Constitution Breakdown reel

Also known as The Constitution Breakdown.

There are 4 recordings of this tune.

Constitution Breakdown has been added to 29 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Two settings

X: 1
T: Constitution Breakdown
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:Bc|db b/b/b b2 fg|ag a/g/f g2 dc|Bdgd Bdgd|ec c/c/c cBAB|
ca a/a/a agga|gfff f3 f|efdf efdf|edBA G2 Bc|
d/d/b b/b/b b2 fg|ag a/g/f g2 dc|Bdgd Bdgd|ecc2 c3 F|
|:Bc|db b/b/b b2 fg|aggf g2 dc|Bdgd Bdgd|ec c/c/c c2 AB|
ca a/a/a a2 ga|gffg f3 g|efdf efdf|edBA G2 Bc|
db b/b/b b2 fg|aggf g2 dc|Bdgd Bdgd|eccB c3 F|
|:A/B/c|dbzb bafg|agzg gedc|BdgB dgBd|eczB cBAB|
caza a2 ga|gf f2 f2 A/B/c|d/e/d ^cd edcd|edBG D2 A/B/c|
d2 bb b2 fg|aggg gedc|BdgB dgBd|eccB c2 GF|
X: 2
T: Constitution Breakdown
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|(3E2c2E2 dEcE|(3D2B2D2 cDBD|
Ec E2 dEcE|DB D2 cDBD|
Ec E2 dE c2|DB D2 cD B2|
Ec E/E/E dE c/c/c|DB D/D/D cD B/B/B|
(3E2c2E2 dEcE|D2 BD cDBD|

Thirteen comments

“Constitutional Breakdown” ~ Lee Cremo

Lee Cremo 1939 - 1999, Native American Mi’kmaq / Cape Breton fiddler ~ Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia…


“Champion Fiddler” ~ Liberty LM-903, 1968 (his first recording)

The Audat recordings, 1970’s:

“Lee Cremo Lee Cremo And His Eastern Variation” ~ Audat 477-9010
“The Cape Breton Fiddle of Lee Cremo and His Band” ~ Audat 477-9032
“Lee Cremo” ~ Audat 447-9050
“The Flying Fiddle of Lee Cremo” ~ Audat 477-9077
“Cape Breton Fiddling” ~ Audat 477-9088

“The Champion Returns”, Cremo Productions, 1995
& voted the best First Nations recording at the 1996 East Coast Music Awards.

His fiddling is features as some of the tracks on the following Smithsonian/Folkways recordings:

“Creation’s Journey” ~ SF 40410, 1994
“Wood That Sings: Indian Fiddle Music of the Americas” ~ SF 40472, 1998


please tell me how to get the free sheet music!

Lee Cremo ~ Mi’kmaq / Cape Breton fiddler

“Cremo, Lee (Harvey). Fiddler, composer, b Barra Head (now Chapel Island), Cape Breton, NS, 30 Dec 1938, d Eskasoni, NS, 10 Oct 1999. A Mi’k Maq Indian, Cremo was taken at four to Eskasoni, on the East Bay of Bras d’or Lake, Cape Breton. As a youth he played guitar for his father, Simon Peter Cremo (b 1900, d 1964), an itinerant fiddler. Unbeknownst to the senior Cremo, Lee began fiddling at seven; the secret was not revealed until he was 18, at which time his father taught him bowing techniques. Other local fiddlers offered guidance, as did Jean Carignan later at the Mariposa Folk Festival. Cremo made his living in turn as a lumberman in Maine and a bus driver in Eskasoni but appeared at fiddling and folk music events across Canada and the USA. He won the Maritime Old Time Fiddling Contest (Dartmouth, NS) six times; a trip to the Grand Master Fiddling Championships in Nashville, which netted an award for ‘Best Bow Arm in the World,’ is documented in the film Arm of Gold (1986). ~ “ Authors: Gordon E. Smith, Betty Nygaard King

Lee Cremo 1939 - 1999

“Constitutional Breakdown” ~ Lee Cremo ~ 3 takes

The first one is a rough transcript of a recording of Lee made ages ago, then skip about 30 or 40 years for the next transcript, and then 10 years further on for the most radical take off of Lee’s composition. There is a fourth, but that can wait…

I’ve written these out in full, but basically there is an A and a B part, the B-part being the last 8 measures… If it were to be chopped up into 4 bar measures it could read like this: ABACC… So, back to the ‘CC’ or ‘BB’, however you chose to take it, here are some variations on that last section, bars 1 - 2 and 5 - 6:

| (3E2c2E2 dEcE | (3D2B2D2 cDBD |
| Ec E2 dEcE | DB D2 cDBD |
| Ec E2 dE c2 | DB D2 cD B2 |
| Ec E/E/E dE c/c/c | DB D/D/D cD B/B/B |

Lee sometimes played what was essentially a triplet as given in the first example ~
| (3E2c2E2 dEcE | D2 BD cDBD | ~
I was unsure whether the wbsite’s software would be able to deal with a triplet like that or not, so here it is in the notes…

Audrey ~ the Sheetmusic and Midi are processed later, but usually within just an hour or two of a tun being contributed here. It will follow. After that happens, if you can read ABC’s, I’ll be cleaning up the ABC’s to make them easier to read. For now they are in the form that works best for the software used on site here. So, soon, the sheetmusic will come soon… Go have a cup of tea and the next thing you know, it will be here… Hopefully Jeremy will let all three versions process to the sheet and midi… 😉

“National Museum of the American Indian” ~ some fragments of Lee’s music

“Creation’s Journey” ~ short audio clips

7. Constitution Breakdown
Lee Cremo Trio, Mi’kmaq, Cape Breton Island, Canada

8. Sheehan’s Reel/Pigeon on the Gate
Lee Cremo Trio, Mi’kmaq, Cape Breton Island, Canada

“Creation’s Journey” ~ excerpt from the CD notes

“Wood that Sings” ~ short audio clips

17. Strathspey and reel medley
Lee Cremo Trio, Mi’kmaq, Cape Breton Island, Canada

18. Jig medley
Lee Cremo Trio, Mi’kmaq, Cape Breton Island, Canada

“Wood that Sings” ~ excerpt from the CD notes

“Constitutional Breakdown” ~ a Lee Cremo creation

Just in case it wasn’t clear…as seemed the case in someone’s ‘alternate title’…

Also, if all the blag above wasn’t clear ~ we liked and respected the man, a character and a sweet and generous person, not forgetting his lovely family and the dance music and inspiration he wove with the bow on his very special fiddle, passed down from father to son…

It is rather unclear; the “Creation’s Journey” cites it as the “Constitution Breakdown.” It is also cited as such on this website:

(I’m not saying right or wrong either way, just looking for clarity.)

Canadian Politics

I wonder wich constitutional break down Lee Cremo was writing about. The Trudeau one or the Mulroney one or the Cretian one. Weve had so many to choose from.

The Canadian Encyclopedia acknowledges Constitution Breakdown as one of Lee Cremo’s compositions. Also one of Cremo’s LP’s “The Champion Returns” includes the Constitution Breakdown. Personally, I have never heard it called the Constitutional Breakdown until I saw It on this site.

Posted by .

Your right Kong, my slip… I was working late… I should have waited till morning…

“Constitution Breakdown” ~ by Lee Cremo

“Constitution Breakdown” by Lee Cremo

Thanks Orlando and Kong ~ my dyslexic slips are showing. I can make a small mistake like that and not actually see it until much later, or someone has the grace to tell me.