Scottish music and dance
Scottish dancing mainly uses three musical rhythms - Jigs, Reels and Strathspeys, with Jigs and Reels being faster than Strathspeys.
Nearly all-traditional Scottish music is written in 8 bar phrases and the majority of Scottish dances use 32 bars for one turn through the dance.
Hence, with four couples in a typical set and each couple dancing the dance twice before they get to the bottom of the set, it means that the most comment dance structure for SCD is eight times through each 32 bar turn. You will see the terminology 8 x 32 bars to describe the amount of music needed for a dance.
Most formations take 8 bars of music so this means that many dances have four formations (one of which is a progression a.k.a. a way of changing places with the couple below you). For some of the simpler dances you need to remember just four formations.
You still need two further bits of information to help you get started; steps and formations.
Armed with the above information it is possible to get through your first Scottish Country Dance and start out on this great adventure.
This section is, of course, a very brief ‘quick’ guide; should you wish more information follow the appropriate links on the learn Scottish Country Dancing home page.