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Cape Breton Strathspeys & Reels
Cape Breton
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (8 votes) 
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ELCB
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August 18, 2020 - 9:22 am
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I like Cape Breton Strathspeys and Reels!  The notes are emphasized a little differently in each, but sometimes I have a hard time telling that difference. 

I thought "Brenda Stubbert's" sounded like a Strathspey, but it's a "Reel"!  I learned the basic tune from this tutorial.  You can slow the speed by using the video settings.

I'm comfortable enough with this tune, even though I'll probably never play it as fast as I've heard others (and that's fine with me) but I think I better start learning the ornaments.  Here's video that helps - especially starting approx 3:48.

 

Here's info & sheet music for this.

https://oxfordslowsession.com/.....erts-reel/

Woohoo Jump Emoticons

Hope you give "Brenda Stubbert's Reel" a try, it's a lot of fun!

- Emily

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ELCB
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August 18, 2020 - 9:52 am
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So, I guess "King George IV" is really my 1st Strathspey! 

I learned it from this video - sometimes slowing it down to .5 speed!  I'm still playing it at .75 with no ornamentation, yet.

 

I'd like to start adding the ornamentation I see on the video & I think this video helps.

 

 

The sheet music is actually the #5 here.

https://thesession.org/tunes/1114

 

GregW - Thanks, but please don't give me kuddos until I get the ornamentation down & can actually play well enough to record it to share with everyone!

I hope you will give it a shot!

 

Robot Alien Dancing Emoticons- Emily

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GregW
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@ELCB i have a bit of an issue with the cat local 123... the tuxeodo youve seen called the b.a. on me for uncompensated exploitation..  they sent over an orange tabby..it was bad.  it may be a while.  he is wanting treats upped to 6 from 4.

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ELCB
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August 18, 2020 - 7:56 pm
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GregW - roflol

Here's a tutorial for the next Strathspey on my list - "Miss Lyall's".  I actually couldn't decide between this and "King George IV" because they are so similar.  I'm gettin' in the groove!

 

Here's sheet music.

https://thesession.org/tunes/173

 

Anyone already play these?

Just Being Contented Smiley- Emily

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ClaireS
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August 18, 2020 - 8:05 pm
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strathspeys are fun, aren't they?  I think the first one I ever learned was Thomas MacDonnel's Strathspey, off the CD "The Heart of Cape Breton"  (one of my all time favorite CDs!!!) - 

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GregW
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@ELCB I havent ventured off into Scottish or Cape Brenton stuff.  Ive picked up Maris Wedding from my in person class and a couple from Andre Brunetts tune lessons on that site but,  I just havent devoted the time to the other yet.  I like it though.  probably more or as least as much as the irish stuff.  

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ELCB
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ClaireS - I haven't heard Thomas MacDonnell's Strathspey - Thank you!  I'll have to also check out what else is on that CD.

I think besides being "bouncey", I also like the way most Strathspeys seem to utilize 4 strings - can't say "all" cause I've got 5 (lol).

 

GregW - I originally thought it would be next year before I should attempt something like these... oh well, I guess wonders never do cease!  I'm glad I kept trying to learn by ear - think it's really starting to pay off.

Smiley And Grey Cat Smiley- Emily

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ELCB
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August 19, 2020 - 6:07 pm
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Now I have questions.

I read that Scottish Strathspeys are generally slower than Cape Breton ones, but my issue lies between the "Strathspey" and the "Reel". 

What What What Emoticons

I thought Reels had the emphasis on the 1st and 3rd (4/4) while Strathspeys were pretty much equal on all 4 beats.  Then I ran across "A Collection of Strathspey Reels" (? now I'm confused) by Niel Gow.

https://imslp.org/wiki/A_Colle.....Gow,_Niel)

So I look up Strathspeys in Wikipedia.  Now, this gets complicated after I find there's like 7 varieties of Scottish Strathspeys alone (along with Irish & Cape Breton)!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.....ey_(dance)

So, now I'm wondering just how blurred are the lines here?

Topsy Turvy Smiley Emoticons

- Emily

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ClaireS
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August 19, 2020 - 10:06 pm
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So, now I'm wondering just how blurred are the lines here?

I think the answer is very blurred lol 

Since they are both in 4/4, the tune types are closely related.  the way I usually think about it is that any reel can pretty much be played like a strathspey - if you slow it down and feel it in genuine 4 rather than 2/2 (and adding in the rhythmic snaps).  

My understanding is that the strathspey as a dance evolved from the reel as a dance .... a slower reel, that eventually became its whole own tune form.  Hence the original name "strathspey reel", that eventually became just "strathspey" 

Not to mention scottish marches, which have the same rhythmic snaps as strathspeys, but are usually in 2/4 (sometimes 6/8 .... sometimes though 4/4!) and felt slower.  A standard scottish fiddle or bagpipe set usually starts with a march (or a few), goes into a few strathspeys, and then into reels.  Sometimes it will start with a slow air before the march/strathspey.  usually it's a long progression from relatively slow tunes into  some roaring reels 

Not sure if that's actually helpful, or just more confusing lol!!! 

but here's another wonderful cape breton set ... a slow air, into some strathspeys, into reels:

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ELCB
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August 20, 2020 - 11:02 am
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Thank You Smiley EmoticonsClaireS - appreciate the info.  Now I understand why many just say "Brenda Stubbert's" or "Miss Lyall's", etc...
Maybe I should have just called this thread "Scottish & Cape Breton" (lol).
 
Like the Beòlach set!  I think the slow Air (Prayerful Hymn) makes for good slow dancing but a little lengthy/repetitive for me to want to play it. 
 
Are all Scottish Airs that repetitive?  I ran across that with "Fear a' Bhàta" (btw, I love)  - only 1 part & it's just repeated...
 
- EmilyEye Alien Walking Caterpillar Monster Emoticons
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ELCB
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August 22, 2020 - 7:45 pm
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I've kinda fallen in love with this Strathspeys & Reel Set.  I suspected "Lime Hill" was a Scottish Strathspey because it's slower, but then I saw it listed on a CD titled "Traditional Music from Cape Breton Island"!  I really like that the beginning is slowed way down, maybe taking the place of an Air in the Set, but isn't monotonous to me. 

 

Here's a tutorial for Lime Hill. 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c0/a4/6f/c0a46f4a2d6370d2ed9512536ce19823.jpg- Emily

 

...now I have to go learn "Tuttles Reel" (Kevin Burke) - thanks, GregW!

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ClaireS
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August 22, 2020 - 10:10 pm
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lime hill is a super cool strathspey - I believe it was written by Dan r MacDonald, who was a cape bretoner.  I like to play it before the strathspey "Dusky Meadow" a good recording of which can be found here : 

one of my favorite things about cape breton music is how it's usually played by just stringing tunes together into super long sets, which keeps it interesting  - as my old fiddle teacher would say "if the guitar player has figured out the chords they should be playing, it's time to switch tunes!" 

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GregW
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ELCB said
...now I have to go learn "Tuttles Reel" (Kevin Burke) - thanks, GregW!

Emily @ELCB here is where Im at on Tuttles.  We rehomed tuttles today..yay.  this is Pekka named after the great Finnish goalie.  🙂   Ill see If I can add a link to some sheet music thats close to what Im playing.  What I learned was In Dm starting on low A on G string as far as sheet music and chords.  I know its Not a Cape Brenton like your topic..think its from Clare?  but since you brought this one up..here goes..

 

This sheet music is close enough..  For me the F's are the hard part.  Keeping the fingers in the shape to hit C and F when crossing over to A and D string helps.  Hard to explain what i mean there.  its a fun tune.  sounds great up to speed.

https://thesession.org/tunes/528

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ELCB
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August 23, 2020 - 9:52 am
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Thanks GregW - with your help & the Kevin Burke Tutorial sample, I should have no problem learning this GREAT tune!  I like Burke is using a lot of 4th finger ornamentation. 

ClaireS - Thank you!  I like "Dusky Meadow" - it fits right in with others I play/want to play!  Also, I like the idea of just stringing the tunes along like in Cape Breton music - just makes sense for this "sitting around the kitchen table" type music.  If I'm not mistaken, it's the Scottish tradition to have a set that starts with a slow, then faster & faster type tunes, while Irish music usually stays within 1 type for a set.  I usually prefer the variety of beat/tempo.

 

giphy.gif- Emily 

...this little guy needs a buddy.

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ELCB
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August 24, 2020 - 6:00 am
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Okay, I think I've hit the "Mother Lode" of Strathspeys (Cape Breton and Scottish) at 
mariblackmusic" (YouTube) and "John Harkness" (YouTube)! 

 

"mariblackmusic" not only has "Tune of the Month" w/tutorials for these, but also other Cape Breton tunes and French Canadian/Québécois!

Here is an interesting tune - originally written as a Cape Breton Strathspey "The Open Door" (Paul Cranford) w/tutorial.  It's cross tuned AEAE!

I like this tutorial for Scottish Strathspey "Memories of Father Angus MacDonnell" (Mike MacDougall), too. 

Here's a tutorial for Cape Breton Strathspey "Glen Rinnes" (Charles Grant). 

 

"John Harkness" has many Strathspeys as well as other Canadian, Irish & Scottish music!  He doesn't include a tutorial, but he plays cleanly w/his fingering fairly visible - if you want to slow the speed down and learn to play along.

Here's an unusual Strathspey that I really like.

And I'm squeezing this one in because I love it enough I'll be learning it, soon!

 

- Emily

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Fiddlerman
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September 7, 2020 - 8:43 am
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Once again, thank you for the wonderful shares. It's amazing how much great stuff there is out there. Imagine if we had time to learn and memorize all of this great music.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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ELCB
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Here's a few tips I found helpful for learning the "Dusky Meadow" strathspey. 

https://www.lanesboro.lib.mn.us/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/cat_fiddle.jpg- Emily 

btw, I'm apologizing for spelling "Strathspey" wrong throughout this thread (now edited), but I spelled it wrong in the title, too! 

Anyone in Admin that can fix the title for me would be greatly appreciated!

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BillyG
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October 6, 2020 - 11:38 am
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LOL @ELCB - I thought it was quaintly cute !

Changed, by your command (OK, been watching too much of the early Battlestar Galactica series...)

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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ELCB
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@BillyG -  Thanx!  You're the BEST! 

Better Battlestar Galactica than "Galaxy Quest (1999)"! 

Lately, around the Grandkids, I feel like I've become Sigourney Weaver's character, the ship's Communications Officer.  Totally nonessential, only difference in my house is I'm the go between for my family & "Alexa"!

Okay, WAY off track...

giphy.gif

- Emily 

Back to Fiddling!

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ELCB
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October 21, 2020 - 4:22 am
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I've been having so much fun! 

I've been getting better at playing "King George IV Strathspey", but I don't think the video I learned from (posted earlier) has helped anyone else, so I'll try different. 

This video may be easier to learn "King George IV Strathspey" from - says "V", but you'll see it's not. 

Here's sheet music with audio to help. 

 

 

Now, here's the King George "V" and "Frank's Reel" (sorry, I'll never be focused enough to learn "Frank's").  People always seem to put the "5th" in the middle of a larger medley(?). 

Hope you find this interesting - haven't looked for sheet music, yet. 

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/77/1a/d3/771ad36d4409bf51ad9beb0bb353dbd4.gif

- Emily

Try King George IV - it's not as hard as you may think!

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