Cecil James Sharp was the founding father of the folk-song revival in England in the early 20th century. He gathered thousands of tunes both from rural England and the Southern Appalachians region of the United States, wrote an influential volume, English Folk Song: Some Conclusions, he revived the extinct tradition of English country dance, based on his study of surviving rural folk dances as well as written sources. Sharp promoted Morris dancing, in 1911 founded the English Folk Dance Society. Sharp was born in Camberwell, the eldest son of James Sharp and his wife, Jane née Bloyd, a music lover. Sharp was educated at Uppingham, but left at 15 and was coached for the University of Cambridge, where he rowed in the Clare College boat and graduated B. A. in 1882. Sharp decided to emigrate to Australia on his father's suggestion, he arrived in Adelaide in November 1882 and early in 1883 obtained a position as a clerk in the Commercial Bank of South Australia. He read some law, in April 1884 became associate to the Chief Justice, Sir Samuel James Way.
He held this position until 1889 when he gave his whole time to music. He had become assistant organist at St Peter's Cathedral soon after he arrived, had been conductor of the Government House Choral Society and the Cathedral Choral Society, he became conductor of the Adelaide Philharmonic, in 1889 entered into partnership with I. G. Reimann as joint director of the Adelaide College of Music, he was successful as a lecturer but about the middle of 1891 the partnership was dissolved. The school continued under Reimann, in 1898 developed into the Elder Conservatorium of Music in connexion with the university. Sharp had made many friends and an address with over 300 signatures asked him to continue his work at Adelaide, but he decided to return to England and arrived there in January 1892. During his stay in Adelaide he composed the music for an operetta Dimple's Lovers performed by the Adelaide Garrick Club at the Albert Hall on 9 September 1890, two light operas, produced at the Theatre Royal on 4 December 1890, The Jonquil.
The libretto in each case was written by Guy Boothby. Sharp wrote the music for some nursery rhymes which were sung by the Cathedral Choral Society. In 1892 Sharp returned to England and on 22 August 1893 at East Clevedon, Somerset, he married Constance Dorothea Birch a music lover, they had a son. In 1893 he was taken on as a music teacher by Ludgrove School, a preparatory school in North London. During his seventeen years in the post, he took on a number of other musical jobs. From 1896 Sharp was Principal of the Hampstead Conservatoire of Music, a half-time post which provided a house. In July 1905 he resigned from this post after a prolonged dispute about payment and his right to take on students for extra tuition, he had to leave the Principal's house, apart from his position at Ludgrove his income was henceforth derived from lecturing and publishing on folk music. Sharp composed music; because music pedagogy of his time originated from Germany and was based on tunes from German folk music, Sharp, as a music teacher, became interested in the vocal and instrumental folk music of the British Isles the tunes.
He felt that speakers of English ought to become acquainted with the patrimony of melodic expression that had grown up in the various regions there. He began collecting folk songs in 1903 when visiting his friend Charles Marson in Hambridge, South Somerset. Over 1,600 tunes or texts were collected from 350 singers, Sharp used these songs in his lectures and press campaign to urge the rescue of English folk song. Although Sharp collected songs from 15 other counties after 1907, the Somerset songs were the core of his experience and theories. Sharp became interested in traditional English dance when he saw a group of morris dancers with their concertina player William Kimber at the village of Headington Quarry, just outside Oxford, at Christmas 1899. At this time, morris dancing was extinct, the interest generated by Sharp's notations kept the tradition alive; the revival of the morris dances started when Mary Neal, the organiser of the Esperance Girls' Club in London, used Sharp's notations to teach the traditional dances to the club's members in 1905.
Their enthusiasm for the dances persuaded Sharp to publish his notations in the form of his Morris Books, starting in 1907. Between 1911 and 1913 Sharp published a three-volume work, The Sword Dances of Northern England, which described the obscure and near-extinct Rapper sword dance of Northumbria and Long Sword dance of Yorkshire; this led to the revival of both traditions in their home areas, elsewhere. Song books for teachers and pupilsAt a time when state-sponsored mass public schooling was in its infancy, Sharp published song books intended for use by teachers and children in the then-being-formulated music curriculum; these song books included arrangements of songs he had collected with piano accompaniment composed by Sharp himself, arrangements intended for choral singing. Although it has been alleged that, had they heard them, traditional singers might well have found Sharp's piano parts distracting, the arrangements with piano accompaniment did help Sharp in his goal of disseminating the sound of English folk melodies to children in schools
The cotillion is a social dance, popular in 18th-century Europe and America. For four couples in square formation, it was a courtly version of an English country dance, the forerunner of the quadrille and, in the United States, the square dance, it was for some fifty years regarded as an ideal finale to a ball but was eclipsed in the early 19th century by the quadrille. It became so elaborate that it was sometimes presented as a concert dance performed by trained and rehearsed dancers; the "German" cotillion included more couples as well as plays and games. The name cotillion appears to have been in use as a dance-name at the beginning of the 18th century but, though it was only identified as a sort of country dance, it is impossible to say of what it consisted at that early date; as we first encounter it, it consists of a main "figure" that varied from dance to dance and was interspersed with "changes" – a number of different figures that broke out of the square formation decided spontaneously by the leading couple or by a caller or "conductor".
Each of these was designed to fit a tune of eight or sixteen measures of 2/4 time. Participants exchanged partners within the formation network of the dance. "Changes" included the "Great Ring", a simple circle dance with which the dance began, as well as smaller Ladies' and Gentlemen's rings and bottom and sides rings, chains. Other changes included the allemande and moulinet. A complete dance composed of a prescribed order of these was called a "set"; the cotillion was introduced into England by 1766 and to America in about 1772. In England from that time onwards there are a large number of references stressing its universal popularity in the best and highest circles of society, many teaching manuals were published to help recall the vast number of changes that were invented. There is a reference in Robert Burns's 1790 poem Tam o' Shanter to the "cotillion brent-new frae France". Dancing masters differed as to the exact way of doing these dances: some, recognising the affair as an English country dance, taught that the steps and jumps of these were appropriate, while others insisted upon French elegance, recommending the basic step of the gavotte or the minuet.
In reality many participants walked through the figure and changes, seeing these as the dance and the exact steps as dispensable. On the other hand, some figures required high skill at social dancing and many performances took place at which the majority preferred to watch rather than dance; the quadrille gained fame a few years as a variety of cotillion that could be danced by only two couples. In London in 1786 Longman & Broderip's 6th book of Twenty Four New Cotillions brings together for the first time the most characteristic dance-figures of the quadrille. However, while the cotillion kept all the dancers in perpetual motion, the quadrille allowed rest to half of the participants while the other half danced. In the 1790s the cotillion was falling from favour, but it re-emerged in a new style in the early years of the next century, with fewer and fewer changes, making it distinguishable from the newly-emerging quadrille, introduced into English high society by Lady Jersey in 1816 and by 1820 had eclipsed the cotillion, though it was recognisably a similar dance as it began to be danced by four couples.
References to the English Cotillion dances persist here and there until the 1840s, but these were more games than fashionable dances, were danced to the waltz or the mazurka. In the United States, the opposite was true: quadrilles were termed cotillions until the 1840s, when it was realised that all the distinctive figures of the earlier dance had been taken up into the newer; the German cotillion was introduced to New York society at a costume ball with a Louis XV theme given by Mr. William Colford Schermerhorn in the early winter of 1854. Here, waltzes, fun and boisterous behaviour at private parties took on a more important role, only some figures of the earlier dances survived; the term cotillion was used to refer to the ball itself and the cotillion and quadrille became the square dance. Aldrich, Elizabeth. From the Ballroom to Hell. Northwestern University Press. ISBN 978-0-8101-0913-1
Science fiction convention
Science fiction conventions are gatherings of fans of the speculative fiction genre, science fiction. Science fiction conventions had focused on literature, but the purview of many extends to such other avenues of expression as films, comics and games; the format can vary but will tend to have a few similar features such as a guest of honour, discussion panels and large special events such as opening/closing ceremonies and some form of party or entertainment. Science fiction conventions started off in the UK and US but have now spread further and several countries have their own individual conventions as well as playing host to rotating international conventions; the precise time and place of the first science fiction convention is a matter of some dispute. Sometime in 1936, a group of British fans made plans to have an organized gathering, with a planned program of events in a public venue in early 1937. However, on October 22, 1936, a group of six or seven fans from New York City, including David Kyle and Frederik Pohl, traveled by train to Philadelphia, PA, for several hours they visited a similar number of local fans at the house of Milton A. Rothman.
They subsequently declared that event to be the first "science fiction convention." This small get-together set the stage for a follow-up event held in New York, in February, 1937, where "30 or 40" fans gathered at Bohemian Hall in Astoria, Queens. Attendees at this event included James Blish, Charles D. Hornig, Julius Schwartz, Willis Conover; this event came to be known as the "Second Eastern" and set the stage for the successful Third Eastern held in Philadelphia on October 30, 1937 and the subsequent Fourth Eastern held on May 29, 1938, which attracted over 100 attendees to a meeting hall in Newark, NJ and designated itself as "The First National Science Fiction Convention." It was at this event that a committee was named to arrange the first World Science Fiction Convention in New York in 1939. The "First National", which included the participation of a number of well-known New York editors and professionals from outside fan circles, was a milestone in the evolution of science-fiction conventions as a place for science-fiction professionals, as well as fans, to meet their colleagues in person.
On January 3, 1937, the British fans held their long-planned event at the Theosophical Hall in Leeds. Around twenty fans, including Eric Frank Russell and Arthur C. Clarke, attended. To this day, many fan historians those in the United Kingdom, contend that the Philadelphia meeting was a convention in name only, whereas other fan historians point out that many similar gatherings since have been called "conventions" without eliciting any disagreement. By 1939, American fans had organized sufficiently to hold, in conjunction with the 1939 World's Fair, the first "World Science Fiction Convention," in New York City. Subsequent conventions were held in Chicago in 1940 and Denver in 1941. Like many cultural events, it was suspended during World War II. Conventions resumed in 1946 with the hosting of the World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles, California; the first Worldcon held outside the United States was Torcon I in Toronto in 1948. Since the first conventions in the late 1930s, such as the first Worldcon, hundreds of local and regional science fiction conventions have sprung up around the world either as one-time or annual events.
At these conventions, fans of science fiction come together with the professional writers and filmmakers in the genre to discuss its many aspects. Some cities have a number of science-fiction conventions, as well as a number of special interest conventions for anime, media, or other related groups; some conventions move from city to city, serving region, or special interest. Nearly every weekend of the year now has at least one convention somewhere and some conventions are held on holiday weekends where four or more days can be devoted to events. Worldcon, or more formally The World Science Fiction Convention, is a science fiction convention, held each year since 1939, it is the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated body whose members are defined as "all people who have paid membership dues to the Committee of the current Worldcon". These members of WSFS vote both to select the site of the Worldcon two years in advance and to select the winners of the Hugo Awards, which are presented at the convention.
The rules for venue selection are deliberately drafted to ensure the convention occurs in a different city each year. Fantasy is considered alongside science fiction at conventions. Conventions that are nominally science-fiction conventions such as Worldcon, are fantasy conventions in all but name. World Fantasy Convention was begun in 1975, has since been held on an annual basis; the World Fantasy Convention, however, is less oriented toward the fan community, is a professional gathering. Many of those who attend "World Fantasy" attend Worldcon. However, this convention is more focused on authors and publishing, with a much higher proportion of authors in attendance.
Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate headquartered in San Jose, California, in the center of Silicon Valley. Cisco develops and sells networking hardware, telecommunications equipment and other high-technology services and products. Through its numerous acquired subsidiaries, such as OpenDNS, WebEx, Jabber and Jasper, Cisco specializes into specific tech markets, such as Internet of Things, domain security and energy management. Cisco stock was added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average on June 8, 2009, is included in the S&P 500 Index, the Russell 1000 Index, NASDAQ-100 Index and the Russell 1000 Growth Stock Index. Cisco Systems was founded in December 1984 by Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner, two Stanford University computer scientists, they pioneered the concept of a local area network being used to connect geographically disparate computers over a multiprotocol router system. By the time the company went public in 1990, Cisco had a market capitalization of $224 million.
By the end of the dot-com bubble in the year 2000, Cisco had a more than $500 billion market capitalization. Cisco Systems was founded in December 1984 by Sandy Lerner, a director of computer facilities for the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Lerner partnered with her husband, Leonard Bosack, in charge of the Stanford University computer science department's computers. Cisco's initial product has roots in Stanford University's campus technology. In the early 1980's students and staff at Stanford; the Blue Box used software, written at Stanford by research engineer William Yeager. In 1985, Bosack and Stanford employee Kirk Lougheed began a project to formally network Stanford's campus, they adapted Yeager's software into what became the foundation for Cisco IOS, despite Yeager's claims that he had been denied permission to sell the Blue Box commercially. On July 11, 1986, Bosack and Lougheed were forced to resign from Stanford and the university contemplated filing criminal complaints against Cisco and its founders for the theft of its software, hardware designs, other intellectual properties.
In 1987, Stanford licensed two computer boards to Cisco. In addition to Bosack, Lougheed, Greg Satz, Richard Troiano, completed the early Cisco team; the company's first CEO was Bill Graves, who held the position from 1987 to 1988. In 1988, John Morgridge was appointed CEO; the name "Cisco" was derived from the city name San Francisco, why the company's engineers insisted on using the lower case "cisco" in its early years. The logo is intended to depict the two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. On February 16, 1990, Cisco Systems went public with a market capitalization of $224 million, was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. On August 28, 1990, Lerner was fired. Upon hearing the news, her husband Bosack resigned in protest; the couple walked away from Cisco with $170 million, 70% of, committed to their own charity. Although Cisco was not the first company to develop and sell dedicated network nodes, it was one of the first to sell commercially successful routers supporting multiple network protocols.
Classical, CPU-based architecture of early Cisco devices coupled with flexibility of operating system IOS allowed for keeping up with evolving technology needs by means of frequent software upgrades. Some popular models of that time managed to stay in production for a decade unchanged; the company was quick to capture the emerging service provider environment, entering the SP market with product lines such as Cisco 7000 and Cisco 8500. Between 1992 and 1994, Cisco acquired several companies in Ethernet switching, such as Kalpana, Grand Junction and most notably, Mario Mazzola's Crescendo Communications, which together formed the Catalyst business unit. At the time, the company envisioned layer 3 routing and layer 2 switching as complementary functions of different intelligence and architecture—the former was slow and complex, the latter was fast but simple; this philosophy dominated the company's product lines throughout the 1990s. In 1995, John Morgridge was succeeded by John Chambers; the Internet Protocol became adopted in the mid-to-late 1990s.
Cisco introduced products ranging from modem access shelves to core GSR routers, making them a major player in the market. In late March 2000, at the height of the dot-com bubble, Cisco became the most valuable company in the world, with a market capitalization of more than $500 billion; as of July 2014, with a market cap of about US$129 billion, it was still one of the most valuable companies. The perceived complexity of programming routing functions in silicon led to the formation of several startups determined to find new ways to process IP and MPLS packets in hardware and blur boundaries between routing and switching. One of them, Juniper Networks, shipped their first product in 1999 and by 2000 chipped away about 30% from Cisco SP Market share. In response, Cisco developed homegrown ASICs and fast processing cards for GSR routers and Catalyst 6500 switches. In 2004, Cisco started migration to new high-end hardware CRS-1 and software architecture IOS-XR; as part of a rebranding campaign in 2006, Cisco Systems adopted the shortened name "Cisco" and created "The Human Network" advertising campaign.
These efforts were meant to make Cisco a "household" brand—a strategy designed to support the low-end Linksys products and future consumer products. On the more traditional business side, Cisco cont
Jane Austen was an English novelist known for her six major novels, which interpret and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen's plots explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security, her works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century literary realism. Her use of biting irony, along with her realism and social commentary, have long earned her acclaim among critics and popular audiences alike. With the publications of Sense and Sensibility and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma, she achieved success as a published writer, she wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, began another titled Sanditon, but died before its completion. She left behind three volumes of juvenile writings in manuscript, a short epistolary novel Lady Susan, another unfinished novel, The Watsons.
Her six full-length novels have been out of print, although they were published anonymously and brought her moderate success and little fame during her lifetime. A significant transition in her posthumous reputation occurred in 1833, when her novels were republished in Richard Bentley's Standard Novels series, illustrated by Ferdinand Pickering, sold as a set, they gained wider acclaim and popular readership. In 1869, fifty-two years after her death, her nephew's publication of A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced a compelling version of her writing career and uneventful life to an eager audience. Austen has inspired a large number of literary anthologies, her novels have inspired many films, from 1940's Pride and Prejudice to more recent productions like Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Pride & Prejudice, Love & Friendship. There is little biographical information about Jane Austen's life except the few letters that survive and the biographical notes her family members wrote. During her lifetime, Austen may have written as many as 3,000 letters.
Many of the letters were written to Austen's older sister Cassandra, who in 1843 burned the greater part of them and cut pieces out of those she kept. Ostensibly, Cassandra destroyed or censored her sister's letters to prevent their falling into the hands of relatives and ensuring that "younger nieces did not read any of Jane Austen's sometimes acid or forthright comments on neighbours or family members". Cassandra believed that in the interest of tact and Jane's penchant for forthrightness, these details should be destroyed; the paucity of record of Austen's life leaves modern biographers little with. The situation was compounded as successive generations of the family expunged and sanitised the opaque details of Austen's biography; the heirs of Jane's brother, Admiral Francis Austen, destroyed more letters. The legend the family and relatives created reflects their biases in favour of "good quiet Aunt Jane", portraying a woman whose domestic situation was happy and whose family was the mainstay of her life.
Austen scholar Jan Fergus explains that modern biographies tend to include details excised from the letters and family biographical materials, but that the challenge is to avoid the polarising view that Austen experienced periods of deep unhappiness and was "an embittered, disappointed woman trapped in a unpleasant family". Jane Austen was born in Steventon, Hampshire, on 16 December 1775, she was born a month than her parents expected. He added that her arrival was welcome as "a future companion to her sister"; the winter of 1776 was harsh and it was not until 5 April that she was baptised at the local church with the single name Jane. For much of Jane's life, her father, George Austen, served as the rector of the Anglican parishes at Steventon and at nearby Deane, he came from an old and wealthy family of wool merchants. Over the centuries as each generation of eldest sons received inheritances, their wealth was consolidated, George's branch of the family fell into poverty, he and his two sisters had to be taken in by relatives.
His sister Philadelphia went to India to find a husband and George entered St John's College, Oxford on a fellowship, where he most met Cassandra Leigh. She came from the prominent Leigh family, her eldest brother James inherited a fortune and large estate from his great-aunt Perrot, with the only condition that he change his name to Leigh-Perrot. George and Cassandra exchanged miniatures in 1763 and were engaged around that time. George received the living for the Steventon parish from the wealthy husband of his second cousin, Thomas Knight, who owned Steventon and its associated farms, one of which the Austen family rented to live in. Two months after Cassandra's father died, they married on 26 April 1764 at St Swithin's Church in Bath, by licence, in a simple ceremony, they left for Hampshire the same day. Their income was modest, with George's small per annum living.
Silicon Valley is a region in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California that serves as a global center for high technology and social media. It corresponds to the geographical Santa Clara Valley. San Jose is the Valley's largest city, the third largest in California, the tenth largest in the United States. Other major Silicon Valley cities include Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Sunnyvale; the San Jose Metropolitan Area has the third highest GDP per capita in the world, according to the Brookings Institution. The word "silicon" in the name referred to the large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers in the region, but the area is now home to many of the world's largest high-tech corporations, including the headquarters of 39 businesses in the Fortune 1000, thousands of startup companies. Silicon Valley accounts for one-third of all of the venture capital investment in the United States, which has helped it to become a leading hub and startup ecosystem for high-tech innovation and scientific development.
It was in the Valley that the silicon-based integrated circuit, the microprocessor, the microcomputer, among other technologies, were developed. As of 2013, the region employed about a quarter of a million information technology workers; as more high-tech companies were established across San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley, north towards the Bay Area's two other major cities, San Francisco and Oakland, the "Silicon Valley" has come to have two definitions: a geographic one, referring to Santa Clara County, a metonymical one, referring to all high-tech businesses in the Bay Area. The term is now used as a synecdoche for the American high-technology economic sector; the name became a global synonym for leading high-tech research and enterprises, thus inspired similar named locations, as well as research parks and technology centers with a comparable structure all around the world. The popularization of the name is credited to Don Hoefler, who first used it in the article "Silicon Valley USA", appearing in the January 11, 1971 issue of the weekly trade newspaper Electronic News.
The term gained widespread use in the early 1980s, at the time of the introduction of the IBM PC and numerous related hardware and software products to the consumer market. Silicon Valley was born through several contributing factors intersecting, including a skilled STEM research base housed in area universities, plentiful venture capital, steady U. S. Department of Defense spending. Stanford University leadership was important in the valley's early development. Together these elements formed the basis of its success. On August 23, 1899, the first ship-to-shore wireless telegraph message to be received in the US was from the San Francisco lightship outside the Golden Gate, signaling the return of the American fleet from the Philippines after their victory in the Spanish–American War; the ship had been outfitted with a wireless telegraph transmitter by a local newspaper, so that they could prepare a celebration on the return of the American sailors. Local historian Clyde Arbuckle states in Clyde Arbuckle's History of San Jose that "California first heard the click of a telegraph key on September 11, 1853.
It marked completion of an enterprise begun by a couple of San Francisco Merchants' Exchange members named George Sweeney and Theodore E. Baugh…" He says, "In 1849, the gentleman established a wigwag telegraph station a top a high hill overlooking Portsmouth Squares for signaling arriving ships… The operator at the first station caught these signals by telescope and relayed them to the Merchant's Exchange for the waiting business community." Arbuckle points to the historic significance the Merchants Exchange Building and Telegraph Hill, San Francisco when he goes on to say "The first station gave the name Telegraph to the hill on which it was located. It was known as the Inner Station. Both used their primitive mode of communication until Messrs. Sweeney and Baugh connected the Outer Station directly with the Merchants's Exchange by electric telegraph Wire." According to Arbuckle Sweeney and Baugh's line was an intra-city, San Francisco-based service. E. Allen and C. Burnham led the way to "build a line from San Francisco to Marysville via San Jose and Sacramento."
Delays to construction occurred until September 1853. The line was completed when Gamble's northbound crew met a similar crew working southward from Marysville on October 24." The Bay Area had long been a major site of United States Navy research and technology. In 1909, Charles Herrold started the first radio station in the United States with scheduled programming in San Jose; that year, Stanford University graduate Cyril Elwell purchased the U. S. patents for Poulsen arc radio transmission technology and founded the Federal Telegraph Corporation in Palo Alto. Over the next decade, the FTC created the world's first global radio communication system, signed a contract with the Navy in 1912. In 1933, Air Base Sunnyvale, was commissioned by the United States Government for use as a Naval Air Station to house the airship USS Macon in Hangar One; the station was renamed NAS Moffett Field, between 1933 and 1947, U. S. Navy blimps were based there. A number of technology firms had set up shop in the area around Moffett Field to serve the Navy.
When the Navy gave up its airship ambitions and moved most of its west coast
A country dance is any of a large number of social dances of a type that originated in the British Isles. It is the repeated execution of a predefined sequence of figures designed to fit a fixed length of music, performed by a group of people in couples, in one or more sets; the figures involve interaction with your partner and/or with other dancers with a progression so that you dance with everyone in your set. It is common in modern times to have a "caller" who teaches the dance and calls the figures as you dance. Country dances are done in many different styles; as a musical form written in 2/4 or 6/8 time, the contredanse was used by Mozart. Introduced to South America by French immigrants, Country Dance had great influence upon Latin American music as contradanza; the Anglais or Angloise is another term for the English country dance. A Scottish country dance may be termed an Ecossaise. Irish set dance is related. A set is a formation of dancers; the most common formations are longways for as many as will, i.e. couples in long lines, squares, consisting of four couples.
The longways formation occurs in over 12,000 modern contra dances. In 2003, Burleson's Square Dancer's Encyclopedia listed 5125 figures. Circles and fixed-length longways sets are very common, but the possible formations are limited only by the imagination of the choreographer. Thomas Wilson, in 1808, wrote, "A Country Dance is composed of an indefinite number of persons, not less than six, but as many more as chuse, but six are sufficient to perform any figure in the treatise." Wilson was writing about his own period. In fact, there are numerous dances for two couples, quite a few for three or five dancers. A figure is a pattern that the dancers trace along the floor, simple ones such as Circle Left are intuitive and can be danced with no prior knowledge, while complex moves such as Strip the willow need to be taught; the stepping and style of dancing varies by period. Wilson, in 1820, wrote, "Country Dance Figures are certain Movements or Directions formed in Circular, Half Circular, Angular, Straight Lines, etc. etc. drawn out into different Lengths, adapted to the various Strains of Country Dance Music.".
Again, the possible figures are limited only by the imagination of the choreographer. Examples of some of the figures are provided in the Glossary of country dance terms; the music most associated with country dancing is folk/country/traditional/historical music, however modern bands are experimenting with countless other genres. While some dances may have originated on village greens, the vast majority were, still are, written by Dancing Masters and choreographers; each dance consists of a series of figures smoothly linked together, designed to fit to the chosen music. The most common form of music is 32 bar jigs or reels, but any music suitable for dancing can be used. In most dances the dancers will progress to a new position so that the next time through the music they are dancing with different people. While English Folk Dance Clubs embrace all types of country dance, American English Country Dance groups tend to exclude modern contra dances and square dances. Country dancing is intended for general participation, unlike folk dances such as clogging, which are concert dances, ballroom dances in which dancers dance with their partners independently of others.
Bright and simple, country dances had appeal as a refreshing finale to an evening of stately dances such as the minuet. The term contra dance is just another name for a country dance. Howe, in 1858, wrote, "The term "Country Dance" is the one invariably used in all books on dancing that have been published in England during the last three centuries, while all works issued in France within the same period employ the term Contra Dance, or in French "Contre Danse"; as the authority is good in both cases, either term is therefore correct. The Country or Contra Dance has been one of the most popular amusements in the British Isles and other continental countries from time immemorial". However, "contra dance" is most used today to refer to a specific American genre called contra dance. Country dances began to influence courtly dance in the 15th century and became popular at the court of Elizabeth I of England. Many references to country dancing and titles shared with known 17th-century dances appear from this time, though few of these can be shown to refer to English country dance.
While some early features resemble the morris dance and other early styles, the influence of the courtly dances of Continental Europe those of Renaissance Italy, may be seen, it is probable that English country dance was affected by these at an early date. Little is known of these dances before the mid-17th century. John Playford's The English Dancing Master listed over a hundred tunes, each with its own figures; this was enormously popular, reprinted for 80 years and much enlarged. Playford and his successors had a practical monopoly on the publication of dance manuals until 1711, ceased publishing around 1728. During this period English country dances took a variety of forms including finite sets for two and four couples as well as circles and squares; the country dance was introduced to the court of Louis XIV of France, where it became known as contredanse, to Germany and Italy. André Lorin, who visited the English court in the late 17th century, presented a manuscript of dances in the English manner to Louis XIV on his return to France