Miller's Reel (1)

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X:1 T:Miller's Reel [1] C:Zeke Backus M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Reel B:Coes Album of Jigs and Reels, something new, for professional and amateur violinists, B:leaders of orchestras, quadrille bands, and clog, reel and jig dancers; consisting of a B:Grand Collection of entirely New and Original Clog-Hornpipes, Reels, jigs, B:Scotch Reels, Irish Reels and Jigs, Waltzes, Walk-Arounds, etc. (1876, p. 26) N:Coes performed with the San Francisco Minstrels in California from 1852 to 1859. Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:A A,C/E/ DF/A/|EG/B/ Ac/A/|B/E/c/E/ d/E/c/E/|B/E/c/B/ A/F/E/C/| A,C/E/ DF/A/|EG/B/ Ac/e/|{g}f/e/f/g/ a/g/a/f/|e/c/B/c/ A:| |:(3e/f/g/|ag/a/ f/e/c/e/|bb/g/ a/g/f/e/|g/e/b/e/ g/b/e/g/|f/e/^d/f/ e(3e/f/g/| ag/a/ f/e/c/e/|f/g/a/g/ f/e/c/e/|f/B/g/B/ a/f/e/d/|c/A/B/G/ A:|]



MILLER'S REEL [1]. AKA and see "Dawn (1) (The)," "Dawning of the Day (5) (The)" (Fáinne an Lae), "Dusty Miller (5)" (floating title), "Spirit of 1880 (The)," "Twenty-Eighth of January," "Twenty-Second of February (The)." AKA - "The Miller." American, Irish, British; Reel. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Bayard, Silberberg): AABB (most versions): AA'BB' (Phillips). "Miller's Reel" is a fairly common and widely known fiddle tune in America, although it is also heard in Scotland ("Miller (The)") and Ireland ("Dawn (1) (The)," "Dawning of the Day (5) (The)"). There seems no particular antiquity to Irish versions, however, and the provenance may be American. The melody is very similar to "Spirit of 1880 (The)," and in modern times is also known as "Twenty-Eighth of January (The)." The reel appears as "Twenty-Second of February (The)" in George P. Knauff's Virginia Reels, volume II (Baltimore, 1839).

The composition is credited to New England bandleader and tune composer Zeke Backus in Coes Album of Jigs and Reels (1876) and in Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883), published by Elias Howe in Boston. Little is known of Backus, who seems to have been a sometime minstrel performer and apparently spent at least some time in San Francisco. "Miller's Reel" was published earlier in another of Elias Howe's publications, 1000 Jigs and Reels (c. 1867) as an untitled 'reel' included in the section of schottisches, and it may be that Howe's source for the tune in that publication was also Backus.

See also the related "Big Tiger Special." "John Sharp's Hornpipe" is a distanced variant.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Frame Davis (Des Moines, Iowa) [Christeson]; Hogg (Pa., 1948) [Bayard]; learned by Byron Berline from his father [Frets]; Carthy Sisco [Silberberg]; Dr. John Turner, director of the Jink and Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling, held yearly in Valle Crucis, North Carolina [Johnson/2003].

Printed sources : - Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 135, p. 74 (appears as untitled reel). Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 189. R.P. Christeson (Old Time Fiddler's Repertory, vol. 2), 1984; p. 19. George H. Coes (Coes Album of Jigs and Reels, something new, for professional and amateur violinists, leaders of orchestras, quadrille bands, and clog, reel and jig dancers; consisting of a Grand Collection of entirely New and Original Clog-Hornpipes, Reels, jigs, Scotch Reels, Irish Reels and Jigs, Waltzes, Walk-Arounds, etc.), 1876; p. 26. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 45. "Byron Berline: the Fiddle," Frets Magazine, February 1986; p. 57. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 54 (appears as an untitled "Reel"). Jarman (The Cornhuskers Book of Square Dance Tunes), 1944; p. 25. Jarman and Hansen (Old Time Dance Tunes), 1951; p. 10. Jigs and Reels, vol. 1, 1908; p. 22. Johnson (Kitchen Musician No. 20: A Twenty Year Anniversary Collection), 2003; p. 3 (appears as "The Miller"). Messer (Way Down East Fiddlin' Tunes), No. 13. Miller & Perron (New England Fiddler's Repertoire), 1983; No. 90. O'Malley & Atwood (Seventy Good Old Dances), 1919; p. 14. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 152. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 72. Silberberg (Fiddle Tunes I Learned at the Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 98. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 135. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p. 71.

Recorded sources : - Caney Mountain CEP 210 (privately issued extended play LP), Lonnie Robertson (Mo.), 1965-66. County 707, Norman Solomon – "Texas Fiddle Favorites." F&W Records 2, "F&W String Band 2." Folkways FTS 31039, "Red Clay Ramblers" (1974. Learned from Armin Barnett). Fretless 101, "The Campbell Family: Champion Fiddlers." Front Hall 08, Alister Anderson – "Traditional Tunes." Rounder 0100, Byron Berline – "Dad's Favorites." Rodney Miller – "Airplang II" (1987).

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [3]



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