Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu26Y0DXyT8


I always seem to end up with loads more jigs in my repertoire than reels. I actively try and get more reels but then still the jigs seem to overpower them.

I think it is because I find it harder to find reels I like vs. jigs. Ones like cooley’s and pigeon on the gate I find uninteresting and most the videos/audio I hear of reels seem of a similar stock to those kind. Emily’s reel on the other hand is beautiful and I have been really eager to learn it this week.

So I would like to hear more suggestions of like reels. I would say what I like in a real are interesting twists and turns and well whatever you can think of similar to the above-mentioned as that one really hits the spot for me.

I have given up being concerned about whether a tune is popular in sessions because most likely if it is I would probably not like to learn it. Not always the case of course but the ‘war horses’ are probably going to be akin to pop music in that it is made for a mass appeal and easier to learn.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I don’t know how long you’ve been playing this music, but remember to revisit your statement in ten years: "the ‘war horses’ are probably going to be akin to pop music in that it is made for a mass appeal and easier to learn.."

The "war horses" are popular because they are lovely, beautiful music. The more I play them the more I appreciate them. I feel the same way about the Bach unaccompanied cello sonatas and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

Beauty is subjective, but this much is true: war horses like Bucks of Oranmore are not easier to learn. I suspect tunefulness, which is to say humability, contributes more to a tune’s popularity than ease of play.

Only you can determine the tunes you want to learn. If you prefer jigs, play on! Skip the reels, by all means. Life will still hold some level of fascination, I’m guessing.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I should add that Emily’s is not an Irish tune. It was written by Mark O’Connor (American) and owes more to the old-timey and Bluegrass traditions, so you might want to explore those options. A fine tune, nonetheless.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

@P_C: I would put it the other way around and say that new tunes of the kind that appeal to you are actually more like pop music: they are often the latest hits recorded by prominent bands or recording artists who have to look beyond the "war horses" to be original and sell records.

« I have given up being concerned about whether a tune is popular in sessions because most likely if it is I would probably not like to learn it. »

What I take from what you say confirms what I have observed in the wild: that people who approach the music from (what I call) the pop end of the spectrum often don’t enjoy traditional sessions because, although they can play a few (or many) newly composed tunes, often they know very little of the standard repertoire. (Which btw also makes their presence at traditional sessions a bit problematic for those who have lots of standard repertoire and little or no pop/fancy material.)

But the thing is, to be any good at this caper, you need to be able to take The Pigeon on the Gate and make it your own, make it into something that will please you and everyone else. I suspect that if you heard Seamus Egan do a number on it, you might be as enthusiastic about the bird on the fencepost as you are about the above tune. (Or you would, once you were able to appreciate what he was doing with it.)

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I think "Kitty Got a Clinking Coming From The Fair" is a lovely tune, and my peers do too. There’s definitely an aesthetic sweetness and brightness to it. I play it as a fling, in single form instead of double; but others do play it as a double reel as well.

https://youtu.be/kP5_9A8P47o

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

"I should add that Emily’s is not an Irish tune. It was written by Mark O’Connor (American) " Hmmm! ???
AS it says in the tune section that Emily’s Reel was composed by Otis Thomas (Cape Breton) I just l looked it up ont’tinternet, and there seem to be around the same number of claims either way. Can anybody clarify?

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

It doesn’t matter. It’s not trad and it’s not Irish, nor does it sound Irish, so finding like tunes, though not impossible, does introduce a hurdle.

What I read is that MO’C wrote it for Emily Ma, Yoyo Ma’s daughter. The two have recorded it together and there are other recordings with Mark. No one else.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I will try to answer your question, but keep in mind that the way it is played has about as much to do with its beauty as the tune itself… Here are a few reels that I like that aren’t the "warhorses" (I agree with David, the super common tunes are common because of how great they are, but you also get a lot of people playing them somewhat poorly which can tarnish their reputation).

Highest Hill in Sligo (Ed Reavey) https://thesession.org/tunes/5295
Windmill (Ciaran Tourish) https://thesession.org/tunes/193
Cap And Bells (Josephine Keegan) https://thesession.org/tunes/3005
McGreevey’s (Johnny McGreevey) https://thesession.org/tunes/3065
Last House In Connaught (Paddy O’Brien) https://thesession.org/tunes/1667

That ought to hold you for a while 😉

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

Gobby - Emily’s Reel :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DreJerSU9vo


In the comments, there’s one by Mark O’Connor :

"I wrote Emily’s Reel for Yo-Yo Ma’s daughter Emily. I wanted to thank him for performing Appalachia Waltz at an all Bach Cello Suite concert he gave in NYC. I just couldn’t believe that he added it. I walked around the streets of New York that night writing this tune for their family in thanks. MOC"

Yo Yo Ma is the cellist who played with him on the recording.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

It would help if people listened to the clip in the OP.
Mark O’Connor has indeed written a tune called "Emily’s Reel", but that’s not the tune in the clip. It’s "Emily’s Reel" by Otis Tomas and recorded by Jerry Holland.

I’ve visited Otis a couple of times. You find his house (at Goose Cove, if I remember) by going up a forest track until you get to the last electricity pole. The first time we got covered in mud by the over-friendly greeting of his two large dogs. The second time we got to play one of his fiddles before the varnish was applied - a wonderful sounding instrument.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

Emily is not a terribly uncommon name.

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And, funnily enough, I see the Otis Tomas "Emily’s" has been recorded by Seamus Egan.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

You may also like, Union St. Session (Paul Cranford), and The Harum-Scarums (Otis Tomas).

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

Thanks Donald.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

These reels are pretty to my American ears:

Laurel’s reel, also Cape Breton I think. https://thesession.org/tunes/4160

Sunset reel. https://thesession.org/tunes/908 It doesn’t sound traditional to me at all.

Altan’s album Ceol Aduaidh has a set called simply "Germans". It contains Maggie’s Lilt, the Durham Rangers and If We Hadn’t Any Women in the World. All three are nice and can be found here. My American ears tend to be pleased by tunes that have the genre of "German" or "Barndance" or "Breakdown".
Maggi’s Lilt https://thesession.org/tunes/3180
Durham Rangers https://thesession.org/tunes/3376
If We Hadn’t Any Women in the World https://thesession.org/tunes/1376

Crested Hens. https://thesession.org/tunes/562 I think we play the third version. It’s very sad sounding.

The Red Bee. https://thesession.org/tunes/1057

Aran Boat Song. (Not a reel but it does not sound like a jig to me.) https://thesession.org/tunes/986

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

Sorry that I skipped right past the clip. Seamus Egan could make Happy Birthday sound like magic, but I must say I find nothing noteworthy about this reel. If the op likes this reel, but not others, I fail to understand what qualities are being sought.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I agree….. I find nothing noteworthy about this reel. As you said earlier Ailin, "Beauty is subjective". Personally I still love both Pigeon on the gate and Cooley’s.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I agree, it’s probably not one I would learn mysf but it sounds pretty good ahed by Jerry Holland.

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I have to admit though Donald, that I feel quite envious of your meeting with Otis Tomas, and getting to play one of his fiddles. I am GREEN!

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

"I should add that Emily’s is not an Irish tune. It was written by Mark O’Connor (American) and owes more to the old-timey and Bluegrass traditions, so you might want to explore those options. A fine tune, nonetheless…."

I felt it was fairly bland, to be honest. O’Conner is a good bluegrass fiddler, but when you said he composed it I wasn’t surprised.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

…It’s "Emily’s Reel" by Otis Tomas and recorded by Jerry Holland.///"

Sorry, Otis. I like your fiddles but not the tune.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

@DonaldK //It would help if people listened to the clip in the OP//

Good point. Consider my arse skelped 🙂

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

Self-skelped, Jim, I presume!

Ergo, I personally think Emily’s Reel sounds better on fiddle (or perhaps I prefer Jerry Holland’s setting).
Otis has written many fine tunes as well as making many fine instruments.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I really like Emily’s and a really don’t care whether it’s Irish or not and I don’t understand why it should matter to anybody. Take a listen to Tom Dorley’s “Are You Ready Yet” I feel like it has some similar elements or just a sort of similar modern aesthetic that I enjoy. I do wish he didn’t speed it up the second time around. Also, Emily Smith’s version of McLoud’s Farewell has that same kind of magic about it I think.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I don’t think anybody actually intended to say that it matters if it’s Irish or not. I think all that Ailin was trying to point out was that if you want to find other tunes it sits well with, then it makes sense to look in the same genre. This would apply equally to both the above Emily’s.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

Thank you, Gobby.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

This was largely a wasted effort. Everyone was so dogmatic about steadfastly rejecting the tune just because it is not irish and pooh poohed it probably only because they thought their peers would think them less ‘trad’ if they were said to like it.

Reminds me of high school when you said you liked a tune that the cool kids had not already pre-approved.

And then the patronizing ‘you must have barbaric sensibilities for not liking these ‘real’ trad tunes’. I like what I like and I am not going to pretend to like something I don’t and no amount of ‘exposure’ is going to change that. I like plenty of irish tunes as well, in fact this is an exception as I mostly don’t like non-irish tunes.

I really had no idea it wasn’t an irish tune, cos you know, it was played by a hussar of the irish tradition so how would I have known? I just loved the tune.

So I don’t think the lack of suggestions were due to it being non-irish had anything to do with it. I think that is a strawman. I could have named many other reels I like that are ‘really irish’ but as above I had no idea it wasn’t.

Anyway I guess most people’s tastes aren’t like mine so I just need to find larger sources to wade through on my own. I like custy’s music shop for clean (usually solo) playing. Comhaltas used to be great about 5 years ago with all Ireland solo recordings but their videos seem to have really slowed to a glacial pace now days; what happened there?

Where can I find people playing solo like the above-mentioned sources to do my own research? That should prevent any more argumentation from either side. Archival footage of solo playing. Of course we have the older stuff of come west along the road which is fun to watch for its own sake but it can be quite a bit of sifting to find only solo playing mixed with a lot of other general irishy tradition. So what about more contemporary archival footage (could be old fine if it was just to ‘goods’ without filler but I forsee that may be harder to find though maybe I am wrong) of just players playing solo for competition or whatnot - custy’s is a good one because it is informal yet in a quiet setting and usually solo because they are usually in to promote an album.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I think you’re being rather unfair. Reverend and sbhikes gave you plenty of suggestions but, as you hint at, not everyone’s taste is the same as yours (or mine) so you are probably better asking people you know or listening to players you like.
I’m not particularly into learning Irish tunes myself, so the non-Irishness wasn’t a factor for me.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I think the problem is that you don’t like most reels and then presented one that is not distinctive. I don’t see an appeal beyond your simply liking it. When I thought you meant Mark O’Connor’s tune, I steered you toward Bluegrass and old-timey, thinking that might be closer to your taste.

There is a ton of solo playing on YouTube where you can sample many tunes on many instruments. Search by style, instrument or artist and you’ll have all you need. Happy hunting!

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

"This was largely a wasted effort"…. Your moaning is both selfish and illogical. My claim is justified by the fact that you are expressing your disappointment with us because, in your value judgement, we have failed to be able to do something that obviously you have not been able to do yourself.

And the original observation that the tune isn’t Irish was making a valid point to it. You must have missed it! Sure that point came from a couple of people misidentifying the tune, but that was just one of those "Ooops!" moments that we all have occasionally. I could easily understand the point in the context it was intended.

(Sorry, I had not read Ailin’s above post before I wrote this… he explains it as I understood it, and I still think it was a relevant observation to make in the context he intended it)

But there is another relevance to the problem of when any tune isn’t readily identifiable within the Irish session tradition.
When sessioners play sets they have a good idea what comes before and after each individual tune. This of course is totally flexible, and it is a normal thing on this site to ask what people like to connect together in sets. But you couldn’t blame any sessioner not familiar with a particular tune or with playing it, to just know what would go well with it. And this would be especially true if the tune wasn’t of the Irish tradition (like both of the Emily’s). But finally how the hell can anybody else tell you what you would personally like? I can’t see one post in this thread that hasn’t tried to give good positive advice. You just can’t see it. Sorry we have disappointed, but that is your problem.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I submitted some pretty reels. I think Laurel’s Reel was the prettiest of the lot that I posted.

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In my opinion there were some good suggestions. Personally sbhikes, I liked your suggestion of ‘Crested Hens’. It’s a beautiful tune and I find it quite haunting, but dare I say this…… not in the Irish Tradition. All the same that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a good suggestion for this particular tune.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

It does help to listen to the tune being asked about; especially when it’s the 1st thing in the OP
of a newbie’s first discussion.

Welcome to the mustard, Perigrin_Calling! I like the reel too, not surprising you feel it’s style is Irish when Séamus Egan is playing. ; I’m sure his version is where I first heard it since I have a CD with him playing Emily’s.

Lots of tunes (reels) come to mind when I listen to the clip. But rather than list them now since others have started you with a good list. I’ll begin by going back to Jerone’s earlier comment about "Kitty Got a Clinking" played by Willie Clancy. That’s part of what you’re asking for since it’s a solo version. I agree Custy’s can expose you to good versions of reels too.

Two other resources are video archives @ NPU http://pipers.ie/source/media/?searchTerm=%20mary%20mcnamara&mediaId=27014&pageSize=12&sPage=1
& ITMA https://www.itma.ie/digital-library/video/liffey-banks-shaskeen-oshaughnessy

Those sites have lots of recordings. Hopefully the links above work for you. If you keep listening & searching
the tunes will find you in time.

Thanks for posting,
AB

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

Thanks AB.

I agree there were some honest suggestions and I thank those that provided them. I was just commenting on the general diversion the thread took and over 50% were not suggestions and rather critiques of the tune not being irish or my lack of taste.

Crested hens is indeed a haunting tune, although nothing like my OP tune, good in a very different way 🙂. It sounds very familiar though I don’t know where from because I certainly don’t remember that name as being tagged to where I know the tune from.

I was not criticizing by saying it was a wasted effort (well if I was it was directed at myself as much as others); I just meant that everyone’s tastes are so subjective that one I find amazing others will say is mediocre at best, as seemed to be the general consensus here about Emily’s reel. So that is why I said it will be better to just be pointed to good archival sources to do my own digging as one man’s dirt is another man’s diamond.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I did offer you a couple of suggestions and I hope you will listen to them and let me know if they are “up your alley” I am simply curious if you are taken by them in a similar way as how I think of them.
Sorry I was a little critical in regards to the other posts. They seemed a little snarky to me but I should really have better discipline in these matters - life’s simply too short.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

Ye I listened to the first last night. Didn’t do anything for me, second one I just listening to now, doesn’t jump out at me but is better than the first. Hmm the second one might grow on me but certainly not moving me like emily’s did.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

@AB oh those links looks like they will take up the slack where comhaltas left off; ta 🙂.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I don’t know what kind of tune Crested Hen is, but we play it at our Irish session in California. Once in a while some of the participants play a Swedish tune or two, too, so I’ll admit we’re not perfectly Irish over here. I do think that any actual Irishman who showed up would have a good time, though, and we’d roll through Irish reel after Irish reel with nary a Crested Hen or Swedish crooked monstrosity in sight.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I don’t know where the tune is from in original post but it sounds very Sligo style to me.

If u like this style of playing, it reminds me of Sligo style flutes like Kevin Henry. I’m not sure if it is the tune or the way the fluter is accentuating. I may be way off but the breath control, accentuation and mellow pace Have subtle hints of Coleman country. IMO

Anyway some of best Irish tunes were written during immigration or travel.

Tune in original post doesn’t sound bluegrass , old timey or Swedish. It is a lovely tune. Best of luck

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I think I remember seeing in another discussion awhile back that "Crested Hens" is a French tune.

Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

Yes Crested Hens is French. Sure enough I think it’s a fairly beautiful tune and I play it every now and then, but I wouldn’t include it in my Irish repertoire. The thing that instantly excludes it from meeting the O.P’s request for "a beautiful reel similar to Emily’s" is that it isn’t a reel. It’s in our tune section as a Waltz, but then it isn’t even that. It’s a Bourrée, which is played in 3/8th timing. So it’s hard to imagine how one would fit this in either before or after Emily’s Reel Having said that, a few weeks ago Garry B made a comment n the tunes section claiming, "You can do a cracking Mason’s Apron with it." It kind of stretches my imagination, but I know that Cape Breton Fiddlers often do such imaginative tempo changes within their sets.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

Hmm!… tunes LIKE Emily’s…..
Emily’s has been ear-worming me for a couple of days now. There are parts of the tune I like and other parts that I have been finding quite irritating. And I think some of that irritation was coming from the fact that I was morphing ‘Emily’s with that other Otis Tomas tune, "Máire O’Keeffe". They just may fit (I am trying to get both tunes out of my head). Keep in mind, of course, that it is not always the similar tunes that work best together. These two tunes are Cape Breton tunes, and as I said in my previous comment, those Cape Bretoners are pretty good at linking strathspeys, reels, jigs, waltzes, etc, in whatever order they want to use to add some lift. It’s a part of their tradition.

Just one more thing… TO ME, Emily’s reel sounds Cape Breton. That is not to say that I nor anybody else here is complaining that it’s not Irish. Ailin’s point that the other Emily’s was not Irish was not intended as a criticism. It was merely a suggestion such as the one I now make here;- As Emily’s is a Cape Breton tune (and many of us can tell the difference) it might be a good idea to search Cape Breton music and see what others people play it with. That is not to suggest that you are not welcome to ask here ask here. ITM incorporates music from many other countries and hopefully, does it’s own thing with it.

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Re: Suggestions for beautiful reels similar to emily’s reel?

I certainly don’t want to go too far off course. I love irish music first and foremost and as I said had no idea it was not irish.

Let me give you an example of a ‘really’ irish tune (as far as I know!) tune that I also find beautiful- that being the mohill.

I learned it from a 90s Cathal Haydn recording and we all know he plays is a rather speedy manner however my favourite rendition of it was by a young lady playing it for a comhaltas competition which I unfortunately could not find again as a long time had passed since I first watched it. She played it in a much slower and measured manner which is generally how I prefer to hear/play tunes; another reason I used to like watching comhaltas videos as I read the judges mark contestants down for playing too fast.

Forgetting the region I would say I like both emily’s and the mohill as they both evoke emotions in me perhaps of lost love, a wistful kind of feeling; of course the girl who broke my heart would be the obvious suggestion having said that 🙂 but what else. As Nietzsche would say (more eloquently) I long for tragic tunes; but still in this case reels and irish suggestions I am asking for, plenty to be found of jigs.