Folk dance music with improvisations

Gärdeby Gånglåt (Gerdeby Walking Tune)

Niels Mejlhede Jensen, Bøgeløvsvej 4, 2830 Virum, Denmark. e-mail (web master)

Old tune used for folk dancing in Denmark 1999 arranged with improvisations

Link to index to other dances.

CONTENTS: (remember: you can use Ctrl Home in usual browsers to get to the top of this page, to the links here)

Walking a gånglåt

Photo of this week: Gärdeby gånglåt (= the dance of this week) is "walked" calmly in a big circle around the musicians in the middle of the ballroom. We are at the Technical University of Denmark with "Spillemandsdansen" ("Fiddlers' Dance") playing and dancing every tuesday night, as open house, now for 20 years. Nobody pays, nobody is paid. The band has here about 20 musicians, that "came by" this evening, without previous band rehearsal. I am the leader and fore player here, the person that nobody seems to observe, as the photo shows. This could be explained by how well known this gånglåt melody is. We musicians want to be a part of the dance so we stand in the middle. Very few of the participants are from the Technical University itself. The photo is taken by an automatic camera that photographed at time intervals that evening.

A little story:

I plan to place a dance from my music book *117* here on this home page, maybe once a week. This is the 4' dance.

20-25 years ago merrily folk dancing came into being again after a period of decline for one or more generations. Unconventional young people in Copenhagen and town, with no direct heritage for folk dance, took the lead, and started to dance and play the old simple music on their own conditions. A slightly less conventional type of folk dancing suddenly flourished all over, including the new dance: the gånglåt. The initiative was ventured even to start this type of folk dancing at the "cold" Technical University out north of Copenhagen in the middle of the more established communities. The provocative experiment became a success and soon we were one of the bigger get togethers of this type. Despite a general decline in interest at other places the last 10 years, we have had only a moderate decline in numbers. The age distribution has changed more than 20 years: from many in their twenties 20 years ago to now many in their sixties. Our 4 children were at first enthusiastic and loved to walk the gånglåt at pre-school age, but some years later they feared to be mobbed at school. Folk dancing is not a trend among the young to day, as it was not in 1960. This may turn again.
Gärdeby village Gärdeby, a lovely Swedish village at the Siljan Lake. 
The  gånglåt tune from here has been played and "walked" many times a year in Denmark for the last 25 years. The way we walk it in Denmark is now beginning to be tried also some places in Sweden. 
Gärdeby has named a road after the popular melody.

Dance of the week, 1999, January 25:

Gärdeby gånglåt. 

(English: "Gerdeby Walking Tune").
Dance of many couples, a mixer.
Music from Sweden, dance from west of Sweden: Scottish inspiration modulated and adapted to Norwegian and specially Danish use this half of this century. (So it is not a "true" folk dance according to the Danish age criteria of: prior to 1860).
The dance is much slower than the Scottish originator and the American equivalent (All American Promenade).

The melody can be heard in midi on computer piano in my tempo (if you have a sound card). (The melody will loop here until you stop it. In the table below it will play once). (I have not played the tunes here with the "drive" I want for dance music).

Music description:

The music notes are written as a score of 12 staves on one A3 page = two A4 pages side by side (= an open A4 book).
Place the two note sheets side by side. Then staff 1 (= melody) on the left page continues as staff 1 on the right page.
The 12 staves:
1 melody the traditional good dancing melody, polished through generations of use on the fiddle
. chord
Midi metronome = 80  simple (folk music) chords, natural for playing the accordion;
these chords are used to make the other parts or voices in triad harmony;
there should be no tension from dissonance anywhere including in octavo
2 A (Above), parallel part nearest above in third or little more above
3 B (Below), parallel part nearest below in third or little more below
4 ns simple n part; often with the tonic feeling and often with the basic dance rhythm ("motor part"); n is a less constricted part, and tones from the melody are freely included
5 C1 C parts are made from A and B parts, and so they are two parts to the melody
6 C2 C2 is less simple than C1
7 mod = 
contra part
voice up and down (mostly) contra to the melody; it is also made from A and B
8 C1 C1 in octavo
9 As simplified A
10 Bs simplified B
11 mels simplified melody
12 blank . blank staff for making your own part according to the principles here
Try also to listen to: Midi music arrangement for this dance music (new page, in a new window, with this window behind)

(The midi music is not repeated, except for 1' and 2' voltas).
Use also octavo, up and down.
Where wanted, notes can be changed according to the principles (use a colour pencil), e.g. to improve the B part  with some notes from A.
The music is aimed at dancing, so part of the orchestra can be the underlying "motor" when another instrument group is playing its "solo" part (improvisation) as one of the many repetitions.
The double bass may play its usual notes, because of its low pitch.

It is better to choose a more simple part and play it well.
Because the fast melody for beginners can be of a challenge to play with good dancing rhythm I have included a simplified melody that can be played instead.

Accordion: beats per bar: 2+2

Music scores:

Each score consists of 2 pages: page left and page right. They are given on separate pages with links on the top of this page (use Ctrl Home to go to the top). The links are repeated here:
(c1, c2), (a1, a2), (b1, b2), (e1, e2), (f1, f2), (bass1, bass2)
When you click a link the music note sheet will (should) open as a new page on top of this main page, so that you can easily return to this main page. And you can easily open 2 windows of note pages to have both the left and right page in smaller windows, the right below the left.

(Help coming back from that note sheet: CLICK note sheet to come back to this page, or just close note window.
Remember: the note sheet opens in a new separate window, and that may cover the whole screen. The back button in the tools bar does probably not work because the window is new, with no history. All you see on the page are notes because I have placed no link back here for not disturbing easy submitting to the printer. Close the note window with a click at the top or with Alt F4, or minimize or reduce the window, or ..., and you are back to the main page that was there behind all the time).

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