Barndances, Germans, Hornpipes, Highlands, Flings, Highland Flings, Schottisches etc.
I started a thread a while ago asking what barndances were. I notice that ceolachan has been posting a lot of info on these in the tunes section, and I’ve been reading with interest in the hope that I might be able to finally sort them all out in my head (I’m not a dancer and know nothing about the dances). I’ve started learning some barndancey tunes recently, and would like to learn more, but I’d like to learn them knowing what’s what.
So, can someone tell me if the following is right or wrong?
1) Barndances and Germans are the same thing.
2) Hornpipes and barndances are similar in that they both have a skippy, swung rhythm, and part endings that contain 3 quarter-notes.
3) Barndances differ from hornpipes in that they have “fewer notes” in them, and the quarter-notes appear at any time during the tune, not just at the end, making the phrasing more laid-back and lyrical and less complicated.
4) Highlands are like slowed down single reels, and have a similar skippy, swung rhythm to hornpipes and barndances, but are half as long.
5) Highlands have reel-type part endings and not hornpipe-type quarter-note endings.
5) Flings and highland flings are the same thing as highlands.
Please correct any of the above statements. But if what I’ve read adds up and they’re true, then:
A) Are half-length hornpipes like Miss Galvin’s really highlands?
B) Do Highlands have to have scotch snaps like strathspeys?
C) What’s a schottische? Is it the same thing as barndances and Germans? Why are they sometimes written in 2/4?
D) The Scottish often call reels what the Irish would call hornpipes, and play them in straight rhythm (I’m thinking of tunes like De’il Amang The Tailors/Devil’s Dream), what’s up with that? And what about reels like “The New Rigged Ship” which have those quarter note endings to the parts? Should these be called “hornpipes that are played like reels”, or “reels that have a hornpipe structure”?
I know that the genre of a tune doesn’t really matter. So please don’t write back saying “stop getting hung up about it and just play the tunes”. I’m posting this because I’m genuinely interested and want to know more.
Incidentally, I’ve also noticed that there’s a movement to start separating these tunes more in the database. I have to say, my initial reaction to this was “what’s the point - they don’t get played that much anyway what with all the jigs and reels”. But then I started mulling it over, and I’m starting to think now that the database has grown heaps since the tune genres were first set out, and there is now a considerable number of this type of tune, but they’re all over the place in the database. Since there seem to be people here who know the differences between these genres, would it be worth sorting out?
I’m not bothered either way, but I thought it would be interesting to bring it up in discussion and see what people think.