Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Nightingale Floor

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Nightingale Floor
32 Bar Reel For 5 Dancers In A Square Set, Devised By Frances Wallace, 2012.
Set numbered clockwise with the fifth dancer in the middle facing the first.

1 – 8 Dancers 5, 1 and 3 dance a reel of three; dancers 5 and 1 passing right shoulder.
Dancer 5 finishes in the middle facing out between dancers 1 and 4.
9 - 16 All dance crown triangles as follows:
 Dancers 5, 1 and 4 join nearer hands. All set; on second setting step dancer 5 moves in an anticlockwise direction;
 Dancers 5,4 and 3 repeat;
 Dancers 5, 3 and 2 repeat;
 Dancers 5, 2 and 1 repeat.
 Dancer 5 finishes facing dancer 4.
17 - 24 Dancers 5, 4 and 2 dance a reel of three; dancers 5 and 4 passing left shoulder.
Dancer 5 finishes facing dancer 1.
25 – 26 Dancers 5 and 1 change places giving right hand.
27 – 28 Dancers 1 and 3 change places giving left hand.
29 - 30 Dancers 3 and 4 change places giving left hand.
31 – 32 Dancers 4 and 2 change places giving right hand.

Repeat from new positions.

(Dance crib compiled from The Nightingale Floor video on YouTube)


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Instruction Videos

The Nightingale Floor - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

Devised by Frances Wallace and dedicated to Patsy and Ian Marks on their return from a Rotary trip to Japan, March 2012.

Suggested Music: 'Folksy Fivesome', from 'Dancers' Choice 2', played by Robert Whitehead and the Danelaw Band.

(Dance information from The Nightingale Floor video on YouTube)


Nightingale floors are floors that make a chirping sound when walked upon. These floors were used in the hallways of some temples and palaces, the most famous example being Nijō Castle, in Kyoto, Japan.

Dry boards naturally creak under pressure, but these floors were built in a way that the flooring nails rub against a jacket or clamp, causing chirping noises. Upside-down V-shaped joints move within the boards when pressure is applied.

It is unclear if the design was intentional. It seems that, at least initially, the effect arose by chance. An information sign in Nijō castle states that "The singing sound is not actually intentional, stemming rather from the movement of nails against clumps in the floor caused by wear and tear over the years".

Legend has it that the squeaking floors were used as a security device, assuring that none could sneak through the corridors undetected.

Nightingale Floor - Information Video

Nightingale Floor
The Secret Of The Squeaky Nightingale Floors Revealed - Nails


Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Nightingale Floor article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright Chris Gladis, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

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