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  • Steve Wyrick

    Steve Wyrick May 27, 2006, 9:01 p.m. (Message 45412)

    Re: Reels and Hornpipes

    Out of curiosity I read through my copy of Ryan's Mammoth Collection
    (American, 19th C) from which Cole's 1000 was later derived.  It has a huge
    hornpipe section, 251 of them from various origins.  Out of those, 205 had
    the stereotypical "bom bom bom" ending in at least one of the 2 parts, and
    most of the others had some derivation with 3 strong beats (i.e., triplets,
    dotted eight/sixteenth pairs, etc), so I would take from this that the 3
    strong beats at the end is a reasonably reliable indicator of the tune form.
    I suppose this begs Goss' question though; were they originally written as
    hornpipes, or later classified that way because of the ending?  Also some of
    these are newer American compositions which could be simply imitating the
    Incidentally, this book also has a section of approx. 50 Clogs, which to my
    eyes look like somewhat ornate hornpipes written in 4/4 time instead of 2/4.
    Can anyone explain the difference, which I assume has to do with the dance
    forms rather than the tunes (some of the hornpipes are annotated "can be
    played as a clog")? -Steve wrote:
    > In a message dated 5/26/2006 6:59:32 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
    > xxxx.xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xx writes:
    > Is there  a scientific method of identifying a Hornpipe?
    > Not really.  There are lots of ways to decide a tune is a reel or a
    > hornpipe, listening to tunes is the best start.
    > Hornpipes often end with 3 even notes.
    > There are very few hornpipes written in a minor key.
    > Lots of hornpipes are written in Bb and F.
    > More hornpipes than reels cover a range of 2 octaves.
    > In the B part of the tune there is often a similar chord structure.
    > To add to the confusion, the same tune is often found in different books
    > with slightly different timing notations.  For example, Cole's 1000 Fiddle
    > Tunes 
    > has a great hornpipe section and the tunes are written in 2/4 meter.   Then,
    > Kerr's Caledonian Collection has the same tune written in 4/4 meter.
    > If the title says 'hornpipe' it probably is one.  We tend to  interchange
    > reels and hornpipes for dancing although at one time the hornpipes  were
    > played 
    > more slowly and with a dotted rhythm as they were for step  dancing.
    > And for every one of the above statements, probably there is someone saying
    > 'No, I have a different opinion.'
    > Listen, listen, and if you have access to tune books, study them.
    > Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA
    Steve Wyrick -- Concord, California

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