Mr. Barnard's Reel

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X:1 T:Mr. Bernard M:C L:1/8 R:Reel B: Joseph Lowe - Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, B:book 5 (1844-45, p. 17) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:F G|F2 (CF) AFEF|DFCF A,FCF|G2 (CF) AFEF|GABA GG,G,:| d|c2 (df) cdAB|cfAB caAB|c2 (df) cdAc|BGAF GG,G,d| cfef dfcf|cfef afef|dbca BgAf|BGAF GG,G,||

MR. BARNARD('S REEL). AKA - "Mr. Bernard." Scottish, Reel. F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Gow): AAB (Athole, Lowe). Composed by Scottish fiddler, composer, music publisher and bandleader Nathaniel Gow (1763–1831), son of the famous Dunkeld fiddler-composer Niel Gow. The tune was named for Mr. Barnard, an Edinburgh violinist of note and one of the members of the orchestra that gave concerts in Edinburgh at St. Cecilia's Hall. The orchestra was led by Italian born Signor Puppo, also a violin concerto player, and included

...Mr. Schetky, from Germany, the principal violoncellist, and a fine solo concerto player; Joseph Reinagle, a very clever violoncello and viola player; Stephen Clarke, an excellent organist and harpsichord player; and twelve or fifteen violins, basses, flutes, violas, horns, and clarionets, with extra performers often from London. Upon the resignation of Puppo, who charmed all hearers, Stabilini succeeded him, and held the situation till the institution was at an end: he had a good round tone, though, to my apprehension, he did not exceed mediocrity as a performer. But I should be unpardonable if I omitted to mention the most accomplished violin-player I ever heard, Paganini only excepted—I mean Giornovicki, who possessed in a most extraordinary degree the various requisites of his beautiful art: execution peculiarly brilliant, and finely articulated as possible; a tone of the richest and most exquisite quality; expression of the utmost delicacy, grace, and tenderness; and an animation that commanded your most intense and eager attention.[1]

Mr. Barnard is mentioned in a concert given in St. Cecilia’s on December 8th, 1779, for at a benefit on behalf of Mrs. Marchetti where "a clarinet concerto by Mr. Barnard" was announced. However well he played (and period accounts mention his considerable talent) Barnard's reputation did not long outlive him. Mr. Barnard is credited with the composition “Corn Cutter (1) (The)[2].

"Mr. Barnard's Reel" has frequently been recorded by Cape Breton fiddlers.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Winston Fitzgerald (Cape Breton) [Cape Breton's Magazine] (based on a solo home tape of 1958).

Printed sources : - Alburger (Scottish Fiddlers and Their Music), 1983; Ex. 81, pp. 132–133. Cape Breton's Magazine, No. 46, 1987; p. 20. Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 293. Cranford (Jerry Holland: The Second Collection), 2000; No. 177, p. 67. Gow (Fifth Collection of Strathspeys, Reels), 1809; p. 11. Joseph Lowe (Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, book 5), 1844-45, p. 17. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 225.

Recorded sources : - Atlantica Music 02 77657 50222 26, Jerry Holland – “Atlantic Fiddles” (1994). Fiddlesticks Music CD1, Jerry Holland – “The Fiddlesticks Collection” (1992). Rounder 7001, Joe Cormier – "The Dances Down Home" (1977).

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]

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  1. Quoted from Traditions of Edinburgh, by Robert Chambers, 1847.
  2. It must be remembered that the distinction between the popular Scottish music of the time and 'art music' was much less that it has been in modern times. Scottish airs were played at these concerts on the same bill as Handel and Corelli.