Hangman’s reel

Also known as Fandens Polsdans, Hanged Man’s, Reel Du Pendu.

There are 9 recordings of this tune.

Hangman’s has been added to 1 tune set.

Hangman’s has been added to 88 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: Hangman's
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
A,AAB c2 cc|c2 cB ABcA|EAAc BABc|dcBA cAAB|
c2 cc c2 cB|ABcA EAAc|BBGB A2 A2:|
A,AAB c2 cc|BABd c2 c2|A,AAB c2 cc|BBGB A2 A2:|
e2 c2 A2 ee|eccc BcAc|e2 c2 A2 ee|eccc BcBa:|
cAEA,|A2 BABd c2|A2 A2 cAEA,|A,2 E2 A2|BABc A2:|
X: 2
T: Hangman's
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
|:"A"A2AA "E"B2BB|"A"c2cc "E"B2BB|"A"A2AA "E"B2BB|"A"c2cc "E"B2BB|
"A"A2AA "E"B2BB|"A"c2cc "E"B2BB|"A"BcB2 A2F2|1 ."E"E2F2 "A"A2AA:|2 ."E"E2F2 "A"A4|
"A"e2c2 e2c2|"E"BcB2 "A"c4|"A"e2c2 e2c2|"E"BcB2 "A"A4|
"A"e2c2 e2c2|"E"BcB2 "A"c4|"A"e2c2 e2c2|"E"BcB2 "A"A4|
"E"B2BB B2BB|"A"c2B2 A2AA|"E"B2BB B2BB|"A"c2B2 A4|
"E"B2BB B2BB|"A"c2B2 A2AA|"E"B2BB B2BB|"A"c2B2 A4|
|:"A"c2cc "D"d2dd|"A"c2cc "D"d2dd|"A"c2cc "D"d2dd|"A"c2A2 "E"B2BB|
"A"c2cc "D"d2dd|"A"c2cc "D"d2dd|"A"c2B2 "D"A2E2|1 ."E"F2A2 "A"A2AA:|2 ."E"F2A2 "A"A4||
X: 3
T: Hangman's
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
EGAB|[M:6/4] c3 ccdcB ABcA|[M:4/4] [A,2E2] Ac BABc|dcBA cAAB|
[M:6/4]c3 ccdcB AB c/B/A|[M:4/4]E2 Ac B2 GB|[A,2E2] [E2A2] EGAB|[M:6/4] c3 cc2 d/c/B ABcA|
[M:4/4] [A,2E2] Ac BABc|dcBA cAAB|[M:6/4] c3 cceee cccc|AGAc B2 GB A2 [A2E2]||
EAAG A2 Ac|cBGB c2 cc|EAAG [A2c2] cc|BBGB A2 [A2c2]|
EAAG A2 [A2c2]|BABd c2 c2|EAAG A2 Ac|B2 GB [E2A2] [E2A2]||
|:e2 cA [C2E2] ce|1 ,2,3 e2 cA BA[A,E]A:|4 e2 cA BAAc||
B2 GE B2 GE|B2 GE AGAc|B2 GE B2 GE|B2 GB [E2A2] z2||
.c2 .A2 .E2 Ac|BABd cB A2|.c2.A2.E2 Ac|B2 GB A2 z2|
.c2 .A2 .E2 Ac|BABd [A2c2][A2c2]|.c2.A2.E2 Ac|B2 GB A2 [A2c2]||
Added by -Y- .

Seventeen comments

Hangmans Reel

This tune has kept me amused over the years. I still find it tricky to play, especially the plucked string bit. Never quite figured out how to do that. Perhaps, some one will show me some day.
Occasionally, I come close to making it sound right with the fiddle tuned to A E A C#.
I first heard it played by the french canadian fiddler, Jean Carignan on a vinyl recording and became hooked on his wild style of playing.
Aly Bain plays a very good version which can be heard on the Kennedy Centre Website
Also, heard it called ‘Le reel de pendu’, which to my ears sounds the same as the ‘Hangmans Reel’.
A fiddle player from Canada called Chris Ricker had a really good version free to download from his website, although I no longer think it’s available.
John Kirk plays a nice old timey version in straight tuning on his website.
Don’t shoot the messenger.

Reel du pendu

Yep, You need to be “scordaturated” to play this one. Here is a version posted earlier:


Carignan’s rendition is crazy indeed, I have seen him play it on the documentary recorded by Office Nationale du Film du Canada in 1975

Hangman’s Reel

This tune is played as a pols in Norway, in the A-E-A-C# tuning, complete with the pizzicato, under the name of “Fandens polsdans” or “The Devil’s Pols Dance”. It seems to have originated in Nord-Østerdalen and is played on both hardingfele and flat fiddle. Aly Bain acknowledges this too.

the hangmans reel

Hi, i wonder if you could help meout. Im playing the hangmans reel in A for my A level performance, but I need a tune that I could play before it as it doesnt show off enough skills on its own. I would normally play my own tune which is a slow jig also in A but we cant play our own compositions for the exam, so i need another tune. Could anyone recomend me a slow jig in A that I could play? Thanks it would be a real help!!

Re: the hangmans reel

It doesn’t allow you to show sufficient skills? Assuming you’re not winding us up, the mind boggles.

Have you heard Jean Carignan playing the tune? If not, you definitely should. Some clips on YouTube I think. If you can’t find any contact me by email and I’ll send you an audio clip.

Carignan uses scordatura tuning of course, AEAc#.

It’s hard to thing of a slow jig that would allow you to show off more, especially if you used the same tuning.

BTW correctly (if we’re talking about the same tune) you should call it “The hanged man’s reel” - the French title is “Le reel du pendu”, not “Le reel du bourreau”.

Good luck with the exam!

Re: the hangmans reel

I’m not sure what “skills” you are referring to. If a musician has a sufficiently high level of skill I would have thought that would get through to the examiner no matter what music they were playing. Or are the examiners looking for specific technical gymnastics like high position playing, fast cross-string bowings, high-speed coordination between fingers and bow, clean chord playing, and the like?

Re: the hangmans reel

err, we just have to show a contrast in peice, so the hangmans reel shows really fast showy-offy sttuf, with plucking and double stopping, i need to show them that I can also play with expression, slow music with vibrato and stuff, I just need that contrast,. Plus it sounds really good, changing from the slow piece into the fast.

Re: the hangmans reel

Are you playing Hangman’s in standard tuning, or are you after something that will work in the altered tuning?

Re: the hangmans reel

I suppose we’ll have to forgive you the vibrato bit if it’s required for an A level performance exam 🙂

Re: the hangmans reel

Personally, I love this version of the tune:

“BTW correctly (if we’re talking about the same tune) you should call it ”The hanged man’s reel“ - the French title is ”Le reel du pendu“, not ”Le reel du bourreau“.”

Ah Ha …………. that’s interesting. Thanks Jeeves. 🙂


Re: the hangmans reel

o’sullivan’s march

the Ali Bain version in the link above is right at the end of the video.

that said, you should watch it all, splendid

Hangman’s Reel

The setting I’ve posted here is popular with old-time fiddlers in the Nashville area. It’s quite a bit simpler than “Reel Du Pendu” and in fact bears little resemblance to that tune begging the question: Are they in fact meant to be separate tunes? Is “Hangman’s Reel” supposed to be the same as “Reel of the Hanged Man”? It would make a big difference after all to members of the hanging party!

Hangman’s, X:3

Here is the 6-part setting from Pierre Laporte, on the album Les Épousailles (1981) of La Bottine Souriante (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3rtsv), which is kind of a mix between the versions from André Alain and Jean Carignan.
Dotted notes on Part E are left-hand pizzicati. You can do the full descent in a Jean Carignan’s way if you dare 🙂

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