Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary


Scottish Country Dance Instruction

TAMBOURINE (R8x32) 3C (4C set) Lawrie Bowlen East Ivanhoe Book

1- 8 1s lead down the middle and back to 2nd place own side (2s step up 3-4)
9-161s dance ½ LSh reels of 3 across, passing 1st corners LSh;
1s dance ½ RSh reels of 3 on opposite sides (Man up, Lady down).1s end in 2nd place opposite sides, all dancing loops into place
17-24 1s dance ½ LSh reels of 3 across (Man up Lady down);
1s dance ½ RSh reels of 3 on own sides (Man down, Lady up). 2134
25-32 2s+1s+3s circle 6H round and back. 213

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

Lawrie Bowlen    East Ivanhoe Book
Reel   8 x 32 bars   3 Couple Repeat   4 Couple Set   Longwise Set

  1-4   Taking right hands, 1s lead down the middle;

  5-8   taking left hands, 1s lead up to 2nd place, finishing on own sides of the centre line, 1L facing up, 1M down;

  9-12 2M1L2L 3M1M3L half reels of three across, 1s giving left shoulders to first corners to start;

13-16 2L1L3L 2M1M3M half reels of three on the sides;

17-24 repeat bars 9-16 from new positions, finishing 2s1s3s;

25-32 2s1s3s 6 hands round and back.

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

Dance Notes

    -8   1M must finish ready to give left shoulder to first corner.

  9-24 In these half reels, 1s and the original second corners are travelling anticlockwise around the corners' square; the original first corners are travelling clockwise. The half reels are successively across, on the opposite side, across at the other end of the set and on own side.
The half reels must flow without a break: whenever they reach a second corners' position, 1s and the original second corners must make a complete loop around that position; whenever the original first corners reach a first corners' position, they must make a complete loop.
As an aide-mémoire over whether the loop at a corner should be open (i.e., only ¾ round) or closed (i.e., 1¼ round), this is determined by the direction of travel at the (geographical) midpoint of the half reel (i.e., when you are on the centre line in a reel across the set or in 2nd place in a reel on the sides); if you are going out of the set (as, for example, 1M and 1L at bar 9), it should be an open loop around the corner position; if you are going inwards (as, for example, 1M and 1L at bar 13), it should be a closed loop. Once you've got the first loop right, change to the other for the next corner and keep on alternating.

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

Tambourine - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

Tambourine is the original name for this dance, but it is also commonly known as The Tambourine Reel.


Mosaic depicting street musicians

The figures are playing musical instruments often connected with the cult of Cybele: the tambourine, small cymbals and the double flute. This mosaic, signed by Dioskourides of Samos, is one of the finest surviving works from the ancient Roman world. It was found in the so-called Villa of Cicero near the ancient city of Pompeii, Naples National Archaeological Museum.

Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Tambourine article on Wikimedia.
Image copyright Carole Raddato from Frankfurt, Germany [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

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