish or shot-ish, but Phil and Aly are saying it as scot-EESH. Is the latter the typical UK pronunciation? How about elsewhere?

    D.H.
    Last edited by Dave Hicks; Jul-25-2021 at 5:14pm.

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schottische

    In Scotland most of us would use the hard K sound, as Dave suggests above. Not sure about UK but certainly for Scotland. But there again we do not pronounce our "lochs" as "loCKs". We use the Celtic "ch" consonant, also common in German.
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    Default Re: Schottische

    Scottische is the German for Scottish and is pronounced SHOTisher.

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    Sheri Mignano Crawford Mandophile's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schottische

    Well, this is a great question with no definitive singular answer. Every country developed its own style and expression of the dance. The Italian immigrant composers composed in the schottische fashion which is rooted in the polka genre. The earliest schottische example in Italian music catalogs might be by mandolinist Joseph Sgallari, and in America, De Stefano was the first to publish the schottische, followed by Tesio, Catalano, Paolilli, et. al. There are several in my Dropbox and can be downloaded. If you read about this dance as categorized in the 'country dancing' tradition it refers to line dancing and not couples dancing. IOW, even with De Stefano, his schottisches dictated a formulaic dance pattern based on older examples. Obviously, this changed when polka halls were dominated by the Germanic polka. I strongly suggest reading "A Passion for Polka" by Victor Greene. While it concentrates on American examples, he covers the origin and the evolution of this dance and why people are still crazy about it!
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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schottische

    I just went walk-about on some fun facts -the Schottische (and Germany), and now I’ve discovered why I sing the way I do when I’m in the shower.


    It’s that joie de vivre Deutsche!

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  36. #23
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    Default Re: Schottische

    Schottisches (as "schottish" and various other spellings) also exist in late 19th C Brazilian music and are now played by choro musicians and others.

    "Yara" by Anacleto de Medeiros is a famous one.

    Bren

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    Default Re: Schottische

    I tend to say Highland Skiteesh.

    I think the definitive speed/rhythm for this dance is Brochan Lom/ aka Orange and Blue, played with a good beat.
    David A. Gordon

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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schottische

    Nice!
    -Porridge!
    Thanks, I find it much easier to remember the rhythm of a tune by remembering a song.


    https://youtu.be/0f0zm9DfVw0

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