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Reels and Hornpipes

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  • ...

    Alan Paterson May 26, 2006, 12:05 p.m. (Message 45385)

    In the process of reexamining my music collection I am coming across 
    tracks which I have noted as being Reels whereas something in me is 
    trying to tell me - Hornpipe.
    
    Is there a scientific method of identifying a Hornpipe?
    
    My layman's opinion is that it has to do with the last of the 8 bars (or 
    sometimes the 4th one) where, of the 4 beats of the 4/4 rhythm, the 
    first two are crotchets and the third a minim (or crotchet then rest) 
    with the second and third being the same note.
    
    Help?
    
    Alan (who's instruction in the theory of music ended some 35 years ago)
  • ...

    GOSS9@telefonica.net May 26, 2006, 1:39 p.m. (Message 45386, in reply to message 45385)

    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.
  • ...

    Alan Paterson May 26, 2006, 2:05 p.m. (Message 45387, in reply to message 45386)

    On 26/05/2006 13:39, xxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx wrote:
    > 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".
    
    Thanks Richard.
    
    I am struggling here to determine the difference with a Reel in that 
    case. Can it be that the reel has the emphasis ONE two three four while 
    the hornpipe is more ONE two THREE four? Or is it that what come between 
    one and three isn't exactly on two and four but slightly behind?
    
    Can someone perhaps describe the differences in terms of musical notation?
    
    Alan
  • ...

    Anselm Lingnau May 26, 2006, 2:05 p.m. (Message 45388, in reply to message 45385)

    Alan Paterson wrote:
    
    > Is there a scientific method of identifying a Hornpipe?
    
    No. There is a widespread misconception that hornpipe phrases always end with 
    a pom-pom-pom but it turns out that there are lots of hornpipes that don't as 
    well als non-hornpipes that do.
    
    >From an RSCDS-style dancer's point of view the difference between reels and 
    hornpipes is about as important as the number of angels that can dance on the 
    point of a pin, as the steps and tempo are 100% identical. For an RSCDS-style 
    musician, the matter becomes somewhat more important, as when making up sets 
    of tunes you usually want to combine hornpipes with other hornpipes, but one 
    can usually go by the titles or by gut feeling (I know I do).
    
    Then again, there's the dance, Kendall's Hornpipe, which is a jig.
    
    Anselm
    -- 
    Anselm Lingnau, Frankfurt, Germany ..................... xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
                                                              -- Soren Kierkegaard
  • ...

    Alan Paterson May 26, 2006, 2:14 p.m. (Message 45389, in reply to message 45388)

    On 26/05/2006 14:05, Anselm Lingnau wrote:
    > Alan Paterson wrote:
    > 
    > 
    >>Is there a scientific method of identifying a Hornpipe?
    > 
    > 
    > No. There is a widespread misconception that hornpipe phrases always end with 
    > a pom-pom-pom but it turns out that there are lots of hornpipes that don't as 
    > well als non-hornpipes that do.
    > 
    >>From an RSCDS-style dancer's point of view the difference between reels and 
    > hornpipes is about as important as the number of angels that can dance on the 
    > point of a pin, as the steps and tempo are 100% identical.
    
    Which is why DanceData doesn't have dance-type Hornpipe (despite 
    complaints in that department).
    
    > For an RSCDS-style 
    > musician, the matter becomes somewhat more important, as when making up sets 
    > of tunes you usually want to combine hornpipes with other hornpipes, but one 
    > can usually go by the titles or by gut feeling (I know I do).
    
    Test for gut feeling: If anyone has the album Best Foot Forward by Sound 
    Company (just on cassette I fear) tell me if you think the first track 
    feels like a hornpipe.
    
    > Then again, there's the dance, Kendall's Hornpipe, which is a jig.
    
    Pretty much a conversation stopper that one <grin>
    
    Alan
  • ...

    SMiskoe May 26, 2006, 2:36 p.m. (Message 45390, in reply to message 45385)

    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
  • ...

    James Tween May 26, 2006, 3:25 p.m. (Message 45392, in reply to message 45390)

    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 -
  • ...

    Steve Wyrick May 26, 2006, 3:58 p.m. (Message 45395, in reply to message 45392)

    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
  • ...

    James Tween May 26, 2006, 4:15 p.m. (Message 45398, in reply to message 45395)

    That's great -- I guess that just shows that it's rare to hear hornpipey 
    hornpipes.  It's that trick of doing a tune with the lift and bounce of a 
    Highland strathspey and the speed of a reel.
    
    I know what you mean about being able to hear what makes a tune a hornpipe, 
    but it is hard to quantify or qualify.
    
    I think that the amount of discussion on this topic just goes to show the 
    difficulty in distinguishing one thing from another here.
    
    - James -
  • ...

    Steve Wyrick May 27, 2006, 9:01 p.m. (Message 45412, in reply to message 45390)

    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
    style. 
    
    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
    
    xxxxxxx@xxx.xxx 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
  • ...

    GOSS9@telefonica.net May 26, 2006, 2:58 p.m. (Message 45391, in reply to message 45385)

    Your comment works for me when a reel has 4 or 8 notes of equal value, 
    on a 4 count only the one has the natural stress of the music, with 234 
    more equal then if the pattern is 
    ..................
    4|1  23...4|1.. putting a stronger relative emphasis on count 3 o4 4 
    or 5 of 8.
    
    Using the American fractional system, a typical hornpipe starts in 2/4 
    time states with 
    a 16th note on the upbeat (4th note of previous bar), followed by a 
    dotted 8th note, on the down beat, this pattern repeated with a 16th 
    note for the second note, and a dotted 8th for the third
    
    A reel in 2/4 would simply start with an 8th note on count 4 of the 
    previous bar, followed by 8th notes on counts 1 2 3 of the next.
    
    The dancing result is more iregular in that the movements are of equal 
    length as ...
    hop|step-close-step, where as if one was actually  following all the 
    notes in a hornpipe rhythm, one gets hop|step  close-step, sort of what 
    one sees with the slip step.
  • ...

    GOSS9@telefonica.net May 26, 2006, 3:27 p.m. (Message 45394, in reply to message 45385)

    No, No I don´t have a different opinion on your point.
    
    However, I do disagree with your criteria for reaching the same 
    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 
    there so many Christian denominations claiming the same text as their 
    authority.
    
    Most modern tune books seem to have started with an idea, and then fit 
    the tunes into the idea, instead of the other way around. If you 
    compare those same tunes to those attached to the sources of our contry 
    dances, you might well come to different conclusions. 
    
    I agree that "if the title says ´hornpipe´it is probably one, but the 
    implied corolary is far from helpful in that if the title does not say 
    hornpipe it is probably not.
    
    Here is a throw away definition I just came up with, suggest musical 
    types try it out and come up with some exceptions.
    
    I have all of Playford in my computer, and can program it to play an 
    entire book all the way through. I have just done this to one of them, 
    and simply written down, which items were what on a code of s (song 
    tune), r j hp, sj (slip jigs). Here is the definiton that fits my my 
    responses.
    
    If the tune is in duple time and can be stretched to a jig, it is a 
    hornpipe.
  • ...

    Wesley Harry May 26, 2006, 4:03 p.m. (Message 45396, in reply to message 45385)

    35 years ago - you must have been a very, very young lad!!
    Wes
  • ...

    Eike Albert-Unt May 26, 2006, 4:11 p.m. (Message 45397, in reply to message 45385)

    When I some time ago was trying to find out what hornpipe was then I copied
    this explanation to one of my files about music - maybe it is of some help.
    Not that I understand any of it, mind you :-)  PS! I wish I had written down
    where I found this description.
    
    With best regards, Eike 
    (I cannot send the file with pictures in this mail, so it will look a bit
    plain ;-)
    
    ...
    The name hornpipe dates back as far as the early 16th century, but originaly
    for a very different dance. The modern rhythm bearing the name evolved
    around mid 18th century.
  • ...

    Lydia Hedge May 26, 2006, 5:07 p.m. (Message 45400, in reply to message 45397)

    > PS! I wish I had written down where I found this description. 
    > 
    > With best regards, Eike 
    
    I found it:
    
    http://www.irish-banjo.com/technique/accompaniment/hornpipe.html
    
    Lydia
  • ...

    John Chambers May 26, 2006, 4:44 p.m. (Message 45399, in reply to message 45385)

    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
      | |
      ' `
  • ...

    John Chambers May 26, 2006, 5:24 p.m. (Message 45401, in reply to message 45385)

    Steve Wyrick wrote:
    | 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).
    
    I'd agree.  While it's true that most of the SCD crowd can't give you
    a  coherent  description of the difference, quite a lot of the better
    dancers (and most of the teachers) do have a feel for it.  Generally,
    when  you see "hornpipe" in a dance's name, it implies that the music
    should be a bit slower (104-108) than the usual reel tempo (108-112).
    At this slower tempo, a subtle hornpipe rhythm works. You'd play more
    of a 3:2 ratio in the small notes, rather than the 2:1 or  3:1  of  a
    true hornpipe, but the "lilt" should be there.
    
    Of course, it's always good to watch the dancers, and try  to  get  a
    feel  for  whether it should be slower or faster.  Sometimes the term
    "hornpipe" is just a word, and it works better to play the music as a
    reel.   And sometimes you may realize that some of the crowd are step
    dancers who are doing hornpipey things, in which  case  you  want  to
    play the music to match what they're doing.
    
    
    --
       _,
       O   John Chambers
     <:#/> <xx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.xxx>
       +   <xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx>
      /#\  in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
      | |
      ' `
  • ...

    mlamontbrown May 26, 2006, 9:16 p.m. (Message 45404, in reply to message 45401)

    John wrote:
    > While it's true that most of the SCD crowd can't give you
    > a  coherent  description of the difference, quite a lot of the better
    > dancers (and most of the teachers) do have a feel for it.
    
    I'm not at all sure that I can explain the difference between a reel and a hornpipe,
    but I'm sure I would notice if The Sailor, West's Hornpipe, and College Hornpipe
    didn't have hornpipes as the music when I danced them.
    
    Malcolm
    
    Malcolm L Brown
    York  (UK)
  • ...

    SMiskoe May 26, 2006, 9:32 p.m. (Message 45405, in reply to message 45385)

    In a message dated 5/26/2006 3:18:47 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
    xxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx writes:
    
    I'm sure  I would notice if The Sailor, West's Hornpipe, and College Hornpipe
    didn't  have hornpipes as the music when I danced them.
    
    
    
    Me too.  But just as an experiment, take away the title of West's,  dance 
    those figures to John Howatt's Reel and see if it isn't great fun.   In fact, 
    just say West's, and use John Howatt for the music.  Although we  spend a lot of 
    time and energy fitting tunes to specific dances, I think there  are many 
    dances that would be just fine with a tune other than the specified  one, as long 
    at the other tune was of similar character.  After all, we  only use that 
    specified tune for rounds 1 and 8.
    Sylvia Miskoe Concord, NH USA
  • ...

    GOSS9@telefonica.net May 27, 2006, 9:03 a.m. (Message 45409, in reply to message 45385)

    Perhaps 18c in English, but in translation hornpipet is much older and 
    refers to a bagpipe.
  • ...

    GOSS9@telefonica.net May 27, 2006, 9:12 a.m. (Message 45410, in reply to message 45385)

    I agree with you, especially regarding the "college" commonly, and 
    incorrectly, probably because of two TV shows, referred to as "sailor". 
    As played, it is a reel with dum-dum-dum added at the end of the 
    phrase, which feeds into the myth that this is a HP indicator or 
    requirement.
  • ...

    Volleyballjerry May 28, 2006, 2:56 a.m. (Message 45414, in reply to message 45385)

    For those like me who are fairly satisfied with Steve's "reasonably reliable 
    indicator," here's my (yes, of course, highly oversimplified) hornpipe 
    mnemonic for beginning dancers (a variation of "An-i-ma-ted Al-li-ga-tor" for reels, 
    the companion of "Beau-ti-ful But-ter-fly" for jigs):
    
    Animated alligators, HERE'S YOUR CHANCE:
    Animated alligators, WATCH THEM DANCE!
    
    Robb Quint
    Thousand Oaks, CA, USA
    
    In a message dated 05/27/2006 12:02:25 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
    xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xxx writes:
  • ...

    Marian Stroh May 28, 2006, 4:10 a.m. (Message 45415, in reply to message 45414)

    I like "huckleberry, huckleberry" for reels and "blueberry, blueberry" for 
    jigs.
    
    Marian Stroh
    Reno, NV
  • ...

    Bruce Hamilton May 28, 2006, 9:14 p.m. (Message 45416, in reply to message 45385)

    Steve Wyrick wrote:
    > 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.
    
    Thanks for taking this trouble, Steve (and thanks to Sylvia for  
    suggesting it).  It's the method I use myself, along with a sense  
    that the tune wants to be played slowly and dotted (for all but the  
    "pom, pom, pom"s) so that it has a distinctive "swing."  If you'll  
    forgive my trying to do this in text, the signature phrase ending is  
    "yaa, di-daa, di-daa, di-daa, di-dum, dum, dum."
    
    > 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
    > style.
    
    I don't think anybody knows. Did the "waltz" name, the waltz rhythm,  
    or the dance come first?
    
    A few miscellaneous things:
    * The instrument was doubtless a pipe made of horn. The Harvard  
    Dictionary of Music (which I don't have handy) has a picture which  
    isn't very clear, but shows no bag attached. The Concise Oxford  
    Dictionary of Music has no picture, but says it had a reed  
    mouthpiece, suggesting that it was blown directly, rather than via a  
    bag.
    * In referring to rhythms (vs. instruments), the *term* hornpipe  
    changed meaning some time in the late 18C. Many sources mention this  
    change, but none that I've seen explains why.  Before about 1750 the  
    term "hornpipe" refers to a tune in 3/2 time (e.g. the famous theme  
    in the Water Music, "Alla Hornpipe"). After about 1800 the same term  
    refers to a tune in the rhythm Steve describes.  The tunes didn't  
    change, and the dances to them didn't change; the terminology  
    changed. So we have to be careful when we talk about what a hornpipe  
    is, to say which meaning of the word we are using. Steve and I are  
    using the modern meaning.
    * The urge to "dot" or syncopate a hornpipe (at least in English and  
    Irish dancing) is so strong that most of them are written as even  
    eighth notes, with the understanding that the musician will play them  
    dotted (long-short, long-short, etc.). You will even find references  
    to an "undotted hornpipe," which means that the musician will play  
    the notes evenly. (An example of the exception which proves the rule!).
    
    
    > 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")?
    
    English clog dances (vs. Irish and American) are generally danced to  
    hornpipes.  Although the judges look for accuracy of form, once  
    that's satisfied, the showier the better. Thus, more beats per bar.  
    Thus a trend to play the tune even slower than a regular hornpipe (no  
    metronome nearby, but strathspey tempo is close). At this speed, BTW,  
    the dotted nature of the tune is even more important for it to stay  
    interesting, so the musician slightly exaggerates that character.
    
    There's a good collection of information on Colin Hume's web page:  
    http://www.colinhume.com/hornpipe.htm.
    
       -Bruce
    
    Bruce Hamilton      xxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx   650-328-0474 (home)
    xxxxx_xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xxx  408-553-2818 (work)  408-553-3487 (fax)
  • ...

    Steve Wyrick May 29, 2006, 2:34 a.m. (Message 45418, in reply to message 45416)

    Bruce Hamilton wrote:
    
    > * In referring to rhythms (vs. instruments), the *term* hornpipe
    > changed meaning some time in the late 18C. Many sources mention this
    > change, but none that I've seen explains why.  Before about 1750 the
    > term "hornpipe" refers to a tune in 3/2 time (e.g. the famous theme
    > in the Water Music, "Alla Hornpipe"). After about 1800 the same term
    > refers to a tune in the rhythm Steve describes.  The tunes didn't
    > change, and the dances to them didn't change; the terminology
    > changed. So we have to be careful when we talk about what a hornpipe
    > is, to say which meaning of the word we are using. Steve and I are
    > using the modern meaning.
    
    I've been curious about the change from 3/2 to common or cut time as well.
    3/2 hornpipes show up in some of the old Scottish tunebooks and are great
    fun to play; there's a neat rhythmic thing going on because of the
    opportunities the time signature provides for syncopation.  I really wish
    there was a place for that tune form in modern SCD!
    -- 
    Steve Wyrick -- Concord, California
  • ...

    GOSS9@telefonica.net May 28, 2006, 10:42 p.m. (Message 45417, in reply to message 45385)

    Triple time music either 3 (as in a typical waltz), or 6 (as in a 
    typical minuet) notes to the bar has been around long before the term 
    "waltz". The word "Waltz" is associated with the turn or rotation of 
    the couple in the style of dance and does not apply to the 3/4 beat 
    necessarily. For example in Spanish country dances, the word "Valse" is 
    the name for the figure we associate with the non progressive pousette 
    (our 8 bar progression, is a Milliganism) as indicated by the dancers 
    positions (Petronella - already progressed), or musical notation (4, 
    instead of 8 bars).
    
    The use of "hornpipe" in translation to refer to a bagpipe fits in 
    that many mediterranian pipes I have seen, specificly from Calabria and 
    Sardinia recently have wooden drones, but animal horns for the one or 
    two chanters. Possibly the syncopation is related to the need to use 
    non melodic passing tones when moving up and down the scale without the 
    ability of tonguing as one would use a flute or oboe, or the little 
    "plunger" on some types of Irish pipes.
    
    Having a reed mouth piece has nothing to do with the difference 
    between a mouth blown or sack blown instrument. Here in Mallorca, the 
    president´s band (dressed as one would for an original reenactment of 
    the Watermusic Suite), uses ancient instruments, including a "xeremia" 
    (Mallorcan bagpipe), basic difference is that the drones (bordons, 1, 
    2, or 3) hang down in front. Its leader, "pipe major" if you will often 
    plays as one would expect, however some renaissance music is not 
    correct with passing tones. In this case, he simply unplugs the chanter 
    (grai) from the bag which he drapes over his shoulder, and plays it 
    like a simple oboe, which it is (the air in the lungs substituting for 
    that in the bag, the pressure of the cheeks substitution for that of 
    the arm on the bag. The grai, an ancient folk instrument of Catalunya, 
    now may have keys attached to increase its musical possibilities, but 
    in its simplest form, still used, has an indentation for string or cork 
    for plugging it into a bag.
    
    In both the 3/2 and 2/4 hornpipes, there is the sense of syncopation. 
    As I mentioned before the "dum dum dum" at the phrase or half phrase 
    seems to be more modern.
    
    One should be careful when using old music texts to justify such 
    traditions as the syuncopated (dot and flag) rhythms. Using language as 
    a parallel, no alphabet perfectly fits its language as spoken when 
    considering dialects and exceptions, no matter how phonetic. The same 
    goes for music. When working with the School of Scottish Studies in the 
    late 70´s to early 80´s, I was involved with transcribing traditional 
    music from field recordings, and reconciling these with printed 
    sources. This was very difficult for several reasons.
    1. In the same recordings, folk musicians would float from single jig 
    to hornpipe, without changing the tempo of the two basic beats (only 
    the ration from 2:1 to 3:1 when all four notes were analyzed). Because 
    most of us "know" the difference between a jig and a hornpipe, it is 
    very difficult to deal with music played by musicians who learned by 
    ear and play it as they heard it, as opposed to how it "should" be 
    played.
    2. Many tunes were transcribed quickly, or from memory and simply are 
    lacking in the more sophisticate rhymic notations, such as the "dot and 
    flag" pattern. As a result the written tunes are simply an aid to the 
    melody, not as actually played. You can find this by analyzing 
    classical solo musicians as compared to the scores from which they are 
    playing.
    3. Many historic transcriptions are only strings of notes without bar 
    lines or length indicated. In some cases, even the pitch is indicated 
    as up or down without indicating how far. To see evidence of this even 
    in tutored modern times one has only to compare the notation in 
    Playford I, with that in Playford XVIII.  
    
    As far as "Strathspey" is concerned, from a music history, this is not 
    relevant, though it is in RSCDS dance history. A strathspey is a duple 
    style associated with a particular region in Scotland, and considered 
    "Scotch" by many outside that region, to the extent that its 
    distinctive rhythmic patterns were incorporated into later music 
    considered Scottish. The hornpipe pattern is one of these patterns.
    
     
    Thus a trend to play the tune even slower than a regular hornpipe 
    (no  
    metronome nearby, but strathspey tempo is close). At this speed, 
    BTW,  
    the dotted nature of the tune is even more important for it to stay  
    interesting, so the musician slightly exaggerates that character.
  • ...

    GOSS9@telefonica.net May 29, 2006, 7:23 a.m. (Message 45419, in reply to message 45385)

    As I said before, if  the "horpipedness" is in the syncopation, then 
    this was not a change in definition just the fact that one style of 
    rhythm simply became less popular since both the 3/2 and 2/4 existed at 
    the same time.
  • ...

    Alan Harrison May 30, 2006, 3:18 p.m. (Message 45420, in reply to message 45385)

    Hi,
    
    As I understand it reels are in 2/2 and hornpipes are in 2/4 time.
    
    Best Regards,
    Alan & Julie Harrison
    RSCDS Leeds Branch
    http://www.piper-alan.co.uk
  • ...

    SMiskoe May 30, 2006, 3:32 p.m. (Message 45421, in reply to message 45385)

    I've always considered reels to be in 2/4 meter and hornpipes can be 2/4 or  
    4/4.  And then there is 'cut time' which is written as 4/4 but instead of  
    designating the meter as 4/4 or C the C has a vertical line through it (the cut)  
    and you are supposed to play the tune as though it were 2/4.
    Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA
  • ...

    Patricia Ruggiero May 30, 2006, 4:18 p.m. (Message 45423, in reply to message 45421)

    Sylvia wrote:
    > 
    > 
    > I've always considered reels to be in 2/4 meter and hornpipes 
    > can be 2/4 or  
    > 4/4.  And then there is 'cut time' which is written as 4/4 
    > but instead of  
    > designating the meter as 4/4 or C the C has a vertical line 
    > through it (the cut)  
    > and you are supposed to play the tune as though it were 2/4. 
    
    I'm glad you brought this up.  I frequently see reel music with time
    signature of C or 4/4.  Susie Petrov's book uses the former, while Liz
    Donaldson's first book (pink cover) uses the latter.  Liz' second book
    (blue) uses the C with the line drawn through it.  Then there's the
    individual sheets we've collected from Elke Baker (through the Potomac
    Valley Fiddle Club) with no time signature given at all.
    
    Both the C and the 4/4 indicate to me that there are 4 beats to the bar, yet
    we dance to 2 beats per bar.   I don't understand this at all.  Can you, or
    anyone, explain this?
    
    Pat
  • ...

    GOSS9@telefonica.net May 30, 2006, 3:50 p.m. (Message 45422, in reply to message 45385)

    Tempo indications have no predictive value in this discussion in that 
    while RSCDS published reels are generally in 2/4 time, often their 
    source tunes are found in 2/2 or 4/4. The same can be found for 
    hornpipes, except for the 3/2 hornpipes already mentioned.
    
    As posted before it is not the time signiture that makes the 
    difference between a duple time tune a reel or a hornpipe, but the 
    syncopation. And even there it is the predominance of such that makes 
    the difference, in that a mostly really reel can have hornpipe 
    syncipation occasionally, as can a hornish hornpipe, have occasional 
    bars without syncopation.
    
    This follows over into the differench between single and double jig. 
    While they have the same tempo indications, most of the single jigs 
    have a syncipated 4 note rhythm (often shading into a hornpipe when 
    played by traditional musicians - and noted as such on occasions), 
    where the double jig has 6 notes to the bar. As in the above, this is 
    the norm, for a piece of music, and has nothing to do with the 
    exceptions occasionally found.
  • ...

    SMiskoe May 30, 2006, 6:02 p.m. (Message 45424, in reply to message 45385)

    My easiest answer is It's all part of being traditional music.  We  want our 
    reels to be a particular tempo, we want 2 beats to the bar so no matter  how 
    the tune is notated, we play it the way we want it to sound.
    When I create a dance set I will often change the time signature, and  
    therefore the notation, so it is the same for each tune.  Saves  confusing the 
    musicians.  But when I'm making sets for the musicians I work  with a lot I don't 
    bother because WE know how the music should be played for the  dance.
    Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA
  • ...

    John Chambers May 30, 2006, 7:53 p.m. (Message 45425, in reply to message 45385)

    Pat wrote:
    | Both the C and the 4/4 indicate to me that there are 4 beats to the bar, yet
    | we dance to 2 beats per bar.   I don't understand this at all.  Can you, or
    | anyone, explain this?
    
    Very simple: It's wrong. ;-)
    
    Reels are conventionally written, with 4 8th-notes and two beats  per
    bar.  So the correct time signature is 2/2, or the C-with-a-bar (M:C|
    in ABC), which is a synonym for 2/2. It would be better to write them
    with  8 16th-notes per bar, and 2/4 as the time signature.  Sometimes
    you see that, but not often. To understand why, you have to study the
    history of musical notation.  The reason isn't logic; it's history.
    
    But musicians can be quite sloppy about such things. They often write
    4/4, implying four beats per bar. Among other things, this shows that
    they really have no idea what a "beat" is. This is something that can
    be  rather  subtle,  and  lots of musicians can play it right without
    knowing the right terminology or notation.
    
    Few musicians are ever really taught much about music notation.   The
    result is a real mess. So you have to learn to try to figure out what
    was meant by music notation despite all the errors.  And  it  doesn't
    help that dancers often count things differently from the musicians.
    
    
    --
       _,
       O   John Chambers
     <:#/> <xx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.xxx>
       +   <xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx>
      /#\  in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
      | |
      ' `
  • ...

    Steve Wyrick May 31, 2006, 3:29 a.m. (Message 45431, in reply to message 45425)

    John, a minor correction: I'm pretty sure you meant _8_ 8th-notes and 2
    beats per bar (which works out to cut time).
    
    Incidentally, this business of confusing common (4/4) and cut time
    signatures isn't a new issue.  Looking at facimiles of Robert Petrie's and
    William Marshall's tunebooks from around the turn of the 18th/19th century,
    reels in both collections are notated in either cut or common time, with no
    apparent reason for the choice of one or the other!  -Steve
    
    
    John Chambers wrote:
    
    > Reels are conventionally written, with 4 8th-notes and two beats  per
    > bar.  So the correct time signature is 2/2, or the C-with-a-bar (M:C|
    > in ABC), which is a synonym for 2/2. It would be better to write them
    > with  8 16th-notes per bar, and 2/4 as the time signature.  Sometimes
    > you see that, but not often. To understand why, you have to study the
    > history of musical notation.  The reason isn't logic; it's history.
    
    -- 
    Steve Wyrick -- Concord, California
  • ...

    Patricia Ruggiero May 31, 2006, 4:20 a.m. (Message 45432, in reply to message 45431)

    Thanks to John and Steve for, um, kinda sorta clarifying this matter of the
    time signature.  At least now I know I haven't been misunderstanding some
    important and perhaps obvious fact about what 4/4 time means.
    
    
    Pat
  • ...

    RODERICK JOHNSTON May 31, 2006, 1:20 p.m. (Message 45434, in reply to message 45432)

    This issue of time signatures goes across the board and doesn't just
    apply to reels and hornpipes.  The same occurs in maches 2/4 and 4/4.
    For some reason, I think purely due to the whims of the composer, many
    4/4 marches are written as 2/4 which when sight reading for the first
    time can cause an amusing moment.
       
      3/4 retreat marches are another source of confusion for novice
      musicians. I remember the first time I saw a 3/4 pipe march and
      played it as a waltz until I was suitably chastised.
       
      Rod Johnston,
    Fort Willaim 
    
    Patricia Ruggiero <xxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxx.xxx> wrote:
      Thanks to John and Steve for, um, kinda sorta clarifying this matter of the
    time signature. At least now I know I haven't been misunderstanding some
    important and perhaps obvious fact about what 4/4 time means.
    
    
    Pat
  • ...

    Patricia Ruggiero May 31, 2006, 3:07 p.m. (Message 45435, in reply to message 45434)

    Rod wrote:
    
    >I remember the first time I saw a 3/4 pipe 
    > march and played it as a waltz until I was suitably chastised.
    
    As I can well imagine!!!!
    
    Pat
  • ...

    John Chambers May 31, 2006, 3:24 p.m. (Message 45436, in reply to message 45385)

    Steve Wyrick wrote:
    | John, a minor correction: I'm pretty sure you meant _8_ 8th-notes and 2
    | beats per bar (which works out to cut time).
    
    Yeah; of course.  It can be hard to spot typos like that.
    
    | Incidentally, this business of confusing common (4/4) and cut time
    | signatures isn't a new issue.  Looking at facimiles of Robert Petrie's and
    | William Marshall's tunebooks from around the turn of the 18th/19th century,
    | reels in both collections are notated in either cut or common time, with no
    | apparent reason for the choice of one or the other!  -Steve
    
    Part of what's going on is that there has been a very slow change  to
    the  use  of  shorter notes over the centuries.  If you look at music
    from the 1500s and 1600s, you'll see that what we call a  whole  note
    was  the  usual way to write a "beat".  By the 1700s, a beat was more
    often written as a half note, and the cut-time notation for reels  is
    a relic of this. In the 1800s, it became more common to use a quarter
    note for the beat, and that's the standard way to  write  polkas  and
    waltzes.
    
    But there has always been confusion or disagreement on this.   A  few
    years ago, I got curious and went through my music books, and counted
    the key signatures for a few rhythms.  The one that really stood  out
    was  marches,  which  were  almost evenly divided between 2/4 and cut
    time.  It got even more confusing because of a third,  rarer  choice:
    4/4 with a quarter note for the beat and half as many bar lines.
    
    I've seen a few cases of cut-and-paste pages for SCD that had marches
    in all three notations. This sometimes causes problems when you reach
    the 4/4 tune, and part the band plays it twice as fast as the  others
    (as if it were a cut-time reel).  Some marches have sufficiently long
    notes that you can double the speed and they work, though they're  no
    longer marches.  (It's one reason to have rehearsals. ;-)
    
    The Early Music crowd sometimes has problems with  this.   There  are
    some  pieces  of music for which the tempo isn't known, and the music
    works at several different speeds (and with a  different  note  value
    for  the "beat").  Of course, if it's music for a dance that can't be
    reconstructed, it doesn't matter, and you can play  it  any  way  you
    like.   But if you're a dedicated Early Music sort, you probably find
    this worrying, because you want to play it "right".
    
    I ran across a case like this a few months ago.  I also play for ECD,
    as well as for the local New England "vintage" dancers who like to do
    18th-C dances. Not surprisingly, these two crowds tend to be the same
    people.   Anyway,  the dance leader had sent us a tune he wanted, but
    there was no clue to the tempo.  We played it at both a  fast  "reel"
    tempo and a slower "walking" tempo, and we liked it both ways.  Email
    asking him about it didn't help; we didn't have enough terminology in
    common  to get across the problem.  What we did was, before the dance
    was taught, we played both versions and asked which  was  right.   He
    picked  the  "walking tune" version, so we played that one.  Most ECD
    musicians can probably tell similar stories,  as  this  is  a  common
    problem with the notation for that music.
    
    
    --
       _,
       O   John Chambers
     <:#/> <xx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.xxx>
       +   <xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx>
      /#\  in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
      | |
      ' `
  • ...

    John Chambers May 31, 2006, 3:36 p.m. (Message 45437, in reply to message 45385)

    Pat commented:
    | Thanks to John and Steve for, um, kinda sorta clarifying this matter of the
    | time signature.  At least now I know I haven't been misunderstanding some
    | important and perhaps obvious fact about what 4/4 time means.
    
    ;-)
    
    It can't really be completely clarified, because both  musicians  and
    dancers  are  hopelessly sloppy and inconsistent in their terminology
    and notation.
    
    For example, the terms "reel" and "jig" are used  by  both  musicians
    and  dancers,  but  with unrelated meanings.  And most of them aren't
    even aware of the problem.
    
    
    --
       _,
       O   John Chambers
     <:#/> <xx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.xxx>
       +   <xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx>
      /#\  in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, Earth
      | |
      ' `

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