Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Wee Cooper o' Fife

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

THE WEE COOPER O' FIFE (J8x40 in 10 bar phrases) 2C (4C set) Hugh Foss Dances to Song Tunes

1-10 1s set and cross RH, set and cross down LH and cast up round 2s to original place
11-20 1s+2s dance R&L 1¼ times (ie 5 moves)
21-30 1s+2s set and dance ½ RH across, set and dance ½ LH across, 1L+2M continue turning LH to face partner as 1M and 2L cast into...
31-40 1s+2s dance full reel of 4 across dance passing partners RSh and dance back to own side (1s in 2nd place)

(MINICRIB, Dance Crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)


The Wee Cooper o' Fife
Hugh Foss   Dances to Song tunes
Jig   8 x 40 bars   2 Couple Repeat   4 Couple Set   Lengthwise Set
10 bar phrases.

  1-6   1s set, cross and set;

  7-10 1s cross down into half figures of 8 around 2s;

11-18 1s2s rights and lefts;

19-20 1s2s cross by the right;

21-22 1s2s set on the sides;

23-24 1s2s right hands across halfway;

25-26 1s2s set on the sides;

27-28 1s2s left hands across halfway;

29-30 1L2M retain hold and turn by the left halfway WHILE 2L (from 2M's position) cast up WHILE 1M (from 1L's position) cast down;

31-38 1s2s reel of 4 across (right shoulder to partners);

39-40 1M 2L dance across to own sides WHILE 1L cast down WHILE 2M cast up, finishing with 1s in 2nd place.

(MAXICRIB, Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)


Dance Notes

10 bar phrases: and so two extra bars to complete each phrase; don't panic on the 7th bar.

    -18 No polite turn.

19-20 Follow smoothly from the rights and lefts.

    -20 All in partners' places.

    -28 At the end of the left hands across halfway, 1L and 2M retain hold; their partners release hold and cast.

31-38 Note that the axis of this reel is across the set on a line halfway between 1st and 2nd places, not diagonally.

    -38 Complete the reel of 4, i.e., get back to where you were at bar 30.

39-40 2 bars to finish on own sides, 1s below 2s.


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Instruction Videos

The Wee Cooper o' Fife - YouTube Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

"Wee Cooper o' Fife" is a well-known Scottish folk song about a cooper who beats his wife because she will not cook, clean, and sew.

It was recorded by Burl Ives on 11 February 1941 for his debut album Okeh Presents the Wayfaring Stranger. It has also been recorded by Hedy West, Ed McCurdy, and Ian Campbell.

Traditionally, a cooper is someone who makes wooden barrels.

The Wee Cooper o' Fife At Work Image
A Cooper At Work


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