Taking Liberties


While restoring 78rpm records, I came upon this record which includes the tune "Liberty". I assumed this would be the well known tune of this name that is used for contra dances. Instead, it is a beautiful recording of a tune published by Preston in 1786 for a triple minor dance. The recording is only 3x32 bars which is too short for a triple minor dance. Simple conversion of the dance from triple minor to a three couple longways yields a dance that was not very interesting without the continual progression to meet new people that occurs in a triple minor.

I therefore made rather more drastic changes, and altered the name appropriately.


Dancing "Taking Liberties" at Bedford Tuesday Playford

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3 couple longways set with 2nd couple improper.



A score can be found at abcnotation, which is based on work by John Lagden.


A1 1‑41st lady leads her line of three (W1, M2, W3), without taking hands, up and casts left to go down behind the other line.
The other three (M1, W2, M3) turn round individually to face them;
5‑6set right & left,
7‑8two hand turn this person half way.
A2 1‑41st man leads his line of three up and casts right to go down behind the other three who turn round to face them;
5‑6set right & left to partner,
7‑8two hand turn partner half way.
B1 1‑4All back-to-back partner;
5‑8Couple at top (3rd couple) lead to bottom of set, while
1st couple (at bottom of set) cast up.
All are in original places.
B2 1‑4Top two couples (1st & 2nd couples) two changes of a square hey giving hands;
5‑8bottom two couples (1st & 3rd couples) two changes of a square hey giving hands.
Repeat twice more