GOSS9@telefonica.net May 26, 2006, 1:39 p.m. (Message 45386)
Re: Reels and Hornpipes
The dum-dum-dum ending of the phrase as a determiner is a myth. True many hornpipes have this, but many do not. I think this came from the step dancing tradition where every step starting to the left, had its mirror image to the right. So if one starts on the right foot, the last bar starting on the left, with a pause allows one to start the next phrase on the left foot. To me the "hormpipedness" is not in the notes per bar, but in the syncopation of these notes allowing for two strong beats on counts 1 & 3, with the other notes weaker as they are not on 2 & 4. Note that all hornpipes are not in duple time. If you check Playford, Purcel, Blow, Handel, and others you will find many in triple time. The common denominator is the "limp". Another way of looking at a hornpipe as a transitional step between a double jig, to a single, jig to a hornpipe, and then a reel. A double jig has notes to the bar, where a single has 4 with a ration of 2:1:2:1 moving into a hornpipe the ration becomes 3:1:3:1, and into a reel of 1: 1:1:1 or 11111111, if you like, but no syncopation. Hornpipes-jigs-reels can all be the same melody, simply a change in accent and lenght of note vallue. Strathspeys, however, are another issue, since, as we dance them, they did not exist as anything more then a slow reel. At the slower tempo, they can simply be a reel or hornpipe, or both plus a jig if the bars are combined. There is a linguistic problem in that the words reel and jig can simply mean "dance" without any reference to speed or rhythm. When it comes to reel and hornpipe, the name can refer to a particular dance at a point in time, when the tune at a later time has evolved into a different rhythm. For continuity´s sake, the RSCDS is sort of stuck with the published name, even when our modern concept no longer fits the rhythm. NB: house still "en processo" so I have no clue as to where some books are, but if you get a copy of Emmerson´s "Rantin´ Pipes ´n Treblin´ Strings", though I do not agree with all of it, you will get a pretty good explanation with examples.