King's Reel (The)

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KING'S REEL, THE. AKA and see "George the Fourth Reel," "King's (The)." Scottish (originally), Canadian; Reel. Canada; Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island. A Dorian (Skye): A Mixolydian (Dunlay & Reich, Dunlay & Greenberg/MacLean, Little): A Mixolydian/Dorian (Dunlay & Greenberg/MacMaster): A Minor {'A' part} & A Mixolydian {'B' part} (Kerr, Athole). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Little, Shears, Skye): AABB' (Kerr, Athole): AA'BB' (Perlman): AABCCD (Dunlay). Dunlay and Reich (1986) remark that this reel is a favorite among audiences in Cape Breton; "loud whoops of excitement are often heard at dances when the fiddler changes into this tune during a medley." Shears (1986) agrees, saying it is "an old reel still popular in Cape Breton." It has been frequently recorded by Cape Breton and P.E.I. fiddlers. The melody is often played in Nova Scotia in a medley as the reel that follows Daniel Menzies' "King George the IVth" strathspey, and with "Old King's Reel," particularly as a vehicle for stepdancing (note Dunlay and Greenberg, 1996). It was set for bagpipes by Nova Scotia piper Barry Shears in his Gathering of the Clans Collection (1986). The tonality in the 'A' part of all versions shifts between Mixolydian and Dorian. Perlman (1996) states the third part (or 'B' in Perlman's book) is a Cape Breton addition. The melody was published by Scottish fiddler and teacher William C. Honeyman as "George the Fourth Reel."

King George IV (1762-1830)

Sources for notated versions: Buddy MacMaster (Cape Breton) [Dunlay & Reich]; Buddy MacMaster and Joe MacLean (Cape Breton) [Dunlay & Greenberg]; Paul MacDonald (b. 1974, Charlottetown, Queens County, Prince Edward Island) [Perlman].

Printed sources: Dunlay & Greenberg (Traditional Celtic Violin Music of Cape Breton), 1996; p. 41. Dunlay & Reich (Traditional Celtic Fiddle Music of Cape Breton), 1986; p. 47. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 2), No. 64, p. 9. Little (Scottish and Cape Breton Fiddle Music in New Hampshire), 1984; p. 36. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 106. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 89. Shears (Gathering of the Clans Collection, vol. 1), 1986; p. 57. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 42.

Recorded sources: ATL 0193, Howie MacDonald – "The Ceilidh Trail" (1993. Appears as "King George IV Reel"). Celtic CX051, Donald MacLellan. Celtic CX036, Jimmie MacLellan. DMP6-27, Doug MacPhee – "Cape Breton Piano II" (1979). Culburnie Records CUL102c, Alasdair Fraser & Jody Stecher – "The Driven Bow" (1988). Decca 14024 (78 RPM), Alex Gillis – "The Inverness Serenaders." Rodeo (Banff) RBS 1246, Joe MacLean – "And His Old Time Scottish Fiddle." RF8901, John Morris Rankin/The Rankin Family – "The Rankin Family" (1993). Rodeo RLP 107, Joe MacLean – "And his Old Time Scottish Fiddle" (c. 1967). Rounder 7006, Theresa MacLellan – "A Trip to Mabou Ridge" (1979). Rounder 7004, Joe Cormier – "The Dances Down Home" (appears as "King George the IVth"). Topic 12TS354, Alex Francis MacKay – "Cape Breton Scottish Fiddle" (1978).

See also listing at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
See/hear Buddy MacMaster and Natalie MacMaster play the tune in a set on youtube.com [3] ("King George the IVth, "Old King's Reel," "King's Reel (The)," "Miss Lyall's Reel")




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