Step Gently


Dancing Step Gently to the tune "Lady Gethin"
played by the Fine Companions Club Band

I came across the music "Lady Gethin" by the 17th-18th century Irish harpist Turlough Carolan and expected to find that a dance had been composed to match this wonderful tune. I could not find one. It is not mentioned in the 2003 collection "The Blind Harper Dances - Modern English Country dances set to airs by Turlough O'Carolan" edited by Allison Thompson. I therefore composed this dance.


3 couples in the form of a square set with the 1st couple missing, so there is one head couple facing up and two side couples.

"Lady Gethin" played by
the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra


Dance to "Lady Gethin" by Turlough Carolan. 3×32 bars (3×AABB) + 16 bars (either CC or AB).

This should be played at a gentle pace, for example 86 beats per minute.

There is an excellent recording by the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra on their CD "21st Anniversary Concert" (see right lower). The track can be bought from Amazon. This recording is 4 + 3×AABB + CC. The very final note of the recording is not needed for the dance, deteriorates into applause, and dancers rarely know how to use it up! The other unfortunate aspect of this track is that it is not being played on a harp.

Here is an alternative track which does feature a harp. It is 2 + 3×AABB + AB, and so has only a 2 bar introduction.

A score can be found at abcnotation.


Intro 1‑4Face partner, step to right and honour, step to left and honour (optional).
A1 1‑4All lead forward towards centre of set with partner, turn individually and lead out, pause;
5‑8 lead further out, turn individually, lead in to place.
A2 1‑8Head couple lead up through the set, separate, cast back to below bottom place and lead in to place.
As soon as head couple have gone through set, sides pass opposite person by right, face partner for half left hand turn; sides repeat movement to places.
B1 1‑4Ladies star right once round picking up next man's right hand in their left hand as they pass him to star promenade to place where lady started the star;
5‑8¾ turn out of star as a couple with man backing up.
B2 1‑4Men star left once round picking up next lady's left hand in their right hand as they pass her to star promenade to place where man started the star (which is not where he started the dance);
5‑8¾ turn out of star as a couple with lady backing up.
Ladies have progressed one place clockwise, men one place anti-clockwise.
2A1Into-line siding right shoulder to right shoulder with current partner; into-line siding left shoulders.
A2,B1,B2As above from current positions.
3A1Arm right with current partner; arm left.
A2,B1,B2As above, to finish in original places.
Once at end of the dance
C1 (or A)Circle of six to left; back to right breaking circle at top as come back so end lady can lead out to a line of six facing up.
C2 (or B)Line of six leads up, falls back; lead up again, step to right and honour the presence.


Graham Foster, June 2013