Yes, if you want to play music for square dancing in Portland you might as well resign yourselves to learning a schottische. They are easy to play and easy to dance and a schottische really fits the personality of a traditional square dance. If your band doesn’t play a schottische then dance gigs may become increasingly hard to find. We callers and a lot of dancers are eager to include schottisches at our dances, so let us help you with some mp3’s of schottisches you can learn. Also there are a couple of unsatisfactory videos to give you an idea of what the dance looks like. Thanks to Kerry Blech for much of the music below.
Wikipedia’s description of the dance
As a standard country dance in the United States, schottische performance follows two short runs and a hop followed by four turning hop steps: step step step hop, step step step hop, step hop step hop step hop step hop.
Steps alternate one foot to the other, hops are only on one foot, so the leader’s footwork would be: left right left hop on left, right left right hop on right, step on left hop on left, step on right hop on right, step on left hop on left, step on right hop on right.
In a basic step, the running steps are done in open position (follower on the right side of the leader) and the turning steps are done in closed position; but many many variations exists
Here is a metronome track to practice with. Its a little slow. The tunes below vary in speed, which is fine as long as people can dance to it. If too fast, they have to run to keep up. If too slow, they tip over. "Kelly Schottische" is just right. Just be aware that the tempos of the tunes below are not all at a good dance speed.
Think of the song, smarty smarty smar-TY, thought you’d have a par-TY. Although just a plain old boom-chuck works, try boom-chuck boom-slap, boom-chuck boom-slap where "slap" means dampening the tail end of every other back beat to make that strum clipped. Watch how the dancers step when you play a schottische, and try to support their step-step-step-HOP.
Old Time Schottische
Tunes From Home Schottische
Bob Walter tunes from the Old-Time Fiddler’s Repertory: Historic Field Recordings of Forty-one Traditional Tunes – Edited, with Commentary, by R.P. Christeson; Missouri Old Time Fiddler’s AssociationViola Ruth Schottische
Bob Bovee & Gail Heil: When The Cactus Is In Bloom; Copper Creek CCCD 0181
Electric Light Schottische
John Baltzell, from Paul Tyler’s private collection of 1920’s Midwestern fiddle bands
Wild Rose Of The Mountain: Eastern Kentucky Fiddle Music Played By J.P., Annadeene And Danielle Fraley; Rounder 82161-0037-2
Joseph Won a Coated Fiddle and other Fiddle and Accordion Tunes from the Great Plains CDROUN0429
Somewhere In 1937, Library Of Congress Recording From Kentucky: Luther
Strong, Bev Baker, Jim Howard; KY-AFS 1937
Sackett’s Harbor: Nineteenth-Century Dance Music From Western New York State; Sampler Records Cassette, 8809
Virgil Anderson …On the Tennessee Line: Old-Time Banjo from the Upper Cumberland; County 777
A. L. Hall and group on Close to Home: Old Time Music from Mike Seeger’s Collection, 1952-1967 SFW40097
These folks are improvising a variety of styles, a little too much lifting their feet in the air for my taste. But it shows the basic idea of the foot work. The tune is a hornpipe, not a schottische. Similar rhythm but the parts are too long.
Demonstrating the Barn Dance, which is the most common schottische form
A German schottische mixer