What makes a Rant a Rant?

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What makes a Rant a Rant?

Postby Tim Rolls » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:02 pm

Unencumbered as I am by knowledge, experience or understanding of dance steps, I have asked this question. I am led to believe that the emphasis should be on the third beat of the bar as this mirrors a larger/more emphatic step in the dance.

I had a look at Thomas Moody's The Mid-Northumbrian Dialect to see if there's any guidance linguistically. No definite help. We have:

Rantan, Rantaan. Used in the phrase "on the rantan", indulging one's self in disorderly and wild conduct as a form of high spirited enjoyment: a milder form of "on the rampaadge"(sic), "on the spree", e.g. He's gyen on the rantan, i.e. his frolic can be sympathetically excused.

Ranter
1. A term applied in contemptuous disparagement to the more zealous members of the Methodist Church - particularly of the Primitive Methodist body - who were given to ardent impromptu prayers, lusty singing of hymns and loud ejaculations of Pious praise during their religious services. Thus: "Aa've left the Chorch (Anglican) an' aa've joined the Ranters.Note, the Primitive Methodist Church originated in 1807-1810 and the term Ranter was first used in 1814.
2. By transference, applied to hymns sung in the Primitive Methodist and United Methodist Churches, or in the Salvation Army. These hymns, nowadays sadly out of favour, were characterised by rollicking tunes, half line refrains (sung by alternate parts) and rather crude sentiment; but they were enjoyable to sing and were rendered both lustily and fervently: e.g. "Ay, that's a gud aad Rantor that hymn"

So can anyone fill in the gap between the hymns and the dance? Or any of the rollicking tunes?
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Re: What makes a Rant a Rant?

Postby Anthony Robb » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:17 am

Hello Tim, The bods at the OED suggest that 'rant' is derived from 'courant' - a gliding (as opposed to leaping) type of dance which came to England (presumably from France) in the late 16th century. The very accomplished older dancers in Northumberland didn't stomp the steps as is commonly done eslewhere in England.
They performed a shortish low altitude glide just after beat 4 and landed on beat 1 of the next bar. My mental impression of this wonderful style of the dance (as done by the likes of Willy & Nancy Taylor, Margaret Dickson and her brother John Hall) is rather like a pebble skimming across a pond. At times when space was very limited this became pulses almost on the spot but a 100 people landing even without a stomp would often oscillate the floor quite alarmingly!
Inevitably the hugely experienced dancers of the past are no longer dancing and the style seems to be becoming more and more stompy. I think this is the traditional process doing what is has always done; evolving to reflect the tastes of the times.
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Re: What makes a Rant a Rant?

Postby OldTomsRant » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:41 am

I'd agree that one needs to glide in these dances, rather than stomp. Most of the dances, e.g. the Morpeth Rant, La Russe, the Triumph involve covering considerable distances at speed. Stomping doesn't allow for this, and is actually quite exhausting - if it hurts your calves, you're doing it wrong! Good Northumbrian musicians will help the dancers along by performing the tunes smoothly with tasteful lilt: listen to the old recording of the Barnstormers playing the Corn Rigs. I fear stomping is the product of English folk festivals, where people in clogs and hand-knitted sweaters put down their tankards and boogie-on-down to bands with two melodeons and a large brass section.
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Re: What makes a Rant a Rant?

Postby adrian » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:31 am

The Barnstormers playing accuracate for dancing was limited by the players themselves and by the dancers. This is old hat. What about teenagers dancing, with their torso uncovered-legally, of course?
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Re: What makes a Rant a Rant?

Postby Barry Say » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:36 pm

For a definition of the word rant, I prefer the Scots version

The Online Scots Dictionary gives:

rant [rant]
v. To romp, sing a tune, fuss, complain.
n. A romp or boisterous frolic. A lively tune or song. A din, tumult, great noise. A severe scolding, a row.
pl. rants Merry meetings.

rantin ['rantɪn]
adj. Joyous, free.
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Re: What makes a Rant a Rant?

Postby adrian » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:11 am

Barry Say wrote:For a definition of the word rant, I prefer the Scots version

The Online Scots Dictionary gives:

rant [rant]
v. To romp, sing a tune, fuss, complain.
n. A romp or boisterous frolic. A lively tune or song. A din, tumult, great noise. A severe scolding, a row.
pl. rants Merry meetings.

rantin ['rantɪn]
adj. Joyous, free.

is that 'Scots' or should it be Scotch?
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Re: What makes a Rant a Rant?

Postby Barry Say » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:48 am

Emphatically Scots. Scots is the language of the Scots, who as every one knows, came from Ireland and invaded the land of the Picts (the painted people). Somewhat later the Norsemen came on viking raids and stayed, in much the same way as they did in Normandy. The Normans came through England and some of them passed North of the Border and held lands in both countries which led to much confusion

As a child, I was taught that the people of Scotland were Scottish and Scotch referred to whisky.
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Re: What makes a Rant a Rant?

Postby John Gibbons » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:36 am

In the context of
'A romp or boisterous frolic. A lively tune or song. A din, tumult, great noise. A severe scolding, a row.'
Scotch seems entirely likely.....
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