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strathspey@strathspey.org:45399

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  • John Chambers

    John Chambers May 26, 2006, 4:44 p.m. (Message 45399)

    Re: Reels and Hornpipes

    xxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx commented:
    | No, No I don=C2=B4t have a different opinion on your point.
    |
    | However, I do disagree with your criteria for reaching the same=20
    | conclusion as mine.
    |
    | "... if you have access to tune books, study them ..."
    |
    | Studyint tune books for stats is as about as logical as explaining why=20
    | there so many Christian denominations claiming the same text as their=20
    | authority.
    
    Very  true.   A  better  approach  is  probably  to  understand  that
    "hornpipe" isn't a musical term at all; it is a dance term. You can't
    understand it by studying any music.  The only real way  is  to  find
    some   dancers  who  actually  do  hornpipes.   They  typically  call
    themselves  "step  dancers",  often  with  "Irish",  "Scottish",   or
    "English" as a prefix. Ask them to do a hornpipe, and play some tunes
    so they fit that dance.  Ask for a few different  hornpipes,  because
    they  are  done  at  different  tempos,  and the music will be subtly
    different for the slow and fast ones.  Most reel tunes will work, but
    you'll  have  to  play  them with uneven small notes, in a 2:1 or 3:1
    ratio.  Some fast hornpipes will want a 3:2 ratio in the small notes.
    You'll  also  want  to  add  in  a  few  extra  notes at times to get
    triplets.  If you listen to recordings that  the  step  dancers  use,
    you'll  hear all this.  But it's better to watch their feet, and note
    the occasional steps that make three "tap" sounds in a beat.
    
    Watching SCD dances with "hornpipe" in their name won't help. In this
    style  (and  in  American contra/square dances), you'll hear the word
    "hornpipe", but it's just a nonsense word that's used for  historical
    reasons.  The dancers can't give you a coherent definition of what it
    means.  The only explanation is "That's what it's called."
    
    But there are likely some step dancers in your vicinity. Look them up
    and ask if you can learn to play for them.
    
    Morris dancers are also good for this.  When they  say  "reel",  they
    almost always mean "hornpipe". They mostly don't know the difference,
    either, but if you can play comfortably for them,  you  know  how  to
    play a reel as a hornpipe.
    
    
    --
       _,
       O   John Chambers
     <:#/> <xx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.xxx>
       +   <xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx>
      /#\  in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
      | |
      ' `
          

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