Dionne reel

Also known as The Dionne, Les 5 Jumelles, Les Cinq Jumelles, Reel Des 5 Jumelles, Reel Des Cinq Joumelles, Reel Des Cinq Jumelles.

There are 16 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

Dionne has been added to 12 tune sets.

Dionne has been added to 160 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Two settings

X: 1
T: Dionne
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
Adfd gdfd|Adfd ed (3Bcd|Adfd gdfd|efec d2(3dcB|
Adfd gdfd|Adfd ed (3Bcd|Adfd gdfd|efec d2||
|:fg|afbf afde|fded Bcde|afbf afde|fded d2fg|
afbf afde|fded Bcde|afbf afde|fded d2:|
|:F2Ad fdAF|G2Bd ~g3B|ABce gece|defg afdA|
F2Ad fdAF|G2Bd ~g3B|ABce gece|1 dfec dBAG:|2 dfec defg||
|:a2fd afda|g2e=c gefg|a2fd afda|1 gece defg:|2 gece d3B||
# Added by shaku .
X: 2
T: Dionne
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|Adfd gdfd|Adfd ed (3Bcd|Adfd gdfd|efec d2(3dcB|
Adfd gdfd|Adfd ed (3Bcd|Adfd gdfd|efec d2fg||
afbf afde|fded Bcde|afbf afde|fdec d2fg|
afbf afde|fded Bcde|afbf afde|fdec d2:|
|:F2Ad fdAF|G2Bd g3B|ABce gece|defg afdA|
F2Ad fdAF|G2Bd g3B|ABce gece|1 dfec dBAG:|2 dfec defg||
|:a2fd afda|g2e=c gefg|a2fd afda|1 gece defg:|2 gece d3B:|
# Added by JACKB .

Thirty-five comments

Hmmmm….taking my lead from Jeremy’s invitation to “talk about how much [I]…dislike this reel,”–I have to add this to Atholl Highlanders as the only other tune I never want to play. I don’t like how cut off each part is from the next, like parts of a bicycle, toilet, and cuisinart bolted to a canoe. Ugh. But that’s just my vapid little opinion…. 🙂

Posted .

LOL – I don’t mind this one so much…it’s French Canadian, isn’t it? Named after the Dionne Quintuplets? I know how much you like the Breton music, Will, maybe that’s why you don’t like this one so much. *grin* I loved the Celtic Fiddle Festival playing it along with Mouth of the Tobique.


Now I know which tune to play incessantly at the Montana session 🙂

Mark, “Montana” is the US state south of us. This summer’s mega session will be in my home town, here in *Manitoba.* Make sure you get the destination right when you buy those plane tickets…wouldn’t want you showing up all ready to play Dionne and realize you’re in the wrong country….

The quints, eh? I was thinking maybe this musical collage (I’m trying to be polite) was some misguided ode to Celine….

Posted .


Wow, i had no idea. This is just like that Simpsons episode with Apu’s octuplets!

Oh dear, i can’t quite see Apu abusing his kids…even The Simpsons has some depths to which they will not go! 🙂 Of course, *now* it occurs to me that perhaps someone named the tune the Dionne because it has five parts…?

No I don’t believe him at all Zina! Actually, if I ended up in Manitoba I’d be okay ‘cause I have relatives there apparently. I could walk round trying to find them. The place can’t be that big 🙂

For your sins Will, I will play you “The Atholl Highlanders” very fast in E major on my concertina during the session… I know: I could play it in a different key each time, and perhaps accelerate gradually until by the end I have reached a speed that cannot be supported by my technique…

And how fast would that be, Dow? 🙂


Zina, they ran out of money and had to put the babies in some kind of baby zoo for people to look at, sponsored by the diaper manufacturer, i think. In the end everything is fine again.

If this tune was really inspired by quintuplets, shouldn’t it have five *identical* parts?

hmm - terrible - I know nothing of the US so I believed what you said Will - again!

Posted by .

Right, so I have this LOVELY picture of us all playing The Dionne/Mouth of the Tobique and switching up into jigs with Jig of Slurs and Atholl Highlanders, right AT Will in the middle of his own session… 🙂

No one but you guys will be able to figure out why I’m falling over laughing the whole time.

Glauber, these five parts may not be identical, but they *are* indistinguishable….

Wonder if shaku will ever grace us with his/her reason for liking the tune well enough to post it.

Posted .

I’d forgotten about the Jig of Slurs. It’s so long since I played that I can’t even remember how it starts. I’ll have to get some practice in for Will’s session. What about “The Kesh” (just for bb’s sake), into “The Atholl Highlanders”, then into “The Jig Of Slurs”, and then back into the Jig of Slurs again, transposed into the aeolian mode, with F and C naturals and B flats? I should go back over all the old discussion threads to find out everyone’s favourite tunes!


The answer is: 0 beats per minute, since I haven’t learnt the Atholl Highlanders on the concertina. Also I’m a beginner and can’t play “very fast” anyway; I can but dream …

Lovely, Mark! Then we can have very fast, very badly played versions of all these tunes…! Gawd, somebody bring your mini-disc recorder, we have to have a recording of this wonderful uber-grinch set – we shall have to sit on each individual to get them to stay in the circle as we hit their favorite tune! 🙂

Looks like Zina provided me the perfect reason to learn the Dionne. I’ll work up a good second part for Atholl and Slurs as well. What a reason to cross the country to Will’s home. Spite!! I’m going to have my head examined!


Yeah I’ll try and figure out a busy counterpoint for these tunes. I was thinking of maybe superimposing the tune in a different key - that would be a nice modern touch wouldn’t it? Perhaps a 4th apart would sound good, kind of like an “Eastern” feel to it.

Who composed it?

Who composed the Dionne reel

Posted by .

Dionne reel - Some great banter here - do read it!

…….. but nothing since Feb 2004!

I actually like it, especially where Burke + CFF pair it with Mouth of the Tobique

This is recorded on Tickle Harbour’s “The Brule Boys in Paris” (1991) a cd now out of print, and the group (from Newfoundland) is no longer together afaik.

Also on Button & Bows

It’s beautifully played on Buttons & Bows. It does seem like a put together reel- clichés strung together. But it works for me- especially when played by Jackie Daley and Manus McGuire. great lift to it and terrific energy.

We managed to snag a copy of “Brule Boys” about a year ago at one of those big record stores in Toronto.

As for the “Dionne Reel”, it’s a super-common tune in Canada. Pascal Gemme provides a nice recording and talks a little bit about its “composition” here: http://tradquebec.over-blog.com/categorie-1078429.html

Great reel, surely!

It may not have such a sense of oneness as many reels but I think it’s quite addictive nonetheless, and I love how the differences between the sections can give the impression that you’ve medleyed into another tune - but haven’t! The brief change to G major at the C section is tasty in that regard, and I find the phrase that answers it really does lead on perfectly from it. I think it’s a great example of the French Canadian sound!

Absolute love this reel !

Posted by .

Re: Dionne

Does anyone have a known composer for this? It can’t be THAT old because some of the quints are still alive!

Re: Dionne

And so, in an attempt to reply to the repeatedly asked and repeatedly unanswered question; Who composed the tune? (no39 17 years ago & Chelsea 3 years ago) I will make the following points;
a) this beautiful reel is composed of several strains or melodies that were repackaged together:
b) some are old, some are knew
c) some have had their keys and order of parts changed…
d) they are all identifiable except part I)
e) I do not know the answer but it seems the composer had an above average French Canadian ability for collage (most chunes from Quebec sound like a ‘bricolage’ of various strands and formulas indeed!) and they could have composed part I.

f) please keep in mind that it is generally methodologically unsound to want to date a tune from its name alone. Tunes exist under various names and a new name is sometimes given opportunistically.
Having said that, the fact this reel has 5 different parts has probably everything to do with the quintuplets of the title (‘the five ‘twins’’). Note however that the reel is played in 7 or more parts since I & II form a repeated unit within it and so does V in some versions.

After this long preamble I can reply to the question;
‘Who composed this tune?’
-We do not know who composed the very first part and assembled the 5 parts together but the rest is already identified as ‘traditional’:
I) the search is on…
II) & III)
are no other than both the parts of
Reel de Joliette,
a well known reel in Quebec which has already been submitted here (as Reel
…albeit in a different tonality.
As for parts
IV) & V)
they are no other than parts 1 & 2 of the
Londonderry/Derry hornpipe
also already submited here;

I hope this clarifies the picture for no39, Chelsea and the rest!

Oliviers Demers’s 1000 Airs du Québec et de l’Amérique Francophone (A latter days O’Neill’s for Quebec!) has just come out in print (2020) …so I looked Les Cinq Jumelles Dionne up in it to help with this search. Demers’s source for it is J. O. La Madeleine. No more said. (p46)
In the same book, The Londonderry hornpipe appears under the name ‘Quadrille de l’oncle Ti-Bé #2’ (p167)
while the Reel de Joliette (in D) can be found p204.
Note that some melodic patterns are common to many French Canadian tunes. The second part of the L’Derry hornpipe (in D) for example is played (in A) the Hangman’s reel, etc.

Re: Dionne

If you get the chance, it might be worth asking Jackie Daly.
PS - there’s something horribly wrong with the audio of this, certainly on “Setting #1”.

Posted by .

Re: Dionne

The Traditional Tune Archive offers a transcription of Jacky Daly’s recording of this tune as well as another by Joseph Ovila LaMadeleine whose recording of this 5 part reel on 78rpm was released August 1934 some three months after the 5 ‘twins’ were born…


Re: Dionne

Re: audio
The second midi (or improved midi) in the list above respects the usual repeats pattern. The first, as by today, doesn’t…

I’ll try to post the abc’s to a coupla more versions at some stage…

And find a link to a video or recording…

Re: Dionne

More about part one (I);

It now transpires that The Dion reel’s first part (in D) is the same as Le reel du lièvre’s first part (in G).

I first heard the reel Le reel du Lièvre from a 1970’s LP by Le Rêve du Diable trad band.
Aimé Gagnon, another renowned French Canadian fiddler recorded Le reel du lièvre (The hare reel) in the 1950’s.
This post-dates 1934 but could be an early even ancient reel as it sounds very traditional. Its second part is not related to Les Cinq Jumelles Dionne.

Pascal Gemme, fiddler with the band Genticorum, has recently posted the music for this reel on The Traditional Tune Archive as well (he posted the J O LaMadeleine transcription too!)

Re: Dionne

Many commercial recordings of this reel can be heard on youtube (Carignan, etc)
Réal Couture, born in 1917, recorded it for his 90th birthday along with 89 other tunes…!

Here’s the link to his version:

(starts at 3’05)

Re: Dionne

Under the name The Dionne Reel it has been recorded commercialy quite a few times as well (see links above) …
Here’s a link to a video taken during the First Seamus Creagh Festival in Newfoundland, 10 years ago


It’s a great reel.

Re: Dionne

So…. here’s one of several possible reconstructions of the genesis of this reel:

An Onthological Synopsis of the Dionne Reel
by Prof. Bir Libirdi

The whole thing, the 5 part reel known as
Les Cinq Jumelles Dionne / The Dionne Reel may well have been stitched together in 1934 by J.O.LaMadeleine from known traditional pieces,
Part I) in D
from Le reel du lièvre (part 1, in G).
Part II) in D
from Le reel de Joliette (part 2, in D).
Part III) in G
from Le reel de Juliette (part 1, in D)
Part IV) & Part V) both in D
from parts 1 & 2, respectively, of ‘The Londonderry hornpipe’
(which is known in Quebec under various names including, in some quarters, “Quadrille de l’Oncle Ti-Bé”)

NB: Some of the parts names above feature in more than one tune in the Canadian French repertoire so this ID kit is only one of several possible ‘pedigrees’ (if you like).

I hope this helps now! 🙂

Re: Dionne

Le reel de Joliette (part 1)
(not *Juliette!)

+extra precision:
The Londonderry Hornpipe (as it is known in Kerr or O’Neill’s) is in D major of course.

Sin é.