Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Does your session play jigs and reels at the same speed, basically as fast as possible and speeding up when you start a tune at a slower tempo? Arrrgh! I hate this. It’s not music! Was just listening to Altan thinking, “See, it’s possible to play at different tempos, making music instead of just grinding out tunes like a hurdy-gurdy monkey on crack.” Makes me sick…

Cheers

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

~ on crystal…

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

“hurdy-gurdy monkey on crack” - that’s pretty good, but I still prefer this description, which came from playing for set dancers: “a skin covered boombox with tempo control”. Please note the tempo control is fairly useless, normally it’s set to “overdrive” and left there.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy ripping along at top speed for the sheer thrill of it too, but I enjoy stopping to smell the roses, and too much of anything is not good.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Some Irish musicians make their living playing reels mostly at the same tempo… but they can also make it sound like a computer deedling off the notes, maybe thats why they get the big $. Everyone’s got different tastes…

If you are comparing your session to Altan, then you will surely be depressed about it!

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Numerous violators of the speed limit (determined by whoever starts the set) at our local session. Part of the problem is communication--the difficulty hearing the music in a noisy environment--not to mention contending with ever present noodlers. What to do about it? Anyone?

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Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

You’re at the wrong session, go to or start a new one.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

I’ve found that a lot of folks - and I’m guilty of this as well - would, all other things being equal, generally rather play fast than slow. The trick is not think of only having the option between playing, say, a reel at 90 bpm and playing it *exactly the same way*, but at 120 bpm. Recently I’ve started playing a few of the old standards - Cooley’s, The Banshee, The Silver Spear - as hornpipes, slowed down to 60-80 bpm. Then I’m playing them qualitatively differently, not just more slowly. The beginners are happy because they can keep up, and the more experienced players feel like they’re playing the tunes *differently*, not just more slowly.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Oh please please please pleeeeeease stop playing reels as hornpipes. pleaese please I beg you. Please please have more sense.

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Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

You really have to visualise me one knee begging here. please don’t do it

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Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

I won’t at your session, llig.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Well, hornpipes are built different than reels, and the dances are different. So playing reels as hornpipes is almost as silly as playing hornpipes as reels (which is sadly all too common here in the States).

There’s nothing wrong with slowing reels down--but keep the pulse and lift. That does not make them hornpipes. Just reels played more slowly. Yes, beginners should appreciate the chance to play along. And more experienced players should have no trouble keeping the pulse and lift in the reels at a walking pace. If they do, then they’re not as “experienced” as they think.

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Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

The implication is that you ought not to play reels as hornpipes anywhere at any time. Have you touched on a moral issue here?

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Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own home on your own time. (Although too much of it might grow hair on your palms.)

For a bit of craic once in a blue moon? Sure, whatever. Or revising a reel to make it fit hornpipe structure? Fine--the tradition does that sort of thing all the time.

I think the point is that reels aren’t hornpipes. Seems obvious when you just say it like that, eh? If you want to play hornpipes, there are plenty brilliant ones to chose from. If you want to play reels slowly, great.

I for one would hate to see a bunch of beginners indoctrinated into playing reels as hornpipes, though. Kinda misses the whole point of the distinction between the two tune (and dance) forms.

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Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

And bear in mind that Tall, Dark, and Mysterious has been playing Irish fiddle for less than two years. He might be better off playing the music as it’s intended before tinkering with it so much. Lest he be mistaken for someone who doesn’t give a friar’s fart about the music….

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Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Do I take it that “playing reels as hornpipes” means playing them fairly slowly and with a bit of swing? I think that, if so, what this comes down to is “having rules.” Hornpipes just don’t sound like reels as they have their own jizz, and likewise reels just don’t sound like hornpipes. They can’t because they’re just not hornpipey enough no matter what you do. In most cases I’ve encountered it’s either the guitarists or bodhran owners who don’t know the bloody difference anyway who cause the problem. Reels as flat as witches’ t*ts and hornpipes like bloody war marches. Anyway, if everyone who’s playing likes what you’re all doing I don’t see the problem. I hate rules and I hate good taste. It just makes me worry that I haven’t got any. Good taste that is.

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Upon further review, it’s not so nice to speed up someone’s set, seems like bad form, poor manners. On the other hand, I enjoy someone pulling me along the dance floor, so to speak, by making me play a tune I’m not totally OK with yet at a faster rate, but in those cases I ask THEM to start it, so I can test out my chops on the particular tune. It’s a great learning experience and often cements the tune in my head for good. In that manner it may also be bad form to start a local session favorite or widely known tune slowly if it’s not a beginner’s session or some other learning experience.

If someone says to us beforehand “I think I know X, I’ve heard you guys play it a bunch of times now, but I need to take it slow” that’d be cool at our session, but to each their own.

For different speeds and flavors, I mean I’m not one of those 99% reel guys. I like all the types of tunes and play them all equally. When you distribute your shot selection (so to speak) among all the different types of tunes you get to enjoy different tempos. Hopefully without hornpipes being played as reels. 😛

I’m just teasing, feel free to reel us up a hornpipe or hornpipe us up a reel.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

…but just the one time. There’s way too many good hornpipes out there to be playing reels as hornpipes. Brought to you by the Save the Hornpipe committee.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Crikey, every couple of weeks, among friends I play with once a week or more, I swing one (1) set of reels. It’s not something I do every week - we play Cooley’s and such straight more often than not at my regular session; it’s not something I do among strangers - I’m heading off to an out-of-town session in an hour and I hadn’t for a moment even considered playing any well-known reel as a hornpipe there; it’s not something I do at the other session I attend regularly, where the sets are more or less fixed and most are led by the host; and it’s *certainly* not something I’d do if I were playing for dancers. It’s fun, it shows the tunes from a new angle, and it’s good craic. If five minutes, once every other week or so, of this rhythmic indulgence constitutes indoctrination (of people who’ve been playing around the same amout of time as me, or longer!), then my influence is a lot more far reaching than I thought and I should probably reconsider my decision never to go into politics.

For what it’s worth, my own playing style, such as it is, seems to be tending toward the swung side of the spectrum, something that I seem to have been developing not entirely consciously. And it *is* a spectrum, and there are a number of tunes here (Red-Haired Boy, Merry Blacksmith, Soldier’s Joy) that seem to straddle the reel-hornpipe divide (the comments on this site reflect as much), and I’ve heard them played with varying amounts of swing by musicians who are far more experienced, and who have been steeped in the tradition for far longer, than I. My natural state seems to be to swing most Gmaj and some Dmaj reels a smidge, and to play minor reels pretty straight, and this seems to be pretty standard from what I’ve heard at sessions and on recordings. The Cooley’s/Banshee/Silver Spear set (put together by my teacher, and played quick and straight when he leads it) is one I swing for kicks among friends. Took folks a second to recognize Cooley’s when I first led it; the Banshee didn’t sound *that* different from usual, mostly just slower; and by the time I got to a lazy rendition of The Silver Spear, sliding up to the B every now and again instead of playing the d before it, it was pretty clear that we’d veered away from the tradition and were playing for comic relief. And then it was on to the next set, played just the way that God intended, no unauthorized liberties with rhythm. And then off to bed, and the sun still rose in the east the next morning, despite the previous night’s flagrant disregard for the tradition.

I will remark, though, that when I play those reels as hornpipes, I start them slow and we finish them at that same pace. But whenever someone starts a reel at anything other than lightning speed, it gains a fair bit of momentum in the process, desipite everyone’s best intentions.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Maybe that’s why I’ve started liking hornpipes more…they’re a change of pace and offer a chance to use a different tone set and feel.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

TDM, swing isn’t synonymous with hornpipe rhythm and timing.

And playing reels too fast (especially speeding up as you go) is a hallmark of players who don’t understand the difference between a session and a horse race.

Having a laugh with a tune is all part of the craic, sure. No worries.

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Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

“swing isn’t synonymous with hornpipe rhythm and timing.”

Ah, then there’s some miscommunication here and I’m probably in the wrong, because I’m talking about “playing a reel very swung” and “playing a reel as a hornpipe” as being the same thing, and you’re saying that they’re qualitatively different, and that “hornpipe” isn’t just at the far end of the swung spectrum. What’s that difference, then?

(I shall take some measure of comfort in the knowledge that I’m not the only one confused about that - some weeks ago I played The Merry Blacksmith as I usually do, 100 bpm or so and a bit swung but not overly so, and the flute player beside me commented that it was nice to hear that one as a hornpipe for a change - which hadn’t been my intention at all.)

*checks watch* All right, off to actually play this stuff instead of talking about it.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

And then there’s the opposite problem, people playing hornpipes as reels, which I find is much more common. I wish they wouldn’t. I know a lot of people don’t like hornpipes, but they have their own charm and they deserve better than they often get.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

As for the original question:

“Does your session play jigs and reels at the same speed, basically as fast as possible and speeding up when you start a tune at a slower tempo?”

It depends who shows up. It’s pretty easy to tell what kind of a session it’s going to be by looking at who walks in the door and seeing what kind of instrument case(s) they’re carrying with them.

Sometimes I start my tunes extra slow if I think there’s a good chance that I’ll be dragged into playing it much faster at the end. It’s quite a balancing act, working to keep my own tempo steady, but also listening to know when I have to keep up with an increasingly quicker pace. I guess that’s one of the skills you have to learn when you play with other people.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

In my NSHO that is simply rude or ignorant , speeding up a set without prior arrangement and agreement. It is not something to be encouraged.

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I was talking about coping with it when it does happen, jig…

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

fair enough, damage limitation, still it might be a good idea o either tell them. If they dont know what they are doing then you are helping them out, if they do, well good luck…

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

“And then there’s the opposite problem, people playing hornpipes as reels, which I find is much more common.”

Me too. Whether or not there’s a sharp distinction between hornpipes and reels in theory, in practice it’s pretty blurry.

And yes, I know that speeding up is bad etiquette and such. My point, such as it was, was that speed happens, and that it appears to be an enormous effort (even among experienced musicians) to keep the pace slow; but on those (rare, and measured) occasions when I lead some highly swung, and slowed down, reels, there isn’t that tendency to speed them up; they start slow and finish slow.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

[Warning: many-words-being-thrown-at-aural-concepts ahead. Expect delays.]

TDM, “swing” can be inserted into almost any tune form in this music, including hornpipes. But hornpipes also have their own sense of rhythm and phrasing, in large part stemming from their structure. And it is distinct from swing.

I don’t mean to get preachy--this is just average-joe me, thinking out loud about what sets hornpipes apart from reels. So I apologize in advance if this ends up sounding like a lecture. 😏

First off, the parts of hornpipes almost always end with three quarter notes. Some end with the last two quarters being of the same pitch (the tonal home of the tune--think of G2 E2 E2). Others end with the home note, a higher note, and back to the home note (think of the d2 f2 d2 ending of Boys of Bluehill). This underlying form can be heard even when it’s gussied up with triplets or melodic variations. And that sense of phrasing--built around quarter notes (in two pairs of a strong beat/weak beat per measure)--***permeates the whole hornpipe,*** not just the endings.

What gives a hornpipe its rhythm is the weight given to the strong beats, less a matter of stretching them into dotted eighths and more a matter of playing those notes with slightly more volume or attack than the weak beats.

(Yes, lots of people these days play hornpipes with a “dotted” rhythm of dotted eighth notes and sixteenths, but that’s mostly hangover from wistfully transcribed sources or a plastic paddy device, both of which poorly match the actual cadence of a danceable hornpipe.)

Listen to the opening bars of Harvest Home: |DAFA DAFA|defe dcBA|. All too often, this is played with dotted eighths on all the downbeats, and it becomes a caricature of itself. Instead, if you let the form speak for itself, the downbeats don’t have to be dotted to weight them because the boxy quarter-note core melody line is already clear: |D2 F2 D2 F2|d2 f2 d2 B2|.

In short, hornpipe melodies are built around these boxy, blocky, quarter-note lines.

Because of this, and to give dancers time to get their steps in, hornpipes like to be played slower than most reels. And they tend to feature runs of triplets over the strong/weak pairs.

In contrast, most reels in the Irish repertoire are built around either melodic runs of eighth notes, or dotted quarter notes paired with eighth notes, or a mix of both.

Consider the opening of The Scholar: |dfaf gfeg|fdAG FGA=c|BGGF EFGg|fdec dcBA| etc. A series of ess curves unwinding as you go. Yes, you can swing it, play it with a dotted rhythm. Fine (if that’s your thrill). But try playing it with the same feel as the undotted but hornpipe-weighted rhythm of Harvest Home I outlined above and you’ll quickly kill the tune. At best, it will sound like a rather odd, rambling march.

Even when a reel nudges near to hornpipe-esque phrases, as perhaps the 2nd half of The Scholar arguable does, the dotted quarter/eighth phrasing makes it clear this is a different beast. The opening: |a2 af dfaf|dfaf bagf| is really ~a3f dfaf etc., and that first long “a” tells you that this isn’t meant to be split into two quarter notes. In fact, the most natural phrasing for this part parses out as |a3f df3|df3 bagf|. Trying to put that into weighted pairs of strong/weak quarter notes certainly damages the tune, and may result in personal injury as well. So you have a flowing line of eighth notes and dotted-quarter/eighth-note combos all in one reel.

Sorry for spilling so many words all over these fine tunes, but once it all soaks in you’ll never notice the stain.

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Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

That didn’t sound like a lecture at all, Will; it actually puts a lot into focus; thank you. The stuff way above, now *that* sounded like a lecture 😉 and I’m now wondering if I could have avoided it if in my first comment I’d left out the H-word entirely and instead just innocently mentioned that sometimes swing reels when I slow them down, and that that way then tend to stay slow…eh, no matter. Your last comment makes me glad I didn’t.

Anyway. Couple more questions for ya:

1. I’m not terribly familiar with The Scholar - I don’t play it, but I would have played closer attention when it was played tonight had you left your last comment before I went out! I just read the comments to both versions of it here (https://thesession.org/tunes/1752 - https://thesession.org/tunes/94 - which mention that it can be played as a reel or a hornpipe. You’re saying it’s got hornpipelike phrases in parts, but is essentially a reel - can you recommend any recordings that play it swung - I’d like to try to hear the difference between a swung reel and a hornpipe, with your distinction in mind.

2. Back to Cooley’s - if I’m properly understanding the way you’re talking about phrases, then there are a fair number of phrases in Cooley’s that conform to the boxy quarter note melody line you describe for Harvest Home: in particular, bars 3 and 4 in the A part, and then 11 and 12 in the B part. And there are plenty of reels where you’re bouncing between some home note on one string and varying notes on another string - St. Anne’s does this too, and Drowsy Maggie, and any number of other reels, and if I’d been pressed to transcribe those tunes from memory before I know what I know now about this music, I’d have broken those phrases into quarter notes, like you do with hornpipes. (For bars 3 and 4 of Cooley’s, I’d have come up with | F2 A2 B2 A2 | F2 A2 d2 F2|. But bars 1 and 2 don’t break up into quarter notes like that, and Cooley’s resolves in a dotted quarter/eighth note kind of structure.) Am I completely misunderstanding the rhythm of these reels here, or can reels conform to a boxy quarter note melody line at times, provided that that melody line doesn’t permeate the whole tune?

3. Related: hornpipes end with three quarter notes (occasionally dressed up), but is it necessarily the case that reels *don’t* end that way? Seems kind of anticlimactic if the the taxonomy of hornpipes and reels were that simple: 3 quarter note ending if and only if hornpipe. Can reels end that way if, again, that ending doesn’t permeate the tune? (It’s past my bedtime and I could be wrong about this, but St. Anne’s, as I play it, has a hornpipish ending. Damn, you know what? I’ve spent the last ten months unhappy with the way I play St. Anne’s, and now I’m thinking that it’s because I’m bowing it in a way that’s forcing it into this awkward quarter note melody line. Will have to work on that tomorrow.)

[paragraph-long, self-indulgent rambling about a tune I recently wrote, each of whose parts ends with three quarter notes but which overall feels more like a reel, omitted from this space.]

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Sorry, I’m not Will, but I might have a bash at answering those.

1) The dead giveaway in the hornpipe version is the BGBG phrase, which you only get in flings and hornpipes (see this tune for another example https://thesession.org/tunes/2461). The emphasis here is on the B’s - mainly on the first B - the downbeat. In a reel, this phrase comes out as BG~G2 or BG (3GGG or BG G/G/G, where the emphasis tends to come on the 2nd G - the backbeat.

2) If you play |FDAD BDAD|FDFA dAFD| with the emphasis on the downbeat each time as you have implied with your notation |F2 A2 B2 A2|F2 A2 d2 F2|, then it’ll end up sounding like a hornpipe. That’s probably why your mates are telling you they sound like hornpipes when you slow them down. In phrases like this, if you try mixing it up a bit and putting the emphasis on the backbeat sometimes you’ll get more of the feel of a reel. Try it like this (where 0 = no emphasis): |F2 A2 02 A2|02 F2 d2 02|.

3) The thing about the 3 quarter note ending is that it’s there for a reason. It’s there to emphasise the down beat for the dancers. The emphasis of those 3 quarter notes can be reflected in parts of the rest of the tune in hornipipes that are played well. Otherwise they just come out as slow reels with 3 quarter note endings, which are annoying and pointless. That’s why Irish reels often have part endings that end on something like |fdcA BG~G2||. That phrase doesn’t encourage downbeat emphasis in the same way as a |B2G2 G2z2|| ending would. Reels can end with quarter notes too, but rarely in Irish tunes. You’ll mostly find it in Scottish reels, which - crucially - have more of a downbeat emphasis than Irish reels, i.e. they’re played more like fast, straight hornpipes (the Flowers of Edinburgh for example).

Just remember that you’ve got to mix your accenting of notes with both hornpipes and reels, and it’s not that hornpipes emphasise the downbeat and reels emphasise the backbeat. Maybe the way to approach it is to try and emphasise the backbeat more in your reels if you find they’re sounding too ploddy and awkward in their quarter note downbeat emphasis, and likewise, if your hornpipes sound too ploddy in their backbeat emphasis and too much like a slow reel with not enough “attack”, try emphasising the downbeat more often.

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“hornipipes”? Oh dear…

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TDM, it’s past my bedtime, too, so I’ll keep my initial replies brief.

First off, I meant to include a waiver at the end of my previous post: “Exceptions are commonplace. Reels and hornpipes do not intermingle. Except when they do.” A fact of life for us trad musicians.

1. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a commerical recording of The Scholar. I learned it directly from another musician (who played it as a reel). So I’m no use on this one. Except to say that many reels evolved from hornpipes, and it’s not too hard to re-cast them as hornpipes. But it does usually require some surgery. It’s not the same as simply playing the same note sequence, and the two tunes would not be compatible, played over one another, at the same tempo.

2. Yes, some people get into a boxyness on bits of Cooley’s, but you can keep it reeling if you think of the 3rd and 4th measures of Part A (e.g., |F/E/D AD BDAD|F/E/D FA dAFD| ) being overlaid on |FD3 BDAD|FD3 dAFD|.

3. Again, some reels evolved from hornpipes. St. Anne’s and Flowers of Edinburgh are good examples of hornpipes that are predominantly played these days as reels, with their three-quarter-note endings intact. As other folks have pointed out here, the hornpipe-to-reel conversion is much more common than the reverse, though not all hornpipes survive the transmorgrifier so well. If a tune ends with three quarter notes, it was once a hornpipe, no matter how custom dictates it to be played today. But the lack of such an ending does not prove that the tune was never a hornpipe. Trad musicians don’t mind a few nips and tucks, altering a tune’s form to suit their purposes. And some hornpipes don’t feature the boom-boom-boom ending (think of Fisher’s Hornpipe, or Dance of the Honeybees).

The key point here is the distinction between hornpipe rhythm and swing. Swing alone does not a hornpipe make.

Good questions. Helps me clarify my own thinking on all this.

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… and not everyone swings hornpipes.

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Oh how I would love to attend a session with Dow, Llig and Phantom Button with my bodhran in hand. (not really)

The tempo would never be the same. (on purpose)

“Hey let’s speed up those airs and slow down the jigs and the reels? Hey dude, let’s play faster, faster and FASTER!”

Hey, I wanna sing “Danny Boy”!

LMAO 😀

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Strange, I feel sure I’ve met you at a session before.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Nothing gives me a dose of the ‘dry boke’ faster, than hearing the way some Scottish musicians play Polkas! e.g.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-rD_mpbvig


Can you just picture Set Dancers trying to dance to that?

Oh yes, & by the way, Monkeys do NOT grind Hurdy Gurdys, they grind Organs! ……. just thought you’d like to know.

Street Organ:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GgHaCnYmvw


Hurdy Gurdy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzInWiS7jQk


Cheers
Dick

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Excellent, Dow. Much to mull over there. I hope all the guitar accompanists are reading as well.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

~ a dose of the ‘dry boke’ ~

“The Kerrera polka” ~ more af a Schottische in treatment, but a composition that goes too many places anyway…

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Agreed, Jack. That’s really my point in all of this--too many people mistake swing for “hornpipe rhythm,” when in fact they’re not synonymous at all.

I generally prefer my hornpipes unswung.

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Thanks, Will and Dow - I’m glad that to have provided, however unwittingly, a forum for folks who know far more than I to explain so clearly the difference between swing and hornpipe rhythm. Lord knows I’d heard the two terms used interchangeably enough for me to get confused for the past two years. I blame the midi generator on concertina.net for cementing the conflation 😉.

And thanks for confirming my suspicion that the reel/hornpipe divide isn’t as sharp as some earlier comments on this thread might have had one believe, and that many a tune has “crossed the floor”, as it were, over the decades.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Dow did a much better job than my meanderings.

TDM, some tunes may have “crossed the floor,” but as a player, it’s important to know that these remain two distinct forms for all the reasons described above. The divide *is* clear, even if a given tune can be tweaked to fit on either side of it. The devil’s in the details.

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Yes, that’s what I meant, that there are tunes that can fit (and have fit) into both categories, not that the reel and hornpipe categories themselves are meaningless or even at all ambiguous. And now I’m going to post this comment before I start talking at length about Platonic forms of hornpipes and reels and whether they have any earthly representatives, and if so, what they are.

I’m learning.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

So gentlemen, The devils dream? hornpipe or reel?
What do you feel are the defining characteristics of these two musical forms?
C if your out there how would playing a fast hornpipe, a la harvest home , go down dancing a reel set?

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

“What do you feel are the defining characteristics of these two musical forms? ”

Good question! Will and Dow, would you kindly repost *everything you just posted in this thread*?

…jig, are you *trying* to be obtuse?

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

I’m getting a stomach-churning sense of nausea/deja-vu, reminiscent of events on this board a few months ago.

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Good on you, TDM. We’re all learning as we go, and passing along what others have shown us.

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no tdm ,just missed a rake of posts ….

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

I have to say that I’m less concerned with starting and playing every tune at the same or similar speed - though that is never my preference - but more concerned with tunes starting at one speed then being sped up, or slowed down, to the same damn speed as “the last one” or “the last time it was played.” To my great consternation, I note that almost every session I attend, (many but not all) musicians have a set tempo for all their tunes. If I a tune starts at one speed, then fellow sessioneers (or key sessioneers, usually with the louder instruments or rhythm devices in their hands) will almost immediately move the tempo up or down to their comfort zone - most I presume without noticing. Like the pirate said about his steering wheel belt buckle, “Argh!, It drives me nuts.”

But more to the point of the original post, it does seem that if we’ve just played 3 sets of reels at 115 bpm, then the next reel no matter at what tempo it starts, will end up at 115 bpm by time it ends.

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Hard luck fellah, Dont be bullied by louder aggressive pushy musicians, you get them in all walks of life. Still I suppose theres little you can do but grin and bear it, or leave.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

at the same speed is not music!
Does your session play jigs and reels at the same speed, basically as fast as possible and speeding up when you start a tune at a slower tempo? Arrrgh! I hate this. It’s not music! Was just listening to Altan thinking, “See, it’s possible to play at different tempos, making music instead of just grinding out tunes like a hurdy-gurdy monkey on crack.” Makes me sick.
it sounds like musicians who dont listen,session playing should be about listening to other musicians and following them,rather than attempting to hijack the tune,and dictating the tempo or pulse its insensitive and bad manners.

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Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

I dance therefore I dont get them mixed up simple really 😉
You should all try it sometime

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Will, it’s funny. I always hear scholar as a reel in these parts, but it’s in O’Neill as a hornpipe. Other than that, your analysis was spot-on.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Hurdy-gurdys seem to have that “creaky” an action that the monkeys never seem to be able to play them very fast/

The older players always seemed to “ease into” a reel, starting a little slower until they got going. No harm in that, if it is controlled.

Don’t the likes of Martin Hayes and Co. play everything at the same speed? i.e. slower and laid-back.

Re: Playing everything at the same speed is not music!

Whomever turned Reavy’s, Street Player hornpipe into a reel… would you please switch it back? I like that tune as Reavy originally intended it, why it’s now played as a reel by most people is anyone’s guess.