The Congress reel

Also known as The Concert.

There are 131 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with The Star Of Munster (lots of times), The Sally Gardens (lots of times), Down The Broom (a few times), Farewell To Erin (a few times) and Last Night’s Fun (a few times).

The Congress has been added to 57 tune sets.

The Congress has been added to 1,551 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Twelve settings

X: 1
T: The Congress
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:eAAG A2Bd|eaaf gedg|eAcA eAcA|BGGA Bdeg|
eAAG A2Bd|eaaf gedB|cBcd eged|cABG A2Bd:|
|:eaag abag|eaag egdg|egdg egdg|eaaf gedg|
eaag a2ag|eaaf gedB|c2cd e2ed|cABG A2Bd:|
X: 2
T: The Congress
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
eAAG A2 (3Bcd | eaaf gedg | eA ~A2 eAcA | BdGB dG (3Bcd |
eAAG A2 (3Bcd | eaaf gedB | ~c3 d (3efg ed | cdBc A2(3Bcd |
eA ~A2 EAcd | eAaf gafg | ea ~a2 AecA | BG ~G2 B,DGB |
AE ~E2 cA (3Bcd | eaaf gedB | ~c3 d eged | cdBc A2Bd |
eaa^g ~a3 =g | eaaf gedg | (3efg dg (3efg dg | eaaf gabg |
eaa^g aba=g | eaaf gedB | ~c3 d (3efg ed | cdBc A2(3Bcd |
eaa^g ~a3 =g | eaaf gedg | (3efg dg cgBg | eaaf gabg |
eaa^g ab=ga | eaaf gedB | ~c3 d eged | cd (3efg agfg |
X: 3
T: The Congress
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
(3Bcd |: {g}eA{G}AG {e}A2 (3Bcd | {g}ea{g}af {a}gf{g}ed | {g}eA {gAGAG}A2 {g}fA {gAGAG}A2 | B{g}B{G}BA {g}GA{g}Bd |
| {g}eA{G}AG {e}A2 (3Bcd | {g}ea{g}af {a}gf{g}ed | {g}c{e}c{G}cd {g}eg{a}ed | {g}(3cBA {g}BG {e}A2 (3Bcd :|
|: {g}ea{g}ag a{g}a{g}ag | {a}ea{g}ag {a}eg{a}dg | {a}eg{a}dg {a}eg{a}dg | {a}ea{g}ag ag{a}ed |
| {g}ea{g}ag a{g}a{g}ag | {a}ea{g}ag {a}eg{a}ed | {g}c{e}c{G}cd {g}eg{a}ed | {g}(3cBA {g}BG [1 {e}A2 (3Bcd :| [2 {e}A4 |
X: 4
T: The Congress
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
||:~e3~(A A2) (3Bcd|e2 ~a2 gedg|eAAG ABcA|BBAB ec^df|
|~e3~(A A2) (3Bcd|e2 ~a2 gedc|BA (3Bcd ~e3d|1cABG A2d2:|2cABG A2(3Bcd||
||:e2ab ~a3g|eaag ee^df|ee^df ee^df|(3efg fg gedg|
|e2ab ~a3g|eaag eedc|BA (3Bcd ~e3d|1cABG A2 (3Bcd:|2cABG A2d2||
# Added by bay .
X: 5
T: The Congress
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:d|eAA ABd|eaf ged|eAA eAA|BAG ABd|
eAA ABd|eaf ged|c2d e/f/gd|BAG A2:|
|:d|eaa aga|eag egd|e/f/gd egd|eaf ged|
eaa aga|eaf ged|c2d e/f/gd|BAG A2:|
X: 6
T: The Congress
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
eAAA ABcd|eaaf gedg|eAAA eAcA|BGGF GABd
X: 7
T: The Congress
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|: AD (3DDD DEFG | AddB cAGc | AD (3DDD ADFD | EC (3CB,C ECEG |
AD (3DDD DEFG | AddB cAGE | FDFG ABcA | GECE DEFG :|
|: AddB cAGc | AddB cAGc | AcGc AcGc | AddB cA G2 |
AddB cAGc | AddB cAGE | FDFG ABcA | GECE DEFG :|
X: 8
T: The Congress
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
eA{B}AG ABcd | ea{c'}af (3.g.f.e df | eA{B} (3AGA eA {B}(3AGA | BG {A}(3GFG Bcdf |
eA{B}AG ABcd |"Not the original ending" ea{c'}af (3.g.f.e dB | cBcd (3efg ed ||"Correct way to play" ea{c'}af (3.g.f.e d2 | efga (3bag af |
ea {c'} (3aga (3bag af | ea {c} ag (3ege df | (3.e.g.e .d.f (3.e.g.e df | ea{c'} af (3.g.f.e d2 |
ea{c'} (3aga (3bag ag |"Not the original ending" ea {c'}ag (3.e.g.e dB | cBcd (3efg ed | cABG A2 ||
"Correct way to play"ea{c'} ag (3.e.g.e d2 | efga (3bag af | gedB {d}BA ||
X: 9
T: The Congress
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:(3Bcd|eAAG A2 (3Bcd|eaaf gedg|eA A2 EA A2|BAGA BA (3Bcd |
eAAG A2 (3Bcd|eaaf gedB|c3d e3d|cABG A2 (3Bcd:||
|:eaag a3g|eaag e2 dg|e2 dg e2 dg|eaaf gedg|
eaag a3g|eaag e2 dB|c3d e3d|cABG A2 (3Bcd:||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 10
T: The Congress
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|:(3FGA|BEED E2 (3FGA|Beec dBAd|BE E2 DE E2|FEDE FE (3FGA |
BEED E2 (3FGA|Beec dBAF|G3A B3A|GEFD E2 (3FGA:||
|:Beed e3d|Beed B2 Ad|B2 Ad B2 Ad|Beec dBAd|
Beed e3d|Beed B2 AF|G3A B3A|GEFD E2 (3FGA:||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 11
T: The Congress
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:eAAG A2(3Bcd|e2af gedB|eA~A2 EAcA|BG~G2 BGBd|
eAAG A2(3Bcd|e2af gedB|c3d eged|(3cBA BG ABcd:|
|:eaag a3g|ea~a2 gedg|egdg egdg|eaaf gedg|
eaag a3g|ea~a2 gedB|c3d eged|(3cBA BG ABcd:|
X: 12
T: The Congress
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:eAAG A2Bd|eaaf gedg|e~A3 e~A3|B~G3 Bddg|
e~A3 A2Bd|eaaf gedB|cBcd eged|cABG A2(3Bcd:|
|:eaag ~a3g|eaag egdg|egdg egdg|eaaf gedg|
e~a3 a2ag|eaaf gedB|cBcd eged|cABG A2(3Bcd:|

Thirty-five comments

I know that this tune was composed on the occasion of an actual congress (hence the title), but I’m fuzzy on the details. Does anybody know who composed this tune and what the occasion was?

Congress

this tune was composed by gordon duncan, who has composed many a good tune such as clueless, break yer bass drone and the forth floor. Gordon Duncan is from Pitlochry, perth=shire in scotland and his tunes are becoming very popular at sessions around the highlands. Congress Reel can be heard on duncan chisholms album ‘redpoint’

Congress Reel

I’ve always thought that the Congress Reel was from the 1920s or 1930s (certainly not Scottish in origin). Breathnach gives it in his Ceol Rince na hEirann, Volume 1, which dates from 1963, so the tune was in wide circulation before then. How old is this Gordon Duncan?

Posted .

I’m with Will on this one. While I can’t recall the details, I’m pretty sure the congress in question was in Ireland (Belfast?) in the first half of the twentieth century.

I’m going to have to do some research on this.

Aghhhhh, i was wrong

ooopppsie, on looking closly at music i realise i am speaking of another tune, with congress in the title. indeed the example on duncan chisholms ‘redpoint’ is the example shown here and is irish, always stated, traditional on any copy i have seen, sorry again, maybe you coudl erase my post in some way or another…maybe!!

For the record, I managed to find what the congress in question was. I asked about this tune on the IRTRAD-l discussion list and Jeff Lindqvist posted this from the Fiddler’s Companion:

"It is said that this reel was composed in honor of the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, in 1932, or was popular around that time an the name became attached."

Now I can sleep again at night :)

A version as played by Kevin Burke

Here is the tune with a few neat twists to it that I got from an Irish fiddle class in 1991. The version is said to be played by Kevin Burke


X:1
T: The Congress
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: Reel
K: Ador
eAAG A2 (3Bcd | eaaf gedg | eA ~A2 eAcA | BdGB dG (3Bcd |
eAAG A2 (3Bcd | eaaf gedB | ~c3 d (3efg ed | cdBc A2(3Bcd |
eA ~A2 EAcd | eAaf gafg | ea ~a2 AecA | BG ~G2 B,DGB |
AE ~E2 cA (3Bcd | eaaf gedB | ~c3 d eged | cdBc A2Bd |
eaa^g ~a3 =g | eaaf gedg | (3efg dg (3efg dg | eaaf gabg |
eaa^g aba=g | eaaf gedB | ~c3 d (3efg ed | cdBc A2(3Bcd |
eaa^g ~a3 =g | eaaf gedg | (3efg dg cgBg | eaaf gabg |
eaa^g ab=ga | eaaf gedB | ~c3 d eged | cd (3efg agfg |

Kieran Hanrahan

Played In set with "the cup of tea" and "Greigs pipes " On kieran Hanrahan-Plays the Irish tenor banjo.

I wonder which came first? The Hunter’s Purse or The Congress? The beginning and ending of the A part are very obviously almost exactly the same, so I wonder if there is any connection between the two.

Posted by .

Congress Reel - what was that congress about?

The question was bandied about in a session yesterday. I vaguely remember that the Congress Reel was composed to comemmorate a political gathering to propose or agree on something back in the twenties or thirties or sometime a while ago (the key word here is vaguely).

Perhaps a historian of clearer memory can help? (They say as one ages, the memory is the second thing to go.)

Enquiringly,
Tim

Re: Congress Reel - what was that congress about?

12th May 1932-The International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.A Catholic Church Get-Together.My late father fondly remembered ,as a nine-year -old,the buses heading south from Belfast being stoned by orangemen as they passed through various parts of Counties Down and Armagh.Some things never change!

Posted by .

Re: Congress Reel - what was that congress about?

Some things do. The Congress would probably be in Belfast if it was held today. This is not a snide comment by the way, just being objective. The make up of Belfast council has altered dramatically in the intervening period.

SecondThoughts

It always sounds like something to set up "Star of Munster". I don’t need that much drama in my life. OTOH given it’s recent popularity, guess I ough to give it another turn…

In B minor?

just wondering does anyone play this tune as it is notated (i think) in the breatnach book?
ie a tone up. I know its just a case of whats played generally and which way it will be played in sessions, but if breathnach notated there, maybe thats where it was "meant" to be played. It actually grows on you as well, and i find its a tune which deserves seperation from other similar A dorian tunes. and maybe the sharper B minor/dorian tone makes it more suitable for a controversial congress?

Posted by .

ie into the controversial?

Posted by .

or the reconciliation?

Posted by .

A Scottish Smallpipe version (= has lots of gracenotes)

Below is a version I got off a fiddle player with C# instead of Cnat. because I don’t have a Cnat, although he played Cnat.

X:1
T:The Congress
C:Traditional
M:2/2
K:D
(3Bcd |: {g}eA{G}AG {e}A2 (3Bcd | {g}ea{g}af {a}gf{g}ed | {g}eA {gAGAG}A2 {g}fA {gAGAG}A2 | B{g}B{G}BA {g}GA{g}Bd |
%
| {g}eA{G}AG {e}A2 (3Bcd | {g}ea{g}af {a}gf{g}ed | {g}c{e}c{G}cd {g}eg{a}ed | {g}(3cBA {g}BG {e}A2 (3Bcd :|
%
|: {g}ea{g}ag a{g}a{g}ag | {a}ea{g}ag {a}eg{a}dg | {a}eg{a}dg {a}eg{a}dg | {a}ea{g}ag ag{a}ed |
%
| {g}ea{g}ag a{g}a{g}ag | {a}ea{g}ag {a}eg{a}ed | {g}c{e}c{G}cd {g}eg{a}ed | {g}(3cBA {g}BG [1 {e}A2 (3Bcd :| [2 {e}A4 |

My party tune

this tune has been a favorite of mine for a long time now. i like to play this tune in a set of Dick Gossips/Congress/Mountain Road

It’s about sex

congress = sexual congress? I dunno, just a guess. It’s pretty sexy when *I* play it ;-)

Version from Breda Smyth’s track Bachelor’s Walk… at least the way I think I heard it.
X: 1
T: Bachelor’s Walk #2
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Ador
||:~e3~(A A2) (3Bcd|e2 ~a2 gedg|eAAG ABcA|BBAB ec^df|
|~e3~(A A2) (3Bcd|e2 ~a2 gedc|BA (3Bcd ~e3d|1cABG A2d2:|2cABG A2(3Bcd||
||:e2ab ~a3g|eaag ee^df|ee^df ee^df|(3efg fg gedg|
|e2ab ~a3g|eaag eedc|BA (3Bcd ~e3d|1cABG A2 (3Bcd:|2cABG A2d2||

Posted by .

The Congress Jig

"Sliabh Russell" is listed as the Congress jig on a different tune database, but here’s my version, which is closer to the original reel setting:

M: 6/8
L: 1/8
R: jig
K: Ador
|:d|eAA ABd|eaf ged|eAA eAA|BAG ABd|
eAA ABd|eaf ged|c2d e/f/gd|BAG A2:|
|:d|eaa aga|eag egd|e/f/gd egd|eaf ged|
eaa aga|eaf ged|c2d e/f/gd|BAG A2:|

One of the catchiest tunes ever written I think. Sounds pretty interesting in Amix too.

I’m listening to Claire Keville’s rebroadcast of the interview she did two years ago with the late Kitty Hayes. She played the Congress in D dorian, with a B flat in the 7th bar of each part.

The Second Congress

I wonder if anybody will be composing a ‘New’ Congress Reel to commemorate the second Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, after Pope Benedict’s announcement that Dublin will host the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in 2012 ?

Sounds like…

I’m not surprised laura nesbit thought Gordon Duncan composed this tune, as it does sound a little similar to Andy Renwick’s Ferret…

Andy Renwick’s Ferret…
https://thesession.org/tunes/439, a great pipe tune.

Meanwhile, this ABC for the Congress reel is also Scottish pipes friendly (if you skip the high b), which is nice in itself, but I prefer when the tune dips down to F in the 1st part as in:

eAAA ABcd|eaaf gedg|eAAA eAcA|BGGF GABd…

(it also looks like both versions could be played simultaneously, creating a temporary harmony… )

“The Congress Reel” ~ rescued duplication

Submitted on October 6th 2012 by jdicarlo.
~ /tunes/12213

X: 6
T: Congress, The
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Dmix
|: AD (3DDD DEFG | AddB cAGc | AD (3DDD ADFD | EC (3CB,C ECEG |
AD (3DDD DEFG | AddB cAGE | FDFG ABcA | GECE DEFG :|
|: AddB cAGc | AddB cAGc | AcGc AcGc | AddB cA G2 |
AddB cAGc | AddB cAGE | FDFG ABcA | GECE DEFG :|

Cousin of the Congress Reel

I learned this tune from Maine fiddler Ed Howe, who learned it from the Cape Breton group Slainte Mhath. Ed didn’t have a name for the tune, but I recognized it as a modal version of the more familiar Congress Reel.

We recorded it with the band Wake the Neighbors. You can listen our version as part of the Congress of Africa Set here:

http://waketheneighbors.com/sample.html

# Posted on October 6th 2012 by jdicarlo


N: This was originally entered into the tune database with the invented title of "Cape Breton Congress" - it is ‘The Congress’, just in a different key…

Congress Reel

X:8 from the pen of Leo Rowsome. Note the authoritative stance: "Not the original ending" here, "Correct way to play" there. Have never heard anyone play that tune in this way, but an interesting bit of addenda. Leo taught, among others, household names Liam O’Flynn and Paddy Moloney.

http://comhaltasarchive.ie/system/compositions/TMC/T6/T6.abc.original.png

Travelling piper Felix Doran had an interesting setting of this reel and his family and Leo’s had some kinship so you’d expect some parallels perhaps, but not really. Felix had many interesting settings really, you’d be busy for weeks writing them all out. Some just a note here and there, some drastically different than the norm.

I’m just listening to Two Gentlemen of Clare by Gerard Commane and Joe Ryan https://thesession.org/recordings/584 . In his spoken introduction to The Congress (track 1), Gerard says that it was composed by Joe Mills of Athlone - as Ah Surely! says above, to commemorate the Eucharistic Congress of 1932.

Congress Reel

Found the original issue of Treoir where Leo’s transcriptions were reproduced, along with these remarks:

"Our traditional way of playing reels has in some cases been altered by changing the last two bars, by omitting the original ending of each part and substituting or borrowing the last two bars of an entirely different reel. I give an example above where the ending of each part of the Congress Reel has been substituted by the last two bars of the Hunter’s Purse Reel. It is clearly shown that the original ending of the Congress Reel on the second stave (underneath) in each part has been entirely omitted by most of our leading performers and by our Ceili Bands. Let us not alter the structure of any reel by changing or borrowing from some other ·tune, but let us improve by embellishments. I shall have further examples of a similar nature in the next issue of "Treoir.""

The Congress, X:9

My version

Posted by .

The Congress, X:12

This is my "flutist - friendly" version of the Congress.

Re: The Congress, X:12

I really like that variation, Damien. It’s got a nice "snap" to it.