Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hopscotch Schottische

While I was working on my set of Summer Games for Two Violins, I was at a loss with what to do about Hopscotch, one of the two-player games I really wanted to include. I happened to listen to a (fabulous) recording of Tainwa Yang playing Sarasate's Muiñiera, which begins with the violin playing a Scottish-sounding G-string drone and a Scottish-sounding tune in double stops (you can see the music here), and thought immediately of using a Schottische, a dance in 2/4 meter for the piece. I thought, as I imagine you think, that a Schottische might have its origins in Scotland, but it actually comes from Bohemia. There is a Scottish version of the Schottische, but it's just one of the many versions of the dance used in any number of partner-dancing cultures in Europe. The etymology is fascinating.

There is no listing for "Schottische" in the Petrucci Library, but there is one for Écossaise. I found a perfectly usable set by Schubert which I found almost eerily appropriate. When I looked up the etymology of the word "Hopscotch," and found that the two words "hop" and "skoč" are Czech words that mean "hop" and "jump," I understood why the music was so appropriate.

I suppose that the two entities, Hopscotch and the Schottische, may indeed be related. I was thrilled to find that I am not the only musician to have made the connection. This recording is from 1909. I wish I could hear it!

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