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Notation Explained
'bang' Setup Notation
Rich Reel   21 Sep 2000

    Preliminary Rough Draft    

I've been using Bill Davis' FASR setup notation on this website for some time.  While I've found this well established FASR system to be concise and relatively comprehensive (for standard arrangement in common formations only), I haven't found it to be all that intuitive.  Furthermore, the relationship information from one setup does not appear to "carry over" very well to other setups when I use simple modules to convert from one formation to another.  I am beginning work on a promising new notation system that appears to be achieving these and some other goals...

Goals for setup notation


Introducing 'bang' notation

Bang comes from the 4 letters used by the bang notation system to denote sequenceb a n g.  These letters stand for "boys", "all", "none", and "girls" and answer the question "Who is in sequence?".  Here they are defined in an order that makes sense for their meaning...

'bang' Sequence - answers the question:  Who is in sequence?

Who is in sequence?    Girls    Boys    Alternate memory mnemonic
 a   -  all are in sequence in in
 n   -  no one is in sequence out out ("no", "none")
 g   -  girls are in sequence in out ("good" - in order)
 b   -  boys are in sequence out in ("bad" - out of order)

Bang notation is the same as Bill Davis' FASR system except for sequence and relationship.  Bang notation uses exactly the same numbers for Arrangement and letters for formation as the Bill Davis notation.  For sequence, bang notation uses letters (a n g b) instead of numbers (1 2 3 4).  Relationship on the other hand is completely different.  Not only are the symbols different (tick marks), but relationship is defined in a whole new way. 

'bang' Relationship - answers the question:  How far past "partners lined up"?

Mark    Ticks    Meaning
  none (0) original partners are all in same quadrant (easiest patern to recognize)
 '  one (1) partners advanced one quadrant (usually convenient for AL)
 ''  two (2) partners advanced two quadrants (most un-paired - no one is near their partner)
 '''  three (3) partners advanced three quadrants (one more to be with partner)
  four (4) partners advanced four quadrants and are back in same quadrant again

I'm finding relationship difficult to describe in words.  I've been working on a clear and concise definition but don't have it yet.  In the mean time, I'll provide a rough (crude!) explanation here to give you some vauge idea of where I'm trying to go...

In waves, one 'tick' is equivalent to one Circulate for either the ends or the centers.  If you are careful, you can also count a 'tick' as one half (1/2) of an All 8 Circulate for everyone.  In [B] and [T] Formations, one 'tick' is similar to a PasTh, or Trade By (as appropriate).  This is the same as one hand of an Eight Chain Thru.  Technically though, calling Pass Thru from [B] does not change the sequnce (i.e. does not change the number of 'ticks') because every one is still in the same quadrant they were in before the Pass Thru.  However, for the purpose of resolving the square, it is convenient to think of Pass Thru from [B] as adding a single 'tick' because each time you get to no 'ticks', all in sequence, and sashayed arrangement, you may call Right And Left Grand.  Similarly, if you get to one 'tick', all in sequence, and standard arrangement, you may call Allemande Left (assuming facing couples and left hand free, etc.).

I am very sorry this is only a cursory explanation.  I do hope to have a much better explaination very soon.  If you have questions or comments that just can't wait, please feel free to contact me.  I would be more than happy to discuss this with you in detail.

Bang notation appears in brackets [   ] on this web site, and for a while, will be colored green.   This notation has 4 parts that always appear in this specific order: Arrangement Formation Sequence Relationship....

Formation             Relationship
      v   v    
  [ 0 B a ' ]  
    ^   ^      
Arrangement             Sequence

These are the same elements in the same order as the Bill Davis FASR notation.

Example:   [0Ba']
  Arrangement  0   Normal/Standard  
  Formation  B   Box / Eight Chain Thru Formation  
  Sequence  a   All in sequence   (Boys IN, Girls IN)  
  Relationship  '   1 step passed where all dancers are in the same quadrant as their partner

When any part of the notation is missing, it usually indicates that these aspects are not relevant.

Example: [B] --- Facing Lines, any arrangement.  Sequence and relationship not relevant

One very important exception is when sequence is specified and relationship is missing.  This is the "no ticks" case - relationship specifying that all dancers are in the same quadrant of the setup as their partner.

When arrangement is missing but sequence is present, this specifically indicates 0 (standard) arrangement.

Example: [Ba'] - Box / 8 Chain Thru, standard arrangement, in sequence, one step passed partner

Therefore: [Ba'] implies [0Ba']


Compare Notation Systems

First memorize these dancers squared up at home.  Notice their color and the corner relationship.



Here is the common [ZL] "ZERO LINE" "1P2P LINE" setup - standard arrangement Facing Lines, everyone paired with their partner, all in sequence.


Bill Davis notation:  [L1p]
Bang notation:  [La]


Here is the common [ZB] "ZERO BOX" "AL BOX" setup - standard arrangement Eight Chain Thru formation, everyone facing their corner ready to do an Allemande Left.


Bill Davis notation:  [B1c]
Bang notation:  [Ba']


Below are all 16 of the possible setups for common formations with standard arrangement, each labeled with both notation systems for comparison.  The setups are organized according to the bang system, although the differences only affect relationship in a few of the setups.

All Possible Pairings - Standard Arrangement
[0B] - 8-Chain / Box Formation
[0P] - DPT Formation
[0L] - Facing Lines
[0F] - 2-Face Lines
[0W] - R-H Waves


For more information, you may wish to view these related pages....