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  • Steve Wyrick

    Steve Wyrick May 26, 2006, 3:58 p.m. (Message 45395)

    Re: Reels and Hornpipes

    James Tween wrote:
    > The way hornpipes and reels are played in the SCD style, there is no real
    > difference to me and I'd happily mix reels and honpipes in a set of tunes,
    > or dance a reel to a hornpipe track, or vice versa.  There are three paces
    > of dance -- reel, jig or strathspey -- and they may vary in speed, and
    > straths may be slow airs or more Highlandy, but there are only really these
    > three.
    > A hornpipe in Scottish step dancing, Irish, Welsh and English traditions is
    > usually most like a Highland-rhythm strathspey.  It typically has a dotted
    > rhythm -- 4/4 with bars split into dotted quaver / semiquaver -- but does
    > not have the reverse comibnation (semiquaver - dotted quaver) as you find in
    > a lot of bouncy straths.  In the English ceilidh style, most hornpipes are
    > danced slower with a step-hop step, and is about the same speed as a decent
    > paced Highland strath, and if we've ever had nights with English ceilidh
    > dancers doing SCD, they often find it easy to think of a strath as a
    > hornpipe.  Saying all that, you can get hornpipes with straight, undotted
    > rhythms, but they are usually played at the same kind of steady pace.
    > When I catalogued a load of SCD CDs, I just grouped hornpipes with reels.
    > I wonder if any of that makes sense.
    > - James - 
    Personally I don't really like this idea of not differentiating hornpipe and
    reel tunes in SCD.  When I play hornpipes I always try to put at least a bit
    more of a lilt in them, to try to keep the bouncy feeling.  I also don't
    really like mixing reels and hornpipes in a set (or reels and Scotch
    measures, for that matter).
    Regarding distinguishing characteristics for hornpipes if a tune identifies
    itself as a hornpipe, I can generally hear the things in it that make it a
    hornpipe however as others have said, there doesn't seem to be a foolproof
    method for identifying a hornpipe from hearing it... -Steve
    Steve Wyrick -- Concord, California

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