American Square Dances of The West
& Southwest - online instruction book

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of the West and Southwest
21
names of the movements or figures to be danced are given, with the commands or "call" being presented so that each call is com­pleted just before the movement is to be executed, the last word or syllable of the call coming on the last note of the preceding measure. The Virginia Reel is an example of the prompt call, as are the other Longways or Contras of New England, the formal Quadrille and the Lancers. Prompt calling is in key with the music, in time, rhythm, and phrase.
The "patter" call is the type in which there is a word or syllablp on every beat of the music, with "fill-in" words between the actual commands and directions. These fill-ins should aug­ment the directions and have a relation to the figure under way, but often they are meaningless, and serve only to keep the beat and rhythm going. The fill-in is also a timing device, certain established phrases and jingles being used for certain movements, giving the proper time for the movement or figure. The patter call is monotone, but in key with the music, in time, rhythm, and phrase. It does not follow the melody line.
The "chanting" call is like the patter call, but the caller harmonizes around the melody instead of calling in a monotone. He does not follow the strict melody line, but stays with the major chord, harmonizing above and below the melody. Most "singing" callers do not sing, but chant You cannot stress or accent a word of command on a high note or on an ascending phrase.
The "singing" call is just that. The caller sings along with the melody line, in key, time, rhythm, and phrase. The true singing call is seldom heard. Any caller who has made a name for himself as a singing caller really "chants." He cannot afford to sing, as there would be no command or "drive" and "meat" in his calls. What we term a singing call or singing Quadrille is really a chanting call, done to a tune recognized as a song, with a distinct melody line, as against a chanting call done to one of the old fiddle or folk tunes with its flatter melody line. In the singing call the dance usually takes its name from the traditional