How do you define a reel?

How do you define a reel?

Hi All,
I have a friend that is a musician who is going to play Irish Trad. He asked me to explain a reel to him. I told him it is in 4/4 time, but was kind of stuck after that. For me it is like the politician who says he can’t define pornography but knows it when he sees it. Thanks
Lowhistle

Re: How do you define a reel?

Give him some typical reels, jigs and so on to listen to.

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

Reels are in cut time (2/2). That is part of what gives a reel its distinctive flavor, but most of it is a matter of style which cannot be conveyed by any means other than listening. It’s like trying to explain why Tchaikovsky sound Russian and Vaughn-Williams sounds English.

Posted by .

Re: How do you define a reel?

Asking to ‘explain’ what something sounds like is akin to asking what something tastes like. As Finn says, let your friend hear a few.

Posted by .

Re: How do you define a reel?

WAtermelonWAtermelonWAtermelonWatermelon

DOUbledeckerDOUbledeckerDOUbledeckerDOUbledecker

;)

Re: How do you define a reel?

Give him some audio examples from some good players, show him jigs, reels and some of the other tune-types to him. That’d be the best way for him to get a clue.

Re: How do you define a reel?

A reel is a tune to which you could dance a reel.

Re: How do you define a reel?

"Reels are in cut time (2/2)."

That didn’t take long…

Re: How do you define a reel?

Reels are very similar to hornpipes in many ways , eg a reel is interchangeable with a fast hornpipe, if they were in different time signatures this would not work; ergo they are in the same meter.
They are generally in 4/4 not as a poster above states ; 2/2 which is the classical [mis]understanding of traditional Irish reels and is probably why they sound so bad when trying to play them. Its an internet myth. Of course there are exceptions to every rule.
Historically Scottish culture was co-opted by the British Empire and military and changed in many ways to dis-empower the Rebel nation as the heart of a nation is its culture, music and language.SOP. Just as in Ireland over many hundreds of yrs there was systematic persecution and destruction of culture.
The written evidence clearly indicate that Scottish reels were often, historically, played in 4/4 , and also that the methods of writing pipe music down have changed considerably for the worse . Where as traditionally pipe music could be read by anybody it has become an obscure code that does not represent whats actually played unless you are conversant with the system of the new approach. A sad loss that is being remedied by the site here with masses of priceless information:
http://www.ceolsean.net/content/mindex3.html#anchor11

These works are crucial in regaining our heritage and fight against misinformation. They are real actual documentary proof and give evidence that is shaking the piping world, albeit slowly!

In fact the ongoing research by people like Donaldson are slowly bringing issues to light that are well overdue……..

Re: How do you define a reel?

in my opinion hornpipes have more in common with jigs.

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

A reel is a tune to which you could dance a reel.

# Posted by Mix O’Lydian 42 minutes ago.

Sorry but this is not the case as you can dance a reel to a hornpipe played fast and you can dance a HP to a slow reel, they are interchangeable because they are the same meter.

Re: How do you define a reel?

I will not debate this further. Facts are facts. If you think a hornpipe played fast sounds like a reel, the matter is easily settled: find a recording of a hornpipe and speed it up. I think you will find that you can’t get it to sound anything like a reel. When you play it yourself, you can play a hornpipe as a reel, but you must change the meter to do it, not simply play it faster. Any experienced trad player reading this can perform this simple test, so that’s as much as I will contribute to this thread.

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Re: How do you define a reel?

Ailin, I am in agreement

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

It was Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart who wrote the (in)famous line about being unable to define porn, but knowing it when he saw it, in his concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio. Not a politician.

That’s all from Pedant’s Corner today. Carry on.

Re: How do you define a reel?

I said they are interchangeable, not that they sound the same . I already linked on the last thread a set of reels with a hornpipe in the middle, https://thesession.org/discussions/34172#comment727244 and any player knows quite well that they can be interchanged just as the video of the Scottish country dance offers absolute proof. I offer plenty of written evidence above , for those that read music….. I am still waiting any evidence at all from the 2/2 camp to bolster their position …. not one link , not one, yet …

I play the Scholar as a HP, yet here its also a reel, as well as a HP. Explain….

Re: How do you define a reel?

«Any experienced trad player reading this can perform this simple test…»

I just have Ailin. I took two pairs of hornpipes & reels that start off basically the same: Home Ruler & Miss Lyon’s (Up against the Bouchalawns), and Boys of Bluehill & Boyne Hunt.

I played each pair, starting off with one tune or the other, either very slowly and gradually speeding up, or faster and slowing down, swapping between the two as I go, and for the life of me I can’t see where in the process I change meter, and yet at one end I have a hornpipe and the other a reel.

Two things to bear in mind here. First, if you can’t speed up a recording of a hornpipe and get something sounding like a reel, this may be because many hornpipe melodies are structured quite differently from the way many reels are structured. But some are close enough, certainly in parts, to make a comparison possible, such as the ones I mention above.

Second, people play hornpipes in different ways - straighter or swingier. And the same goes for reels.

Third 😉 I don’t much care for all the arguments about what meter what type of tune should be written in. Or is in. But I do know that making hard and fast rules about traditional music is a perilous undertaking. Formulate any such rule and it’s only a matter of time before you hear some great player flouting it. This might be the only rule you can safely make, in fact. 😀

Re: How do you define a reel?

There have been plenty of examples, but as is typical, you simply ignore evidence that proves you wrong and pretend it was never provided.

Personally I think 2/2 is more accurate, but it also doesn’t really matter because the conventions intended by those time signatures don’t really apply to Irish music (and vice versa). And as Steve says, they’re hardly hard and fast rules that must always be adhered to.

The bit about hornpipes and reels being in the same time signature is just weird. It’s not like Irish musicians haven’t:
1. Regularly used the same melodic material for many different tunes and tune types
2. Regularly molded existing tunes to suit new purposes
Flings for example, regularly get pushed into service as reels, hornpipes, slides or single jigs. So the fact that a hornpipe might be used in place of a reel proves absolutely nothing about its time signature.

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Re: How do you define a reel?

Plenty of example nico? really? ok link me one……
If a tune changes meter, from 2 to 4 , or 3 to 4, there is a huge change of feel like reggae into ska or a waltze into a jig , if the meter stays the same then there is no major change of feel.
Remember the scholar…….

Re: How do you define a reel?

On Macalla’s album Mna na HEireann, two hornpipes The Chancellor/Paddy O’Sullivan’s are played "unsyncopated", just "straight" so to speak. As hornpipes they’re played at quite a nippy pace so they do sound like mid-paced reels. I also have a recording of Jackie Daly and Mick O’Connor (banjo) playing the same two, which Mick gave me years ago.
https://thesession.org/recordings/1713

In O’Neill’s the tune we normally call The Shakeen (reel) is written as a hornpipe The Shaskeen Clog.

Mark Evans on A Rival Heart plays the reel The Cedars of Lebanon as a hornpipe, before launching into a set of reels.

And Jackie Daly on the album with Seamus Creagh plays The Bird in the Bush syncopated and slowed, as a hornpipe.

My point is, I wouldn’t get too worked up about defining these too rigidly if it doesn’t worry the likes of Macalla, Daly and Evans.

Re: How do you define a reel?

I agree to an extent,but IMO its really important for backers to understand the fundamental meters to the tunes.
One student of mine, a top classical guitarist, was playing a jig wrong, he was stressing equally the first and 4the note giving the feel of a 3/8 , So with my help he was able to attain the feel of the original. Its very easy , when learning at distance to make errors, that would be corrected instantly with a teacher in front of you.

Dont let internet and book learning supersede your eyes and ears.

Re: How do you define a reel?

Define a reel? Don’t worry about the time sig for the moment - how about 8 notes per bar, beamed as 2 groups of 4.

Lots of bars, probably about 32, eg 2 lots of 16 bars. In each group of four notes, the 1st and 3rd note are slightly longer than the 2nd and 4th notes.

The accent (by volume) can be on the 1st and 3rd note of each group of four. Or only on the 3rd note, but the pattern of accents can vary a lot.

How’s that for starters?

Re: How do you define a reel?

that describes a hornpipe just as well jim 🙂

Re: How do you define a reel?

[*that describes a hornpipe just as well jim 🙂*]

OK, Mr Will. How’s this :

Reel : In each group of four notes, the 1st and 3rd note are slightly longer than the 2nd and 4th notes.

Hornpipe : In each group of four notes, the 1st and 3rd note are *significantly* longer than the 2nd and 4th notes.

In Humpaclump hornpipes, where mascara is used copiously, and bells are attached to legs and ankles, the 1st and 3rd notes are unfeasibly longer than the 2nd and 4th, and massed accordions are used for the accents.

Happy now? 🙂

🙂

Re: How do you define a reel?

Alright then what about Barwick Green. It is certainly lumpy, but is it 6/8 or 12/8? For all the Muricans out there - I mean the signature tune to the Archers. There probably is mascara (much of it streaked because it is a soap opera); don’t think there are bells, but there might be the odd maypole.

Re: How do you define a reel?

It also sounds like a slow 4

Re: How do you define a reel?

So the difference between a hornpipe and a reel is in how you play it….. 😎 what a surprise …..



As a general Rule reels are in common time and they are our most common form of music. They get danced to in Scotland in 2/2 but the pipers are still playing 4/4 . So if a definition is that cut time is 4/4 played very fast that it gives an illusion of 2/2 I would accept that as being fair enough . But the simple fact is that in general they are written as they are played in 4/4 and that no error is being made by pretty much everyone who writes reels down. This site for example has not made an error when following the standard and writing reels as 4/4 .
Due to Nicos rather unpleasant accusation I invite him to back up his words with links and evidence to support his slander, which surely should be quite easy…. without this a simple apology will do.

Re: How do you define a reel?

I watched the link Road, amusing but I cant say i was impressed, the guy cant even play a simple 5 …but anyhow we are talking about Irish reels…… so go to Ireland, learn to play and dance a reel ….. Nothing else needs to be said….
If you go to the link to the last thread I gave above , a couple of clips show clearly the difference between a 4 step and a 2 step reel. My links were to highlight the contrast between 2 steps and 4 for dancing a reel, showing the battering step from Clare and the Scottish country dance step .

@Eiluned. its not just the Americans who dont have a clue what the archers sound like…..what possible relevance would it have anyhow? the clip is in a 2.

Re: How do you define a reel?

"the clip is in a 2"

Actually it could be considered 2 or 4 or 6 or 12. That is the point. It is played as a 12 beat phrase, but the time sig is 6/8, possibly because the composers were paid by the bar (possibly at the bar) and you got more if you made it 6/8 (which feels like a 2 - hence 6/8 marches, because we have two legs). The point really is, as others have said before, it doesn’t really matter what the sig is (unless it’s simple time when there’s a vast difference between 3 or 4). The difference when playing a reel or hornpipe is purely in the playing and not in the time sig. Those new to any trad tune would have to be nuts to solely rely on dots and everybody has said really that folk need to listen to good examples. There seemed to be a heated argument developing about … ?

Re: How do you define a reel?

@Eiluned. it does matter. not when going back over a recording and analyzing it , though you do confirm i was correct its compound 2/4 but there is no music written in 12/4 that i know of ? or is there ?
. It does not make so much difference to a fiddler or fluter , though as a piper its a very important matter , but the main reason to clarify the matter is not for the fiddlers but for the backers……. If they get the false impression from the internet and classical learning that reels are 2/2 then they will be playing the wrong beat , like playing 3 over 4 every 12 bars your in the right place…….
They are reels , not walks…..

Re: How do you define a reel?

And that, Will, is why I am ready to retire. 😉

Re: How do you define a reel?

When I play a piece of music whether tune or backing, I rarely bother to actually identify the numbers and I know nobody else I play with who has to do that. The clues are purely in the music. If people were bombarded with numbers in a session, the effect would be at best stilted and at worst totally confusing, so it usually best to lay off the topic. If people really had to be told the time signature, they would be a nightmare to play with.

BTW compound time is generally measured (written) in 1/8 note beats (quavers) i.e. 6/8 (simple jig) 9/8 (slip jig) 12/8 (slide). It is perfectly possible, but utterly meaningless, in the context of trad music to talk about any compound time grouped in 1/4 note beats (crotchets). The phrase "compound 2/4" doesn’t make any sense although I know what you are getting at in that it is compound duple time - 2 lots of 3 quavers.

Re: How do you define a reel?

@ Will: Ha Ha Ha ad infinitum!
I’ve a career full of such meetings 🙂
I would point out that the original problem is imminently doable if one simply redefines "perpendicular" as "parallel".. Obviously the others in the room would nay know the difference!
Finding parallels might be considered a form of "collision avoidance", applicable in many of life’s arenas!
😎 😉

Re: How do you define a reel?

Just for fun: I took a look at Francis Collinson’s definition in Oxford Music Online.

***Do we need to start a discussion about his claim that "it is now a favourite dance-tune type among traditional instrumentalists"? It seems it could be controversial.

Some more bits below:

Reel
(Anglo-Saxon hreol; Suio-Gothic cognate of rulla: ‘to whirl’; Gael. ruidhle, ruidhleadh).

An indigenous and probably very ancient Scottish dance. The reel contains two basic dance elements: a setting step danced on the spot, and a ‘travelling’ figure, i.e. movement in a particular pattern. One of the earliest specific references to the reel as a dance is in the report of the trial of the witches at North Berwick in 1590 …



The reel has existed in Scotland in a number of forms, with qualifying names such as ‘threesome’, ‘foursome’, ‘sixsome’ and ‘eightsome’; these indicate the number of dancers.



The music of the reel is of a rapid but smooth-flowing quaver movement in alla breve time, minim = 120 (ex.1). Orkney and Shetland have their own species of reels and reel tunes, some of which are obsolete… .

Re: How do you define a reel?

Mix O’Lydian: As Yogi Berra said, "You can observe a lot just by watching."

Re: How do you define a reel?

@ Will and Home: Another posthumous Beckett play. Could be mapped directly onto opera production meeting with composer … &&&& … house manager. "But how will you get that platform up in the sky while people are jumping on it? And if you don’t want any cables to show? But want spots on each one?"

Re: How do you define a reel?

I was having a few tunes with a couple of mates one time when a lad came in, bought a beer, and sat and watched us play. When we stopped, he showed great interest, said he also played the guitar, and asked my friend what he was playing. My friend, having that sort of mind, proceeded to describe in great detail using music theory and comparisons with other types of music, what he was doing on the guitar. The whole dialogue lasted about fifteen minutes. I say dialogue because it couldn’t be described as a conversation: the other lad just nodded from time to time.
He never came back.
I often wonder what would have happened if my friend had just offered him his guitar with the words, ‘Have a go.’

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Re: How do you define a reel?

Lo Whistle: how come your friend has decided to play Irish music but doesn’t know what a reel is yet?!
That’s like deciding to be a chef in an Indian restaurant and not knowing what a curry is!

Re: How do you define a reel?

It’s also like becoming Secretary of State for Education and not knowing a thing about education.

Oh. Wait…

Re: How do you define a reel?

ok, but the Scotts came from Ireland…..Ireland was the seat of learning where the Scottish islanders went to study medicine and music.
Much later during the clearances whole villages moved to Nova Scotia/cape breton taking their indigenous traditions with them. Since then the music and Dance of Scotland has changed while the emigrants kept theirs.
So we can see that Sean nos dance of Scotland and Ireland were much closer than the Ballet influenced tradition we have now in Alba. The tradition of ear learning and improvisation within the pipeing world was squashed by the rote book learning of the British Military.
Culture holds the spirit of the nation, the music the language , traditions the art, all of it. To invade and occupy a foreign nation is relatively easy compared to holding that nation under bondage and the British devised an approach of co-opting the culture and twisting, dis-empowering it as opposed to the earlier successful attempts to smother Irish culture such as the acts of Kilkenny.

Re: How do you define a reel?

How do you define a reel?

"Hi All,
I have a friend that is a musician who is going to play Irish Trad. He asked me to explain a reel to him. I told him it is in 4/4 time, but was kind of stuck after that. For me it is like the politician who says he can’t define pornography but knows it when he sees it. Thanks
Lowhistle

# Posted by LoWhistle 18 hours ago. "
The best way to define a reel, is to provide clips of players [who have established reputations] playing reels, and not to get bogged down in how they may be notated, notation on paper can never be 100 per cent accurate.

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

@ Will Evans: "Historically Scottish culture was co-opted by the British Empire and military and changed in many ways to dis-empower the Rebel nation as the heart of a nation is its culture, music and language.SOP. Just as in Ireland over many hundreds of yrs there was systematic persecution and destruction of culture.

These works are crucial in regaining our heritage and fight against misinformation. They are real actual documentary proof and give evidence that is shaking the piping world, albeit slowly!

In fact the ongoing research by people like Donaldson are slowly bringing issues to light that are well overdue……..”


At the risk of sounding coarse… WTF??? They may take our reels, but they’ll never take our FREEDOMMMMMMMMMM?

"so go to Ireland, learn to play and dance a reel”…. holy cr@p Batman. Music allegedly hath charms to sooth the savage beast, but I’m still reeling from this tirade… and no pun intended… off I go to compose The Axe Grinder Reel…

Re: How do you define a reel?

"Lo Whistle: how come your friend has decided to play Irish music but doesn’t know what a reel is yet?!
That’s like deciding to be a chef in an Indian restaurant and not knowing what a curry is!"

I have to disagree with the idea here - when I first started playing tunes, I was learning them by hearing other musicians play them then learning to copy what they did. I have a good ear for picking up where the emphasis should be, the pulse, the notes that are slightly longer etc.

In some cases I recorded the performance then copied the recording, in some cases people had specifically sat down with me and showed me how the tune went and how to play it.

I quickly pulled together a list of about 6 or 7 tunes that I could play but knew them only by their name and couldn’t tell you which were reels, marches, polkas etc.

You can’t be a chef in an Indian restaurant and not know what a curry is but you can certainly play Irish music and not know what a reel, polka, march, hornpipe etc are. Quite simply put, I know this to be true because I have done it myself!

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Re: How do you define a reel?

@yhaalhouse: "That’s like deciding to be a chef in an Indian restaurant and not knowing what a curry is!”
Actually it’s more like trying a curry in a restaurant and deciding you’d like to be able to cook one yourself. The friend in question doesn’t want to be a master composer and sage of all things reelish, he just wants to learn and is honest enough to a admit he’s starting at the beginning. Some of the posts here are, to put it politely, elitist, if not downright condescending and insulting to newcomers…

Re: How do you define a reel?

How do you define a curry?

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

Please, use another simile, Curry was adopted and anglicised from the Tamil word kari meaning ‘sauce’. there is no such Indian dish as a ‘curry’. thanks

Re: How do you define a reel?

No idea, but they’re pretty damn tasty.

Now we’ll have the whole history about how the indigenous Indian culture was subverted by nasty invaders who made them eat curry and the real Indian food all ended up on the other side of the world… 🙂

Re: How do you define a reel?

There are some rather interesting interpretations of history being bandied about in this thread.

Medieval Scottish clan physicians used classical and Persian texts to train in medicine: Galen, Paracelsus, Hippocrates, Avicenna, Avarroes, et. al. Not Irish texts.

Re: How do you define a reel?

The curry/spice analogy rears its ugly head once again.

Re: How do you define a reel?

I didnt say they used Irish texts, I said they went to study in Ireland to study music and medicine.

@footering about .The Colonial Invasion and Genocides perpetrated by the British Empire all over the world is no laughing matter . History teaches us lessons that are best learned before its our children being bombed……

Re: How do you define a reel?

"there is no such Indian dish as a ‘curry’"

Quintessential!

Re: How do you define a reel?

"There are some rather interesting interpretations of history being bandied about in this thread. "

Not to mention baldfaced menue revisionism!

Re: How do you define a reel?

"Please, use another simile, Curry was adopted and anglicised from the Tamil word kari meaning ‘sauce’. " thanks.

Please, don’t copy and paste from Wikipedia and pass it off as your own original thought. thanks.

Re: How do you define a reel?

Saves typing it out…what are you on about teagan , its a historical fact i learnt as a kid , not anyone’s thought or opinion……

Re: How do you define a reel?

So, answering the original question, How do you define a reel? Looks like I’m the only one who has :

Minimum criteria :

* A tune in the even time sig family

* (Assuming 8 notes per bar), in any group of four notes, the 1st and 3rd notes have a very slightly longer duration than 2nd and 4th notes

* The accent (by volume) can be on either : the 1st or 3rd note, the 1st and 3rd note, or only on the 3rd note in each group of four.

That’s my answer to an extremely simple question, and I think would be of value to a first-timer, say someone who was an accomplished musician and (eg) played Handel Sonatas.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with advising someone to listen to good reel players, but that doesn’t answer the original question.

At this stage we’re not interested in an exact time sig, or the 972 ways your fave players, past and present, add indescribable nuances to the music.

Instead, we’re interested in discussing everything totally un-related to the definition of a reel 🙂

Re: How do you define a reel?

Will -

You’re painting in very broad brushes. So much I’d like to respond, esp. re: Donaldson, Gibson, Cannon, Cheape et. al., but I’ll keep it simple. When you say "pipers", it would helpful if you were more specific. Are you talking about solo and competition pipers? Dance-style pipers, e.g. Hamish Moore? Modern era pipers, e.g. Gordon Duncan, Fred Morrison? Very different approaches depending upon who and what you’re talking about.

Matt

Re: How do you define a reel?

It’s always good to see how these things get sorted out in such congenial discussions.

Hmmm, plenty of professional and amateur cooks of Indian food (let’s say with Indian ancestry for simplicity’s sake and to avoid more discussions of colonialism and such) refer to curry: my experience has been as follows: Usually the confusion arises when curry is referred to as a spice, which it is not, although there is a curry leaf. Usually the clarification is that it is instead a *method* of cooking. In "Savoring the Spice Coast of India," Maya Kaimal writes, "from the fruits and vegetables in her garden, my ain’t conjured up ‘dry’ curries, ‘wet’ curries, curries with coconut, curries with yogurt, hot chutneys, sour pickles, and highly seasoned * dhals* (legumes)."

Well, that’s one person. Regional/international variations in etymology/practice definitely expected. (Hmmm….)

Re: How do you define a reel?

"Saves typing it out…what are you on about teagan , its a historical fact i learnt as a kid , not anyone’s thought or opinion……"

Searching "curry" on Google, selecting the first result (Wikipedia), selecting some text, pressing Ctrl+C and then coming here and pressing Ctrl+V "saves typing it out"?

Re: How do you define a reel?

"So, answering the original question, How do you define a reel? Looks like I’m the only one who has ."

Not at all Jim. You provided what is called a "lexical definition", which explains the meaning of a term by using other terms whose meanings are assumed to be known. But this is not the only form of definition, and it is not the most useful form of definition in many circumstances, for example when a concept is difficult to explain using words. As we have seen all too clearly in this discussion, the term "reel" is just such a concept.

I therefore provided what is called an "ostensive definition", which explains the meaning of a term by pointing to examples of things to which the term applies. Ostensive definition is a far better approach to the definition of the term "reel", as it would equip a learner to play a reel correctly, unlike your lexical definition.

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

What’s your evidence people went to Ireland to study music and medicine? People traveled back and forth between Ireland and Scotland and there was an interchange of knowledge, and some of the families in Scotland were orginally from Ireland and vice versa but they didn’t have to go to Ireland to learn medicine. The Scottish dynastic physicians had translated Galen, Paracelsus, and the other classical texts into Gaelic.

Re: How do you define a reel?

Fair enough matt and i appreciate your input to narrow the brush down a bit but im not sure exactly which post you refer to?
I have to ask then what is this difference ? Ok i accept your modern day category as being distinctly’ out of the box’ but what exactly differentiates H Moore’s approach IYO from the other catagories?
Pretty much every piper has been through the rote book learning and refer to specific settings in their playing and id be interested in pipers that didnt such as per Barry Shears’s recordings of the old guys, i presume you are familiar with his work?
I have 150 odd GHB CDs and there are very few IMO who stand out indeed from the pack; James maclean[sp?] PM Angus MacDonald, , John Burgess, Donald Macleoud, Jim MacGillivray, Dr Angus MacDonald and Jack Lee…… would be the first come to mind.
Who would you mention as being outstanding ?
what post were you refering to?
I also find the recordings from the late 19th C and early 20th as being intriguing though almost unlistenable! 🙂
@ Dr SS Its in Donaldson or Shears work but im on the road and my library is at home but I guess you can check your own copies….

Re: How do you define a reel?

@ rosemariemcsweeney
"…my ain’t conjured up…"
That would be her ‘Aunt’ Shirley. 🙂

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Re: How do you define a reel?

Wow!!! I did not expect this when I posted yesterday. Thank you all for the history lessons. Regarding the similies; I think he has just tired of playing with the same people the old favorites. I told him how he can go to a session, and play with a variety of players playing tunes. I met up with him a couple of weeks later, and he told me he was taking up ITM. I don’t understand the reactions above. A person has to begin a journey somewhere. It did not then, nor does it now, seem to me to be an unusual question. I may be wrong reading the submissions above.

Nonetheless, thanks.
LoWhistle

Re: How do you define a reel?

what instrument does he play?

Re: How do you define a reel?

[*Ostensive definition is a far better approach to the definition of the term "reel", as it would equip a learner to play a reel correctly, unlike your lexical definition. *]

@Finn - as I already said, learning by aural example is good - it doesn’t take much to be able to figure that out - but you still didn’t provide an answer to the question. If you don’t agree with my definition, then please provide you own. It doesn’t really get any simpler than that.

You know, someone could ask for an explanation of a reel, be told to listen to Frankie Gavin, like what he heard, and still be none the wiser as to what it is, how it’s constructed musically, and how to attempt to learn to play it, without either - being manually shown step-by-step, or getting a grounding of what it is, by means of a written description.

Re: How do you define a reel?

Jim,

You provided what is called a "lexical definition", which explains the meaning of a term by using other terms whose meanings are assumed to be known. But this is not the only form of definition, and it is not the most useful form of definition in many circumstances, for example when a concept is difficult to explain using words. As we have seen all too clearly in this discussion, the term "reel" is just such a concept.

I therefore provided what is called an "ostensive definition", which explains the meaning of a term by pointing to examples of things to which the term applies. Ostensive definition is a far better approach to the definition of the term "reel", as it would equip a learner to play a reel correctly, unlike your lexical definition.

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

i agree finn, but only if theyr pointed in the right direction and that is People like Bobby Casey, Paddy Canny etc if they are pointed towards some you tube clips i dread to think what might happen!!

Re: How do you define a reel?

What is the correct time signature for a curry?

Re: How do you define a reel?

"What is the correct time signature for a curry?"

Right now!

Loves me some curry

Re: How do you define a reel?

I covered that in my initial 12-word response Will, when I said "typical reels". You might be interested to know that you are already up to 1088 words.

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

A pretty good reel I always use as an example is called "Flogging the dead horse".

Re: How do you define a reel?

@ Finn, that doesnt cover it at all., there is no such thing as a typical reel. everyone plays them different, no 2 fiddlers or players alike, in fact its rare enough for anyone to play it twice the same through, and every tune is unique with its own rhythmic harmonic and melodic structure. Reel is a catch all term for a huge spectrum of traditional tunes. with not even the basic meter in common as some do indeed appear to be in cut time, such as st annes reel.
A ‘typical’ reel played as by Bobby casey is a totally different thing to one played by Johnny Doherty ,and light yrs away from most you tube clips of struggling novices and the like
and no im not in the slightest interest in your word count, did you count them yourself?😉

Re: How do you define a reel?

"A pretty good reel I always use as an example is called "Flogging the dead horse".
Oirish-I’ve heard that one played as a hornpipe. I believe it’s called The Redundancy.

Re: How do you define a reel?

1200 words now Will, where 12 would do.

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

tell you what , why not give a few examples of other forms of music in 2/2 we can compare to ? If there is an argument to support the classical understanding , lets see it. All anyone has said is its in 2/2 because they say so!! according to what they learnt on the internet awhich is according to Classical musicians!! ……
@finn its hardly for you to tell me how many words i can or should use ! Please mind your own business.. thanks .

Re: How do you define a reel?

I just had a curry. I had to make sure they still exist. They do!

Re: How do you define a reel?

@gam: "…my ain’t conjured up…"
Ha! As they say, I am every slightly tickled by you, beloved autocorrect!
Funny thing is my regional accent is "a" (somewhat closer to "ont" as in "ontology"), and I have never converted to "ant." I seldom say "ain’t" here in the Ivy League, but perhaps I should start.

@5stringhorsauce: "What is the correct time signature for a curry?"
3
50
covered
Then simmer in the air.

Re: How do you define a reel?

3-word answer:
"Let’s play one!"

4-word answer:
"Let’s play one!"

27-word answer:
"Would it please you, sir/madam, to tear it up? Perhaps ‘Instruct the Coachman to Flagellate the Expired Horse Before Preparing the Curry’ would be to your liking?"

(Fact-checking on numbers welcome!)

Re: How do you define a reel?

"I have 150 odd GHB CDs and there are very few IMO who stand out indeed from the pack; James maclean[sp?] PM Angus MacDonald, , John Burgess, Donald Macleoud, Jim MacGillivray, Dr Angus MacDonald and Jack Lee…… would be the first come to mind."

All those you named are serious competition/military style pipers. Generally, reels played slower, with heavy ornamentation, with a feel of 4 beats to the bar. Hamish et. al. play in a very different style. Faster, with swing, with light ornamentation, with a feel of 2 beats to the bar.

Earlier you said "They get danced to in Scotland in 2/2 but the pipers are still playing 4/4.", hence my point that you seemed to be painting with a broad brush. Highland dance reels are very different than ceili dance style reels, and no piper playing for a ceili dance would be playing competition style reels.

Matt

Re: How do you define a reel?

@Rosie - you’re a devil 🙂

@Finn - I think you are missing my point entirely. You’ve read my post, and I asked you to give a reel definition in words, as I did (or disagree with mine) - but you skipped that entirely.

Your reply actually contained 266 words, 133 of which were repeated, although I got the message the first time round 🙂 It wasn’t just an accidental double-post, either.

In any case, I fully understood what you were saying.

On the topic of definitions and their explanations, if you watch any instructional fiddle or violin video done by a good teacher, note the amount of words and the time taken in explanation, compared to the time spent playing notes. As I mentioned before, listening to an exemplar is good, but very often it doesn’t answer the simplest of questions, like that asked by OP, unless there is an understanding of what is going on. Often that can only be transmitted via words, either verbally or in print.

Re: How do you define a reel?

Ah ok got you, fair enough. I know Hamish’s music as a border piper Ive not heard him play GHB much , though there was the suit thing they did but by its nature it has to be regimented for 4 pipers to play together , or was that Finn? Anyhow its a different kettle of fish on BP which i don’t class as a particularly Scottish instrument anyhow, Unlike reel pipes. So Perhaps I should have been more specific.
{ kettle of fish? where did that saying come from !? }

Have you seen the old movie ’ whisky galore’ bit of piping there for dancers.

Can you link to recordings demonstrating your point? ie known competition pipers playing for danceing .

edit; Thanks for the links you gave but they are playing very different instruments with very different traditions.

Re: How do you define a reel?

oh, and they tap 2 to the floor on the strathspeys… and what setting is he useing for the last two reels? Is he not playing Peter Maclouds setting of the first tune, followed by the GS Maclellan tune…… Id say its note perfect straight from the book , its a bloody hard tune to pick up by ear anyhow the first one , I bet he got it from the same source we all did…. A great combination but somewhat over done at this point no? IMO your links support my argument.

Re: How do you define a reel?

some real variations here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3UIkJN7r9Q


I have to say that the upswing of pipers breaking the mold has been helped in no small part by the scholarly work of Donaldson , the texts at ceolsean etc, that has denied the revisionists their main weapon; control of the texts and control of the discourse which has allowed a genuinely Scottish and fresh approach to the Music to again blossom. In fact surprisingly the Bothy band were very influential here, the young pipers of the day were looking for something as exiting and uplifting that was not present in the Military /competition style/ with its rigorous emphasis on every thing note perfect from the book, but sadly a lack of emphasis on simple musicality……

<<It’s in 6/8. It’s not lumpy, it’s atrocious. >> well said 🙂

Re: How do you define a reel?

<<It’s in 6/8. It’s not lumpy, it’s atrocious. >> well said 🙂

…almost as bad as my Efinofl Violin Concerto, but not quite 🙂

Re: How do you define a reel?

Who said it was wonderful? The page says 6/8, but the music is played as a 12/8 possibly for the reasons I mentioned above - if you haven’t had it played at you approximately 10 times a week since birth like many Brits, you won’t know that. The point being made was that time sigs are often fluid things in the hands of the interpreter - you cannot believe always what is written down.

Stop dissing the Home Service - some of us are very attached to it 😉

I’d like to hear the Efinofl - intrigued.

Re: How do you define a reel?

"No matter how they are notated, you play reels like reels. There is no such thing as a 4/4 reel or a cut time reel. It is the same beast, captured two different ways in a notation system that wasn’t designed to capture The Music. I have an accompanist friend who likes to start from sheet music, who was puzzled when I gave him a set of sheet music notated in cut time. It took me a long time to convince him that this was not something different than the other reels we have played together. "Then why would they write it like that?" he asked. He seemed to think that it must have been something done on purpose, to capture some nuance that made this tune different than others.
But that is not the case. Can we move on now?"

Thank you Al Brown from the other thread. This is what I was trying to say. The dots never are THE MUSIC.

Re: How do you define a reel?

< The dots never are THE MUSIC. >

How true, especially if its a, Folk or Traditional type of Music .

f4

Re: How do you define a reel?

Jim,

If you had understood what I said about lexical and ostensive definitions you wouldn’t keep asking me to provide a lexical definition of "reel". I explained that ostensive definitions are used when a lexical definition is difficult or impossible. Lexical definition can be difficult or impossible where sensory experience is involved, for example it is impossible to provide a lexical definition of visual phenomena. "Green" for example can only be defined ostensively, by pointing at things like grass, emeralds. This is why you can’t explain colour effectively to a blind person.

It is difficult or impossible to define "reel" effectively using words, and it is a waste of time trying, and I am not going to waste my time.

It is easy and pleasurable to understand what a reel is by listening to typical reels. It’s also essential.

Q. How do you define a reel?
A. Ostensively.

One word.

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

"I know Hamish’s music as a border piper Ive not heard him play GHB much , though there was the suit thing they did but by its nature it has to be regimented for 4 pipers to play together , or was that Finn? Anyhow its a different kettle of fish on BP which i don’t class as a particularly Scottish instrument anyhow, Unlike reel pipes."

Border pipes and reel pipes are essentially the same instrument. Finn plays/makes both. And the term "border pipe" is a debatable and more modern term in any event. The point is the music, not the instrument.

Perhaps you’re thinking of Na Tri Seudan, Hamish and Finn’s ensemble featuring GHB pitched in A. Although they are playing in unison, it’s not the same unison, tempo or rhythm as competition solo or band piping. Again, I think you’re painting with a broad brush.

Re: How do you define a reel?

Correction. I followed your spelling. It’s Fin, not Finn. 🙂

Matt

Re: How do you define a reel?

Seems, as ever, most don’t know their bhindi ghosht from their mutton khottu.

Re: How do you define a reel?

No Reel pipe and border pipes are not essentially the same instrument, unless you consider they are ‘essentially the same instrument as the GHB’ ? Which of course is not the case , just look at Nate Bantons Border drones much closer to Uilleann pipes than reel pipes, let alone the big pipes!!
Reel pipes have a much bigger drone bore than border pipes, try bellows blowing a set and you will find out very quickly that you are sorely mistaken in equating the 2 instruments !!
Yes they are both bagpipes but here the resemblance ends the chanters are similar but a reel pipe chanter is not a border pipe chanter, they have a different bore , different volume and tone .
Border pipes are a much more subtle beast with various semitones not necessarily accessible with a reel pipe chanter which is much closer to a GHB sound ,they are 7/8th of a full set in fact. Also border pipes are just as English as Scottish with a different repertoire , different approach to grace note etc etc s


Actually Matt isnt it you painting with a broad brush attempting to equate 2 different instruments with different traditions…..cheers

Re: How do you define a reel?

Then I think you still don’t understand what I was saying.

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

Of course I understand. I asked a simple question, you were unable to answer it, and you explained why.

Re: How do you define a reel?

@ Finn, there was nothing complicated in your posts, very logical and accurate, to a degree. People can understand, just disagree!
For example your approach is no better for explaining colour to a blind man or sound to a deaf man, in fact completely useless while a verbal explanation useing similes and explaining in terms of senses they can feel. for example relate color to different spectrum of waves such as sound can convey enough information to effectively allow a blind man to understand aspects of color in relation to senses they do have. Im sure a little thought would bring up many other examples where your approach fails at the first post. Youve also not made any actual links to demonstrate the explanation you consider suitable.so here is one to demonstrate how useless your approach could be.

An ostensive explanation of a reel; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0ELNJA_B2U

Re: How do you define a reel?

No Jim, I explained why nobody can provide an effective lexical definition of a reel. I wasn’t talking about my personal ability or inability, I was talking about the objective impossibility of lexical definition of such things as reels and colours.

But if you and Will want to carry on demonstrating your lack of understanding, that is fine with me.

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

Finn, both Will and I do understand perfectly well what you are trying to say. We just happen to think you’re wrong, that’s all.

As for a definition of a reel, there are many sources where you can find this. Here’s one online :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reel_(dance)

You’ll notice that it covers what I’ve already explained, and it goes into a bit more detail too.

Almost anyone who can play a reel would have the ability to give a basic explanation, like I did.

Whilst it’s true that it’s hard to describe green grass to a blind man, apart from the obvious difficulty there, you’d be trying to describe the adjective ‘green’ - difficult in itself because the adjective itself is a descriptive word. A ‘reel’ on the other hand, is a noun, and happens to be quite easy to describe, as I just demonstrated.

A definition of a reel won’t describe the sound that Paddy Canny or Frankie Gavin make when playing a reel, but it’s more than enough to explain a ‘reel’ to a musician from another genre, who is musically literate, and how it’s quite different from a Handel Sonata, and different from a double jig, waltz or slow air.

Re: How do you define a reel?

If you told someone who had never heard a note of Irish or Scottish music to play a tune consisting of quavers or eighth notes with accents on the first and third beats of the bar, as the Wikipedia article describes, it probably would not sound like an Irish or Scottish reel. That’s the point Finn was surely making.

Given that Wikipedia also uses Mhairi’s Wedding as an example of a reel, that article is clearly pants. No version of Mhairi’s Wedding that I have ever heard sounds like a reel.

Re: How do you define a reel?

Its notated as a polka here, a much better fit as it has a strong 2 count but the melodys phrases indicate a longer four count with a question and answer format. Is it 2 or 4 😉 discuss

Re: How do you define a reel?

@Finn: ""Green" for example can only be defined ostensively"

Or perhaps …
Green: Color perceived for light with wavelength between 495 and 570 nanometers.

I have found (for science students anyway) that that definition works well even for blind students.

But, I do agree with your more general point about ostensible versus lexical definitions. The effective way to explain reels is by examples.

Even so, there is a bit of subjectivity in the idea of effectiveness of explanations. Some people apparently need to have a lexical definition (even a poor one) to aid their understanding. It is one of those pedagogical things — not all people react to various learning modes in the same ways.

Re: How do you define a reel?

Hi Fiddler3,

Sadly, that lexical definition of "green" will not put the blind person in the same position as the sighted person. They still won’t understand what "green" means in the way the sighted person understands it.

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

Perhaps the heading of the OP has led to a misunderstanding. The comment, "He asked me to explain a reel to him" would suggest an ostensible answer, while the title "How do you define a reel?" would suggest a lexical answer.
The joys of the English language!

Posted by .

Re: How do you define a reel?

PS
Ostensive, that should be, not ostensible, which is rather different.
Accursed English language!

Posted by .

Re: How do you define a reel?

It’s just classic mustard dialogue with overkill 🙂

Someone asks a simple question - and gets direct (and I think) sensible answers - one from Finn (the 2nd post in the thread) and one from me (defining a reel in terms of notes, time sig and accents).

No one has disagreed with Finn on his 1st answer, and no-one has disagreed with the actual content of my definition.

So, all is well 🙂

Re: How do you define a reel?

…and Doc has provided a nice wee clip too 🙂

Re: How do you define a reel?

Will -

I claim no expertise as a player or scholar. But, as the host, founder and organizer of the Vermont Bellowspipe School, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have heard, for more than 25 years, the finest Scottish trad. music on the planet played in my kitchen and home on an annual basis. Reels played Hamish, Fin, Anna Murray, Gary West, Iain MacIness, Nate, et. al. on border pipes, reel pipes, small pipes and GHB. As well as fiddles, whistles, etc. And I watched feet pound my kitchen floor all those years. If I know anything at all, which may not be much, especially when it comes to words like "crochet", I know that nuance and context is crucial in these discussions. It’s the feel I’m on about, not the counting. The feel is very different depending on the context.

As of a couple of years ago I no longer host the School, but in two weeks Hamish, Fin, Iain and Alasdair White (fiddle) will be gathering nearby in Vermont for the 26th annual school. I’ll be there, I’ll bring up the issue, and I’ll report back. 🙂

Re: How do you define a reel?

@Jim Dorans

The Efinofl rocks - I can’t get the tune out of my head now! 😉

Re: How do you define a reel?

A reel is the terminus for a musical form, that nearly always has a AABB structure. Parts A an B consist of 4 bars each, that are repeated. You would also find parts, that are a bars long, but aren’t repeated then.
It has has a 2/2-metre. Notation as 4/4-metre is common, but actually not correct: One bar has two beats with the duration of a minim, the first and the fifth note are stressed. It is notated nearly exclusively in quavers.
Also, a reel is played in high tempo, especially, when played as dance music. And also a reel is the music for a special dance. That’s what the German wikipedia tells about it.
More information here:
http://www.ceolas.org/tunes/TuneIndex/intro.html

Re: How do you define a reel?

Thank you Max. Can we now hope that your post will mark the terminus of this thread?

Re: How do you define a reel?

No way am I going to go back and read this thread.
I’m just surprised it dragged on this long. I expected there was a fair bit of arguing and such?
lol

Re: How do you define a reel?

Yep, and plenty of dead horses were flogged, and much curry was had by all.

Re: How do you define a reel?

Yes.

Re: How do you define a reel?

Curry, hmm.
I really must try some of that some day, I’ve heard it’s really good.

Re: How do you define a reel?

great Matt, I make border pipes and i have 2 sets of Cocus Henderson Reel Pipes so I can attest to the accuracy of my information.

I do actually play a border chanter with my reel pipes …. 😉 but I removed a tenor drone to balance them in.

The closest chanter to the original Henderson chanters is a MacHarg GHB chanter, somewhat smaller than normal. I also Have a HM chanter and a Swayne Border chanter. as well as my own.

Re: How do you define a reel?

You make Border Pipes, Will? What’re those?

Re: How do you define a reel?

Bellows blown bagpipes.

Re: How do you define a reel?

Max touches on a parameter to which I fear we have given short shrift due to lack of time and words: the *form* of the reel. In all seriousness, the syntax of the tunes and their formal design—though/because they have similarities to other tunes types—could really help to define that special "je ne said quoi nine que j’écris beaucoup" of the réel. (Again, in earnest: it does seem this discussion has gotten blurred with the reel/meter discussion. Which is fine, because then we all get to say everything a second time, with more emphasis.)

(The formal aspect is something I want to investigate further one of these daylets.)

Re: How do you define a reel?

After listening to this argument, I must say "doubledecker watermelon" is the best description ever….


Double decker watermelon mustard curry

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

Double Decker Watermelon mustard curry with anchovies. Honestly, let’s just listen to the little f***ers and do what comes naturally and musically.

Re: How do you define a reel?

Well, I though my last post would have would everything up in an amicable way! Still amicable, I guess.

{*The Efinofl rocks - I can’t get the tune out of my head now! 😉*}

@eiluned - sorry about that (heehee) … well, if nothing else, I hoped that would show two things : 1. I do have a sense of humour, and 2. it’s a stark reminder to musicians the world over - never, ever take yourself too seriously 🙂

Re: How do you define a reel?

bellows blown pipes, eh? Are they anything like the elbow pipes? (sorry, I’d rather not butcher the word)

Re: How do you define a reel?

Same mechanism as uilleann pipes for getting air into bag, but Highland pipe fingerings — more or less — and scale on the chanter (one octave + the note below the octave). And quite a bit louder, although less loud than the Highland pipes.

And the word is spelled u - i - l - l - e - a- n - n, for future reference. 🙂

Re: How do you define a reel?

theres a lot of variation in border pipes. from ;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxwdAm957tI

to;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaw02HWofAI

My chanter has a high B key which opens up the range considerably and the lower C natural gives access to minor modes as well It also has a good Ab [G#}so A major tunes are easier .
Any chanter can be reeded up within a range of volume so for example if you regularly play with a Uilleann piper its possible to reduce the volume of a border chanter to match it better and different makers have different designs with different bores that give different tones.

The Traditional design for Pastoral pipes are also GHB/Border style fingering but closer to Uilleann pipes in many ways, ie in low D with access all the way to high C 2 full octaves with 1 more notes than the Uilleann chanter, its descendant. They can be played on the knee or off, when on the knee they offer a similar range of expressive possibilities as the UP but no access to staccato [a silence between the notes obtained by closing all holes including the bottom of the chanter.]

There is a common thread between all these bagpipes but they are each quite unique in essential characteristics.

Its great to see and be part of the resurrection, evolution and development of these various forms of pipes.

Re: How do you define a reel?

At some point, long Mustard Board discussions become (in words borrowed from the Bard’s Scottish play), "…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
Show of hands—has this one reached that point?

Re: How do you define a reel?

So, thanks to all at once and to each one,
Whom we invite to see us crown’d at double-decker watermelon with mustard.

Re: How do you define a reel?

@AlBrown: Perhaps this thread has reached its terminus but is it really up to you or I to say so? 😉
After all, we are free to read or ignore the posts we choose and I, for one, have enjoyed and seen merit in many of the posts on this thread even with those I may disagree with.

I understand that there are some on the board who think that "The Music" defies "Musicality" and can ONLY be learned by listening to those who play it "properly". (Perhaps that’s why they don’t post any tune settings.)
Others here may appreciate having the tune section here to share tunes and, for those, notation is not a trivial exercise.

I would not want to stifle the comments of anyone if they’re expressed in a civil manner.
There are many discussions originated here that I don’t find interesting and don’t read.
I should think everyone has a similar option? 😎

Re: How do you define a reel?

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but scrolled here
While these musings did appear.

And this weak and idle thread,
No more yielding than the hardest head,
See it growing ever yet?
Know ye not how long these discussions get,
When someone is wrong on the internet?

If you pardon this cheeky puck
we will mend it with a little luck:

The only way this thread can end
And push us all not’ round the bend
Is to be silent till at last is heard
Will Evans getting the final word.

Re: How do you define a reel?

”All knowledge is fraught with error if it is not grounded in experience of the real world"

Leonardo Da Vinci

Thank you cheeky elf for your excellent contribution. However I have to point out that only discussions that are locked contain the concept; ‘final word’ as most can be resurrected years later and anyhow the final word here belongs to Jeremy, not me.
That said I think we can all agree that these people are all real authorities on the music and they offer excellent ostensive definitions ;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF0b35jn-Ts


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96bKIE37gwQ


"

If there really is a ‘final word’ on this thread then it belongs to people like this so here is a lexical definition from another Authority ;
Liz Doherty defines reel as: "1. A variety of solo or group step-dance done to the music of a tune-type of the same name. 2. The most popular tune-type within the Irish tradition. In 4/4 time it consists largely of quaver movement with an accent on the first and third beats of the bar.”

Re: How do you define a reel?

And the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in poetry goes to Cheeky Elf!

Re: How do you define a reel?

Once again I want to thank all the contributors above for their very spirited discussions. In the end I went to my buddies house the other night, and I played a couple of reels on my flute. He understood what I was trying to tell him, but a listen is worth ten thousand words! He has begun his introduction to ITM. Thanks again.
Lowhistle

Re: How do you define a reel?

Cheeky Elf, to use a phrase my granddaughter is fond of, "You are MADE OF AWESOME!"

Re: How do you define a reel?

"That said I think we can all agree that these people are all real authorities on the music."

I will grant someone an authority by virtue of experience and the regard they enjoy, but only over matters that are subjective. If they are wrong about the facts, their being an authority counts for little. So-called authorities are frequently wrong about the facts, so I am only persuaded by someone who can make a compelling case and will take the time to address the points that I make rather than belittling them or simply saying I am wrong.

As for this thread, I once again withdraw to the shadows to which I said I would remain early on.

Oh, and a major bravo to Cheeky Elf!

Posted by .

Re: How do you define a reel?

Actually Aillin youve been given plenty of evidence and provided none, you have made no points at all, nothing , not one example, youve not engaged with any of the clips I make because you cant, you have no position to stand on, you have argued this point for years with no evidence , nothing appears to be able to educate you because it seems your mind is already full with your book learning. All youve done is tell us your ‘opinion’ . You profess to be knowledgeable about music yet didnt even understand basic music theory , !!you knew nothing about single reels , double reels, danceing reels the lot in ‘30yrs ’ of playing the music!! Ive never seen anyone who knows so little put up such a spirited defence of an undefendable position so fair play.
Even a well know lecturer on Irish traditional music and top traditional musician knows nothing according to you. Youd be wise to remain in the shadows as you do seem to put your foot in it when you speak on this subject . You might think this post harsh , and it is, but it is merely a response to your arrogance and condescension where by anyone who disagrees with you is automatically wrong .
You do yourself no credit or any of the people you mislead with your posts on this subject. cheers

Re: How do you define a reel?

Liz Doherty defines reel as: "1. A variety of solo or group step-dance done to the music of a tune-type of the same name. 2. The most popular tune-type within the Irish tradition. In 4/4 time it consists largely of quaver movement with an accent on the first and third beats of the bar.”
http://creativearts.ulster.ac.uk/staff/l.doherty



As an academic Liz currently holds the post of Irish Traditional Music Lecturer at the School of Creative Arts, University of Ulster. Following the re-location of Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin to Limerick in 1994 she took up the position of Irish Traditional Music lecturer at University College Cork and taught there until 2001. She has taught courses at Cape Breton University, Canada and at Marshall University, West Virginia where she was the Edwards Distinguished Visiting Professor of the Arts in 2001. She is associated with various universities and institutions as a supervisor, examiner and guest tutor; these include the Irish Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick (External examiner on the MA pogramme, 2009), Dundalk Institute of Technology, RSAMD, Scotland and Instituto Universitario de Estudios Irlandeses, Amergin, La Coruna, Spain.


Her own PhD research combines her performance and academic interests with the fiddle music of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia being the topic of her 1996 doctoral dissertation. In terms of publications she has presented and published a number of papers and keynote addresses on Cape Breton music and is currently working on ‘The Cape Breton Fiddle Music Companion’, an encyclopedic guide to the tradition (with Cape Breton University Press). She has contributed papers and articles on various topics relating to Irish traditional music and Cape Breton music in a number of publications; she published a book on Donegal fiddle master, Dinny McLaughlin in 2005 and was co-editor of the proceedings of Crosbhealach an Cheoil/The Crossroads Conference. Liz is currently Chair of the International Council for Traditional Music, Ireland.

I think it fair to say that she knows what she is talking about .

Re: How do you define a reel?

Hi, Will. I was amused to see your Liz Doherty quote in the Companion to Irish Music. Amused because, if you turn to page 308 of the original edition of the book, the two examples of reels that are given with her entry have cut time (a C with a line through it) as the time signature. The same time signature that is given for the reels in O’Neill’s Music of Ireland, by the way. I’m sure I have contributed many, many compelling arguments, even if you think not, but rather than look back for them at this late date, I leave you with these.

Posted by .

Re: How do you define a reel?

Re: How do you define a reel?

Give him some typical reels, jigs and so on to listen to.

# Posted by Finn O’Connor 6 days ago.
This post says it all.

Posted .

Re: How do you define a reel?

Dear Cheeky:

Is that "scrol’d"? Or scrollèd?

And:
"And this weak and idle thread" is in 4/4?

And:
"No more yielding than the hardest head": also 4/4, with sixteenths yielding on the second beat? (A bit of extra cardamom, me thinks.)

As Dorothy Parker said,
"But say my verses do not scan, And I get me another man!"

In other words, I concur with AlBrown.

Re: How do you define a reel?

I’m more of a jester than a bard, but I do what I can. 🙂