Observations about Irish versus American traditional music
Hello recently I’ve been spending a lot of time studying American traditional music and, I’ve noticed some things. First of my observations is that American reels are more like Irish polkas than Irish reels. What I mean by that is that there’s less notes. There are more long notes then short. It’s more like one eighth note and then one dotted quarter note and two quarter notes. Irish reels on the other hand are more "notey" if that word makes sense. It’s more like all eight notes in a measure instead of quarter notes. Also one thing I noticed is that American reels are more floaty. Like don’t get me wrong Irish reels aren’t set in stone either but I think we can all agree that variations are limited it has to be set to a certain rhythm so it’s a little harder to just to leave notes out or substitute them for long ones. That’s not as true with American music. People are a bit more loosey-goosey with the melody in American traditional music also known as old time. Another reason I compare American reels to polkas is because they often have lyrics set to the melody. Like britches full of stitches and Maggie in the woods. Irish fiddling is full of energy American fiddling is more laid-back I find. It’s more long bow Strokes then note after note after note after note. Anyway these are just a few of my observations. They’re just what I see. They could be wrong, but I don’t think so. Anyway I’d love to hear you guys and gals thoughts on the subject.