3/2 Hornpipes - a question.

3/2 Hornpipes - a question.

Written collections that I’ve come across (e.g. ‘John of the Green: The Cheshire Way’, ed. John Offord) generally seem to notate 3/2 hornpipes in 4-bar phrases with no repeats - unlike a lot of other English and Irish tunes which tend to fall into an ‘AA BB’ pattern. Can someone who knows about 3/2 tunes advise: is this unrepeated-short-phrase format how they’re commonly played and danced?

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Re: 3/2 Hornpipes - a question.

In my experience of English sessions, 3/2 hornpipes are generally played as 16-bar tunes (or higher multiples of 8, for tunes with more than 2 parts). That is AA BB (CC etc.), except in the case of tunes where one part takes up a full 8 bars without repeats, when it would be, for example, AA B, to conserve the 16-bars.

In the context of the English dance tradition as it has been handed down, there is no dance to fit a 3/2 hornpipe. But their inclusion in Playford’s ‘Dancing Master’ suggests that they were danced to in former times; as does the existence of dances in other European countries following broadly similar rhythms (Breton hanter dro, Swedish polska).

Re: 3/2 Hornpipes - a question.

Leaving aside historical authenticity, 3:2s often work fine for a dance that would go well with slip jigs.
In our English ceilidh band we generally use 3:2s for the dance Roger de Coverley

Re: 3/2 Hornpipes - a question.

@TomB-R : Thanks. I sometimes play for English ‘ceilidhs’, working with a few different callers and I am always surprised at how flexible the dances are with regard to tune type - for a given dance, one caller might prefer reels or polkas, whilst another caller will ask for jigs. I suppose the important criteria are i. number of bars/parts and ii. duple or quadruple time (2/4, 4/4, 6/8 , 12/8) vs. triple time (3/4, 3/2, 9/8); perhaps simple vs. compound time determines whether the dancers have more of a walking/running gait or a skipping gait.