Annotation:Four Hand Reel (1) (The)

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X:1 T:Four-Hand Reel [1], The M:4/4 L:1/8 S:Capt. F. O'Neill Z:Paul Kinder R:Reel K:G (3DEF|TG2 BG dGBG|FADA FADA|G2 BG dGBd|egfa gedB| G2 BG dGBG|FADA FADA|G2 BG dcBd|egfa g2|| (3def|gdBd edBd|gdBd Te2 ef|gdBd edBd|egfa g3 d| gabg efge|dedc BGBd|Tedef edBd|egfa gedB|| G2 BG dcBG|(3FED AD BDAD|G2 BG dcBd|egfa gedB| G2 BG dcBG|(3FED AD BDAD|G2 BG dcBd|egfa g2|| (3def|Tg2 gf gdBd|faag fdef|Tg2 gf gdBd|(3efg af g3 d| gabg efge|dedc BGBd|Tedef edBd|(3efg af gedB||

FOUR-HAND REEL [1], THE ("Seisd Na Ceitre-Lam" or "Cor Ceatrair"). AKA and see "Ballyvaughan," "Corporal Casey (2)," "Corporal Casey's Fancy," "Five Mile Chase (1)]," "Lady Gardner's," "Langford's Reel," "Miss Gardner," "Parnell's Reel," "Reel de Tadoussac (2)," "Wild Fire Chase," "Yellow Haired Laddie (1)." Irish, Reel. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. Under the title "Langford's Reel" the melody appears in the mid-19th century music manuscripts of Church of Ireland cleric and uilleann piper James Goodman. O'Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody, 1922) remarks:

The Four Hand Reel' as far as the writer is aware was first brought to Chicago in 1886 by Barney Delaney, an excellent Irish piper. So versatile was he, like most great Irish musicians, in the manipulation of his instrument, that he varied his tunes according to fancy without detriment to tone or rhythm, but rather to the advantage of the general effect. Although not included in any collection of Irish music published beyond the Atlantic, the strain must have been quite popular in the Eastern States, for we find the tune in a Boston publication no less than four times, and named respectively: 'Corporal Casey's Fancy', 'Lady Gardner's', 'Parnell's Reel', and 'Yellow Haired Laddie (1)'; all consisting of but two parts each. The setting here presented was memorized from Delaney's playing, but no bare scoring of measured bars could do justice to his inimitable execution. Since the foregoing was written I find that 'Five Mile Chase (1)' in R.M. Levey's Second Collection of the Dance Music of Ireland, London, 1873; consisting of but two parts, is also a variant of 'The Four Hand Reel'".

Despite O'Neill's assertion that the melody was 'first brought to Chicago in 1886', this Irish reel had been in general circulation in the United States for some years prior to that year. It was printed by Howe c. 1867 under the "Four Hand Reel" title and was included in a section of tunes from the playing of Jimmy Norton, "the Boss Jig Player," presumably a band-leader or principal instrumentalist from the Boston, Massachusetts, area in the mid-19th century[1]. Howe records:

The Scotch are indefatigable when dancing this Reel; they seem almost intoxicated with it-they snap their fingers-throw their arms and feet in the air-screech out-and make such quick, and difficult steps, that the eyes have trouble following them. The figure is danced by two ladies and two gentlemen forming a line of four, the ladies in the center. They begin with a chain in passing in and out of each other, until the two gentlemen return to their places, the ladies finish facing the gentlemen; then they set (or balance) as long as they can-in fact, they never seem tired, and seem to acquire fresh strength each time they come to the balance.

See also the Québec variants "Jack Delad" and "Reel de Tadoussac (2)."

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - "From my mother" [Mulihill].

Printed sources : - Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 32. Levey (Dance Music of Ireland, 2nd Collection), 1873; No.35, p 15 (appears as untitled reel). Mulvihill (1st Collection), 1986; No. 9, p. 3. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1554, p. 287. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 767. O'Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922; No. 207.

Recorded sources : - Decca 12098-B (78 RPM), Myles O'Malley (1937).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng's [2]

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  1. Paul de Grae suggests Howe's title was more descriptive (i.e. of the dance) than a tune title.