Hornpipe speed for dancing.

Hornpipe speed for dancing.

Does anyone here dance the hornpipe? What is the ‘correct’ tempo? There seems to be huge disparity between dancers and musicians. The Scottish version appears to be pretty strightforward; but the Irish version seems to come in different categories. I am told that 113 bpm is advanced, and 140 for novices — which seems the wrong way round to me — and I find it peculiar to say the least playing at either of those speeds. Meanwhile musicians as usual play just that little bit faster than is humanly possible. Help.

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Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

Step or set dancing. Quite the difference.

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Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

The advanced (step) dancers take the tune slower, because they’re doing more intricate steps to the tune. I’ve seen hornpipes in competition be a lot slower than 113.

Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

OK thanks all — that makes sense.

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Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

Reverend -
You could not be more right, our Hornpipe’s are like slow reels in a session.. But when your with the Girl’s with Curl’s, and there on heavy shoe’s they keep shouting at you,
” THAT’S TOU FAST ” - In a Norn Iron accent - lol..
jim,,,

Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

Also depends on how you count the beat. I get 60 bpm (quarter note per beat) on that clip of the Liverpool Hornpipe. Which is spot on for an advanced dancer.

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Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

"It may be a hornpipe, but not as we know it Jim" (Star Wars - The Riverdance Saga)
When I first played a hornpipe for a dancer it was in the style of the Sailor’s Hornpipe type of tempo. However, over the years the tempo slowed so much that the tune is nearly in a 6/8 time sig. I like it myself as I like watching the amount of tricky footwork that they put into it, and it also gives me a chance to play one of those awkward hornpipe tunes that I have trouble playing in the old style rhythm.

Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

Paddy Power — I think you need a new slide rule lol

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Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

I like that fact that there are so many takes on the tempo (and swinginess) of hornpipes. Makes it more interesting to listen to them as they come up.

Also makes them often the most awkward tune type to join in with in a session as the approach of the guy that started the set can be completely opposed to your own. I generally opt for listening if this happens. If you are styraining you aren’t adding but taking away. And anyway if you like this music you should be able to enjoy listening to it 🙂

- Chris

Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

What’s going on with the counts here, folks? Will, are you sure you didn’t misread your metronome mark as 60 when it should have read 80? Mine is spot on 80 (again, counting quarter note per beat).

Not that it matters. Point is, it was nice and slow for some really beautiful footwork.

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Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

Ah … light may be dawning … try waiting til the fiddler and dancer warm up a bit.

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Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

I’m using a metronome with a "tap in" button so I can click on the beat every time. When I tap in time with the dancer, I get 58-60 bpm. When I tap in time to the fiddler’s foot tapping, I get 56 bpm.

For our purposes, a range of 56 to 60 (112 to 120) bpm is where this hornpipe is being danced.

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Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

It was a lovely clip. Nicely played and danced. That has to be the springiest dance floor I’ve ever seen though!

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There seems to be a bit of confusion here folks, as regards the TYPE of bpm.

If we look at the sheet music of the Liverpool as given on this site in the tunes section you’ll see that the quarter notes are not as slow as 60 in relation the dancing clip. They are quarter notes in the range of 112 to 120 bpm.

If you are counting at 60bpm then you are counting in half notes not quarter notes.

For what it’s worth I tapped the quarter notes at 116, still inside the given range here.

Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

I just timed it four or five times on my stopwatch. The structure in the clip is AAABBA. I timed from the first note* of the 2nd A to the first note of the 4th A, with results ranging from 65.71 seconds to 65.85 seconds (varied reaction time for me and the watch mechanism). There are 128 quarter notes (and 64 half notes) in that stretch. This gives results ranging from 116.6 to 116.9 quarter-note beats per minute (and 58.3 to 58.4 half-note beats per minute).

Paddy and Ethical are way off; everybody else is, for all practical purposes, correct.

*ignoring the pickup; first downbeat.

Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

Dear Professor,

I congratulate you on your in- depth research on the subject which has produced some very interesting data. However, I contest your result that there 128 quarter notes.

Assuming zat ze music is in 4/4 or 2/2 and the musician is tapping his foot two to the bar, he plays eight bars each of AAABBA, which you quite rightly identify. This gives 48 bars in total; the sum of 192 quarter notes not 128 . No need to ignore the pickup because this extra quarter note value can be deducted from the final bar which keeps things nice and tidy.

I suspect that your error was probably due to an overload of work heaped upon you by the Department Of Exact Science In Traditional Music And Tune Transcription Effectively Realized.

Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

Oy, you’re mistaking me for someone else.

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Granny,
You didn’t read carefully enough. The segment I timed did have 32 bars. I did not time the first A or last A part. It’s hard to predict when to start the stopwatch before the music actually begins, and the very beginning often has a somewhat unstable tempo, so I wait until the second A to start the watch. It’s also easier to start and stop the watch on a downbeat than on a pickup, so I also omit the final part.
And, yes, I did notice the acrostic. Very clever. All that matters is that 73 and 80 are pretty far off the mark.

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Wow, it just shows we shouldnt believe what we read on the internet ! Will and Al are right of course - except my tap-in makes the fiddlers foot 58-60, not 56 ! A computer effect ??

Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

Sorry Professor I meant another ‘professor’.

Sorry Gary I didn’t clock you’d only timed a portion of the piece instead of the full structure you’d identified. I suspect that my error was probably due to an overload of work heaped upon you by the Department Of…………….etc.

Wow! Don’t know what you’re reading on the internet David but Will is only partly right in as much that you can’t call the tempo in terms of note values (Will started talking about it in quarter notes) unless you specify the time signature and relate all the other note values to it.

That is why I said to refer to the transcription here and look at the sheet music. https://thesession.org/tunes/1500

If you don’t do this then you won’t understand the point. Looking at the transcription here you can see how using a quarter note in the range of 112-120 bpm gives the tempo, and how you can understand that the fiddler in the clip is tapping his foot on the first and third quarter note beat of each bar if you are counting in quarter notes (counting in 4) or the first and second half note beat if you are counting in half notes (counting in 2).

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Heck, we can see the fiddlers foot and hear both the tune and the dancers feet. What more do we need other than a timing device and to agree if we are counting 2 or 4 to a bar ? That’s why the example serves to clarify.

Re: Hornpipe speed for dancing.

Absolutely. I agree with you. In this instance the clip is all you need to understand the speed – by listening, that much is obvious.

This thread got drawn into a discussion on terminology such as bpms, quarternotes, half notes, bars and so on which needed some clarification, that’s all.

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In answer to "gam"’s post, the reason the advanced is slower than the novice is the advanced dancer will have extra pattern steps which requires a slower tempo, where the novice is doing the basic pattern step and does not require the slower tempo.
Most novice dancers I play for is generally around 140BPM in 4/4 time, where the advance is 113-118 being closer to a reel.