Reel Québécois - Isidore Soucy
Isidore Soucy was a monument of traditional dance music in Québec from the 1920’s all the way to the early 1960’s. He played in countless musical events, radio programs, and later TV and recorded For decades he was the heart of "La Famille Soucy" where he played along his sons and other musicians.
This tune also became popular in the late 1950’s when folk singer Oscar Thiffault put lyrics to it and made it "Le Jour de l’An Matin" (the morning of New Year’s day).
Very easy tune to learn on a fiddle!
A recording from 1929 can be heard here:
but is it a reel though?
What is it???
Well……… it’s not a jig or a hornpipe or a slide or a waltz or a slip-jig……. it would go down well if you wanted to polka and I suppose it could carry the ‘contra’ label. Reel seems to be a good enough description for this French-Canadian tune and I most certainly would love to have it in my repertoire and use it for dancing. It would find a place amongst my "Reels".
Super recording from the 1920’s.
T: Reel Québécois
|: E>c Bc dBGE/E/|E>d cd ecAE/E/|
E>c Bc dBGE|1 E/E/E/E/ FG BAAF/F/ :|2 E/E/E/E/ FG BAA2
|:e/e/e/e/ ec e>d BG |f/f/f/f/ fe e>e cA|
e/e/e/e/ ec e>d BG/G/ | E>E FG BAA2 :|
Reel Québécois ~ 2/4
Let’s not forget that the term ‘reel’ was loosely used over time and applied to all kinds of things. Listening to the musician, a good place to start, I would notate this as 2/4 and file it under ‘polka’, personally… But, I’d still enter the name as it is known, with ‘Reel’ in the title… I think, as far as notation goes, that 2/4 is the simpler transcription, the cleaner one, and does the tune the greater justice, is truer to it and as it is played…
Polka beat for sure, yet a perfect (4 x 2) x 2 reel structure. In Québec music we find lots of tunes named reel, quadrille, clog, etc, that are not really what the name says! Yet, we call them according to the popular usage.
The nice thing with ABC is that anyone can take the code and transform it the way they feel would be best. Transcription is only a reference…
What is it? A good dancing tune it is!
Isidore Soucy was a dance musician by excellence. This kind of tune was certainly "made" for dancing, and has a beat that can be used for all sorts of dance styles. If you alter the phrasing and signature you can even turn it into a jig!
Yes, a great dance tune, lovely, but he doesn’t play it as a jig, or as a reel… Making it into either and doing that well is not simple, in the everyone can do it category ~ at least not to do it and make a decent dance tune of it… The track is brilliant, I love it, the playing, but 2/4 is the clearer transcription if you want to do tune and musician justice as best you can with ABCs and the dots. A good way to notice something might be wrong is when the transcription, ABCs, appears cluttered, as it does in the ABCs given here. Like with a lot of things, often less is actually right, or to avoid that conflict ~ ‘best’…
Reel Québécois - Isidore Soucy ~ your transcription simplified to 2/4
Is this not easier to read? ~ meaning it makes more sense? :-/
T: Reel Québécois
K: A Major
|: Ec Bc | dB Gz/E/ | Ed cd | ec Az |
Ec Bc | dB Gz/E/ | EE FG | BA Az :|
|: e/e/e/e/ ec/e/ | dB Gz | f/f/f/f/ fe/e/ | ec Az |
e/e/e/e/ ec/e/ | dB Gz | EE FG | BA Az :|
Transcription simplified to 2/4, if you like!
Like I said, ABC is just a reference.
I always use the printed score and audio reference to learn a tune. If you find "tyour way" easier to read then be my guest! The original goal was to make a tune available to others, not to start an argument on who writes the "best" ABC!!!
Audio is always best ~ your ears, no contest…however ~
There is actually reason and sense behind notation, and there are ‘better’ (to avoid saying ‘right’) ways, and not so good ways. The sense of this is 2/4, but do what you will… Some of us are lifelong learners, no stops, or at least doing our best to fight the arthritis of the mind. Others are definitely set in their ways… But, no contest, the audio is there, the source is better than the skeleton, whether that is put together as best and as clearly as possible, or slipshod…
Now, we have 3 transcriptions for people to choose from, four actually, 3 ABCs and one set of dots. Folks can always take whatever ABC they choose and have it converted to dots at Concertina.Net, a great place for that, and midi too. You were gracious to add the link to the MP3, what more could we wish for… As said, lovely tunes québécois, no argument there…
From ABC to dots and MIDI
This is done with the ABC Navigator too, no need to use a web site!
True, but it’s a nice website and the pdf output of dots is good… I’m not exactly fond of ‘ABC Navigator’, and am yet to see a really decent ABC program I’d readily recommend, in my opinion…
Q, it isn’t about yours or mine notataion, it is always about the music… I have really enjoyed your contributions, like old shoes, lovely tunes, dance music… The Irish had a strong influence on Quebec, there is a spirit and a humour shared… But, the onion soup and maple sugar is much better in Quebec…and the snow! ;-)
It is indeed called polka by some players!
That’s brilliant québécois, harmonica. Steve Shaw will have to be directed here for a listen. So, are you going to transcribe that take to add here in the ‘comments’? It’s lovely, reminds me of an old friend that is no longer around, and who played Maritime and Irish music on the tin sandwich…
Lacroix, Henri, 1895-1962, Quebec
Polka Piquée ~ harmonica & guitar
Victor Talking Machine Co. of Canada., Montréal, 1930