Location: TB Homepage > Tunes and dances

Tunes and dances

The Serpent with Corners, Doctor Bending's Serpent, The Eastbourne Rover and Bending Time
The Pondskater and Ben's Confusion
Melanie's Maggot
Wild Boy

I'm happy and keen for you to play these tunes and give copies of them to friends, or enemies for that matter. If you want to distribute them for profit or record them then please contact me and we can discuss it.

What are ABC, TeX and PDF?


The Serpent with Corners

TB, October 1999

This was intended as a rapper-style jig, but it didn't quite turn out that way. It was recorded by Momentum, with TB playing recorder, on their Interesting Times album released in July 2007.

An oblong garden, half a yard longer than wide, consists entirely of a gravel-walk, spirally arranged, a yard wide and 3,630 yards long ... like a serpent with corners.
Lewis Carroll, A Tangled Tale: Knot IX, 1880

Tune available as standard or hi-TeX ABC, PDF, GIF, MIDI or MP3 (478KB). Three-part version available as MIDI or MP3 (478KB).

Doctor Bending's Serpent

Sharon Green, 2009

Sharon Green heard Momentum's recording of The Serpent with Corners on Interesting Times, and was inspired to write this dance to go with it. In 2014 she included it in her collection Dances from The Greenery, with a new recording performed by Jon Berger, Jonathan Jensen, Shira Kammen and Rebecca King, and it was danced at the launch party in Dec 2014. It was also danced in Gainesville (Florida USA) in Oct 2015. The notes and music are also available on her website.

3 couple longways.

A11 - 4 Partners set right and left, change places turning single right (end facing out).
5 - 8 Lines of 3 lead away, and fall back (all face in).
A21 - 8That again.
B11 - 4 1s and 2s half-poussette (clockwise) to change places.
5 - 8 1s and 3s half-poussette (anticlockwise) so order now 2-3-1.
B21 - 8 Circle 6 left and right (slipping).

The Eastbourne Rover

Kevin Prigmore

Kevin Prigmore wrote this dance to go with The Serpent with Corners, and played for it at Eastbourne International Folkdance Festival 2015. It was also danced in Bedford in Oct 2012, Gainsville (Florida USA) in Feb 2017, Seattle (Washington USA) in Aug 2017 and Germantown (Pennsylvania USA) in Oct 2017.

3 couple longways.

A11 - 8 1st woman crosses the set above her partner, casts down, crosses back across the bottom of the set and up on her own side, while
2nd woman waits 2 bars, then crosses the set above her partner and follows the 1st woman, while
3rd woman waits 4 bars, then crosses the set above her partner and follows the other two. All end in original places.
A21 - 8The three men do likewise.
B11 - 4 1s and 2s circle left, then
5 - 8 Half-poussette (clockwise) to change places.
B21 - 4 1s and 3s circle right, then
5 - 8 Half-poussette (anticlockwise) to change places.

Bending Time

Ali Ellacott, 2006

Ali Ellacott kindly dedicated this tune to Rachel and me. It didn't quite make it onto Interesting Times, but we now play it as a set followed by The Serpent with Corners.

Tune available as standard or hi-TeX ABC, PDF or GIF.


The Pondskater

TB, February 2001

This was commissioned for the dance Ben's Confusion. In April 2002 it was published in All Join Hands, and recorded for the accompanying CD.

Tune available as standard or hi-TeX ABC, PDF, GIF, MIDI or MP3 (577KB). Three-part version available as MIDI or MP3 (579KB).

ABC2Win sometimes seems to have trouble with metre-changes in mid-tune. I don't use it so I haven't explored this very thoroughly, but as a workaround for this tune try changing the first "M:4/4" to "M:C" and doubling the next barline.

Ben's Confusion

Cyril Papworth, 1993

Cyril Papworth wrote this farewell dance for Ben Bolker when he returned to the United States. Ben enjoyed English dancing at The Round in Cambridge but also taught the group contras, hence the Confusion. It's part 6/8 Playfordish and part 4/4 Americanish, to the tune The Pondskater.

Longways duple minor.

Playford Style
A11 - 4 1st couple set to each other, cross over right shoulder to change places.
5 - 8 1st and 2nd couples half poussette to change places, men pull then push.
A21 - 4 2nd couple set to each other and turn single.
5 - 8 1st and 2nd couples half poussette to change places, men push then pull.
American Style
B11 - 8 Neighbours face along the line, balance left and right, pass through and swing with the next person you meet, finish facing across, woman on right of man.
B21 - 4 1st and 2nd couples half promenade across the set.
5 - 8 2nd couple half figure 8 up through 1st couple. All now proper ready to start again.

Partners change places with each other at the ends when neutral. Suggestion: When becoming neutral, wait (proper at top, improper at bottom) then join in at next B1 to balance with partner and change places, then swing along the line.


Melanie's Maggot

Bob Lilley, 2007

Bob Lilley wrote this dance to celebrate a friend's 18th birthday, and found it worked well to Momentum's recording of Michael Turner's Waltz on Interesting Times. The music's available here.

3 couple longways.

A1 1st couple Dolphin Hey with the other two men (man in the lead going down, lady coming up).
A2 1st couple Dolphin Hey with the other two ladies (lady leads going down). Finish in original places.
B1 "18": 1st couple lead down to bottom. 3rd couple face down as they get there, then gatepost them up to middle place (2s move up). 1st couple cross as 2nd couple turn down and face out. 2s gatepost 1s to top (all now in original positions except 1s improper).
B2 "Key of the Door": 1st couple lead down through an arch made by 2s (who move up), 2 hand turn halfway, lead up through the arch again, cast to bottom (3s move up).
For Melanie Doyle.

Wild Boy

Robert Moir, April 2008

Robert Moir heard Momentum's recording of Wild Boy on Interesting Times, and was inspired to write this dance to go with it. The music's available here.

Longways duple minor.

A11 - 8 Double figure of eight (all face up, first couple cast, second couple cross up to begin) slowing down to face partners at the end.
A21 - 4 First couple cross right shoulder and face partner, then second couple do the same, and flow into...
5 - 8 Right-hand star (end with first couple close together with hands joined, second couple slightly apart).
B11 - 4 First couple chassée two sidesteps down while second couple chassée two sidesteps up the outside, and cloverleaf turn single (end with second couple close together with hands joined, first couple slightly apart).
5 - 8 Second couple chassée down while first couple chassée up the outside, and cloverleaf turn to finish facing neighbour.
B21 - 4 Neighbours left-hand turn halfway to face partners, partners right-hand turn halfway, release hands and face partners.
5 - 8 Partners two-hand turn.

This page is maintained by Thomas Bending, and was last modified on 26 October 2017.
Comments, criticisms and suggestions are welcome. Copyright © Thomas Bending 2017.