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Scottish Country Dance Music

Scottish Country Dances are categorized into reels, jigs or Strathspeys. Reel time music is played in common or 4/4 time, and the tempo is 112 or 32 seconds per 32 bars of music. This gives a regular and even rhythm.

Jigs are marked at 6/8 time and you can count 6 beats or repeat a phrase like "jiggity-jig" to the music and it is played at 108-118 speed on the metronome.

Strathspeys are also in common time and are marked 4/4. The characteristic feature of Scottish Strathspeys is the Scotch "snap". The tempo for Strathspeys is approximately 56 on the metronome - roughly 60 seconds for 32 bars. A strathspey, which is repeated 8 times, can take 8 minutes to dance.

Traditional dances, have traditional tunes attached to them and are recognized by the tune as well as the dance. When possible the correct tunes should be used for these dances and kept exclusively for these well known dances. The music should inspire you to dance, and should be played with variations and "light and shade" to urge the dancers on to dance with great spirit.

Listen to the music, its usually chosen very carefully to add to your inspiration to dance!

Hazel