Wot’s a barndance?

Wot’s a barndance?

Can someone clevva please explain to me the difference between a barndance and a hornpipe swung in the normal Irish style? Ta.

Re: Wot’s a barndance?

Sorry Dow not able to help you but am unterested in what you mean by normal swing. Have just spent a while trying to find an old thread on swing myself!!! Am learning the fiddle and have just got a book of irish tunes with a cd, I listen to the tune and use the dots to help me hear it. When I played the result to my teacher she showed me that I was playing with dotted quavers when there where none on the music, I thought that was how I heard it but now am not sure if the drive on the1st and 3rd beat (twas a reel) comes from hanging on to the note for longer or just playing it with more emphasis - what do you reckon?

hope that someone more learned than me gives you an aswer to your original question - and when I grow up and can play I promise to try and answer the questions and not ask all the time "how do you do this? why can’t I do this? why is it this way? etc etc etc" :)

Re: Wot’s a barndance?

doh - just done a search on "swung" instead of "swing" and got some stuff - so save your typing fingers if you like, I got a whole lot of stuff to read!!!

Re: Wot’s a barndance?

"Hornpipe swung in the normal Irish style" was meant to be shorthand for "hornpipe swung in dotted rhythm as you’d hear it in an Irish session" as opposed to the way the same tunes are often played in the English/Scottish old style which is unswung, e.g. a tune like …erm, Staten Island.

Re: Wot’s a barndance?

The way you played the tune for your teacher was correct. The timing is dotted, it’s just not written that way. I have read that when it is written it’s much easier to write it straight, and the musician is supposed to know that if it is a hornpipe, it should be played with the dotted timing. That’s just what I have learned. Len

Re: Wot’s a barndance?

Isn’t the amount of swing up to the player? I never worry about what the dots show (except maybe on strathspeys). Jigs, for instance, would have no swing if played as written (well proven by a classical friend of mine who once learned a bunch of jigs from sheet music—the notes were right but as tunes they were unrecognizable). It’s just easier to write and read undotted sheet music, understanding that this *dance* music should swing a bit if you expect people to kick up their heels.

To me, barndances are individual—some want to be played straight and square as marches, and others beg for more swing. I tend to let the tune tell me what to do.

Posted .

Re: Wot’s a barndance?

Whenever (in a blue moon) a barndance turns up in a session I get some sort of Deja Vue resemblence or feeling that I know this rhythm.. Please bear over with me if this is because I’ve been under-exposed to barndances (or styles of it) , but here I go:

Over the years I’ve played a lot of scandinavian music for dancing, and i find that the barndance somehow has some of the same feel to it. I think it has to do with the swung or lilt - and probably the speed. The barndances seems designed to keep the masses moving and the floor swinging.

With hornpipes, on the contrary, I find that the peculiarity of the tune is what stands out - it’s more like a tribute to the tune itself rather than to move the surroundings (and more likely to be used as a show-off piece.)

Re: Wot’s a barndance?

I didn’t realise hornpipes were show-off pieces - I did notice that most tunes in the session I’ve been going to were jigs and reels. Is that why? If so, now I know why I’ve always wanted to do more hornpipes - I’m a show-off player at heart, but I do really love to play as a session player, with the crowd, too.

Ah, the sweetness of life!

Re: Wot’s a barndance?

Hmmm…I think of hornpipes as show pieces for dancers, not so much the musicians. You go slower than when playing reels, and emphasize the dotted rhythm, and watch the dancers’ feet fly. It’s a bit like playing treble jigs.

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Re: Wot’s a barndance?

Dow, A true barndance has a "quater note/quater note/dotted quater note/eight note" sequence in it. It usually pops up in the second bar of the B part & often also in the final bar of the A part.

As far as Hornpipes not being showpieces for the musicians I disagree, there are hornpipes like the acrobat, the banks, the golden eagle, the mathematician & a host of others that are yardstick showpieces. Sure there are the easy hp’s too, but there are more tricky hornpipes than any other kind of tune. Ever hear a showpiece polka?

Re: Wot’s a barndance?

Barn dances are on the slow side, in 4 and the tunes usually to match one,two,three hop.

Re: Wot’s a barndance?

I like to play hornpipes and barndances in the same way:
unswung or very little swung.

Re: Wot’s a barndance?

Touchy Mac - A showpiece polka? Try listening to Matt Molloy’s job on The Galway Piper on the album Shadows on Stone.

Showpiece polkas?

Or Harry Bradley and Jesse Smith duetting on "The Happy Birdie/The Bluebell" or The Flanagan Brothers’ take on "The Rose Tree" …