The Old French reel

Also known as Little Old Man, The Little Old Man, Rambler’s Hornpipe, The Rambler’s Hornpipe, The Rambler’s, Reel De St-Tite.

There are 5 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Old French has been added to 3 tune sets.

The Old French has been added to 134 tunebooks.

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Four settings

X: 1
T: The Old French
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
(3ABc|d2cd BdAF|DFAd f2ed|cdef gece|defd A2(3ABc|
d2cd BdAF|DFAd f2ed|cdef gece|d2f2 d2:|
|:cd|efed c2A2|AEAc e2dc|BGBd gfed|cAce a2cd|
efed (3cdc A2|AEAc e2dc|bGBd gfed|c2A2 A2:||
X: 2
T: The Old French
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
| (3ABc | d2 c>d B>dA>F | D>FA>d (3fgf e>d | c>de>f g>ec>e | d>fe>d (3BcB ~
X: 3
T: The Old French
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
(3ABc|:d2cd BdAF|DFAd f2ed|cdef gece|defd A2(3ABc|
d2cd BdAF|DFAd f2ed|cdef gece|d2f2 d2:|
|:cd|efed c2A2|AEAc e2dc|BGBd gfed|cAce a2cd|
efed c2 A2|AEAc e2dc|BGBd gfed|c2A2 A2:||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 4
T: The Old French
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A/B/c|: "D"d2 c2 B2 AF|DFAd f2 ed|"A7"cdef gece|"D"defd A2 A/B/c|
"D"d2 c2 B2 AF|DFAd f2ed|"A7"cdef gece|1 "D"dfec d2 A/B/c:|2 "D"dfec d2 cd||
K: Amix
|:"A7"efed c2 A2|AEAc e2 dc|"G"BGBd gfed|"A7"cAce a2 cd|
"A7"efed c2 A2|AEAc e2 dc|"G"BGBd gfed|1 "A7"cdBc A2 cd :||2 "A7"cdBc A2 A/B/c||

Eleven comments

From The New England Fiddler’s Repertoire.

Old French

Isn’t this originally a Quebecois reel?
Noel Jackson
Angels of the North

Cross Breeding

I got this tune from Cleveland’s Westside Contra Dance Club tunebook years ago. There seems to be some overlap between Quebec and New England. Hence the name "Old French" for a Quebecois reel appropriated by Yankee fiddlers. I doubt the French would have called it that.

Posted by .

“New England Fiddler’s Repertoire” ~ Randy Miller

by Randy Miller & Jack Perron
2nd Edition, 2003, by Randy Miller & Robert Bley-Vroman

~ 96 pages, 168 classic traditional contra dance melodies…

http://www.randymillerprints.com/fiddletunebooks.htm
http://www.randymillerprints.com/NEFRbook.htm

~ & YES! ~ There is a lot or traffic and influences between New England and the Canadian Maritmes, people, music and dance…not forgetting the fisheries and smuggling…

"Maritimes", where’d that ‘i’ disappear to? ;-)

“The Rambler’s Hornpipe”

As is often the case in North America, sometimes the swing gets ironed out of a tune to fit it into the realm of the reel, but the practice of playing hornpipes flat and unswung is not solely the practice of American players. As is usually true, this tune is nice either way:

| (3ABc | d2 c>d B>dA>F | D>FA>d (3fgf e>d | c>de>f g>ec>e | d>fe>d (3BcB ~

Bad listing?

For some reason, I could not get this to come up under a search for "old french", "Old French", or even "the Old French". It happened yesterday too, but I figured I must have just misspelled it. I had to resort to just "French", and then it came up. Seems something may be glitched?

Re: The Old French

New Hampshire’s population is 30% French Canadian because many immigrants came from Quebec Province to work in mills and logging industry. They brought their music with them.
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord NH USA

Re: The Old French

Some info from https://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Old_French :

The melody was a popular vehicle for contra dancing in the 1970’s, when it seemed to surface simultaneously in the New England repertoire and on the West Coast. Popular belief has it that the "Old French" title derived from a remark by an old Vermont fiddler who, when asked its title, said it was "just an old French tune". The reel was known in Canada prior to the "folk revival" that fed American contra dancing, and was in Maritime fiddler Don Messer’s "Down-East" repertoire (as "Rambler’s Hornpipe," probably the source for many American "revival" musicians). The original provenance is in Québécois repertoire, where it was recorded in 1929 under the title "Reel de St-Tite" on a recording by Sotère Mongrain and Ida Mongrain (violin with piano accompaniment). Ottawa Valley fiddlers know it as "Rambler’s Hornpipe" or "Little Old Man," while Cape Breton fiddlers call it "The Old French Reel".

Re: The Old French

Incidentally, how do people usually finish this tune? When I first heard it, I thought it would go best to finish by reprising the first half (in D), resolving back to its original key - rather than the second half (in A mix?) But perhaps the latter makes for a more interesting finish? Just curious! How do YOU play it?