Annotation:Reel du pendu

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X:1 T:Reel du pendu T:Hanged man's reel T:Hangman's reel L:1/8 M:C| N:Play ABACBAC, although Allard's order was transmutable after that. N:There is also a fourth section, not transcribed, played only once in the N:entire recording. N:Jean Duval transcribed the first strain in 3/2 time D:Victor 263527 (78 RPM), Joseph Allard (1928) F: Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:A P:A E[EA] AB||c3c- cdcB|AB{B}cA EAAc |BABc dcBA|A-c2c- cdcB| ABcA EAAc|(B/c/B) GB A4|A-c2c- cdcB|ABcA EAAc| BABc dcBA|A-c2c- cdcB|ABcA EAAc| (B/c/B) GB A4|| P:B EAAA AGAc|BABd c4|EAAA AGAc|BABd cAA2| EAAA AGAc|BABd c4|EAAA AGAc|BABd cA3B|| P:C c|e2cA eAce|ddB=G dGB2|e2 cA eAce|dB=GA BAAc| e2cA eAce|ddB=G dGB2|e2cA eAce|dB=GB A3||

HANGED MAN'S REEL. AKA - "Hangman's Reel." AKA and see "Nightingale (1) (The)," "Patte du mouton (La)," "Reel of the Hanged One," "Reel du pendu." French-Canadian, Reel. Canada; Quebec, Prince Edward Island. A Major (Brody, Hart & Sandell): G Major (Perlman). AEac# (usually) or Standard tunings (fiddle). AABB (Perlman): ABCC'DEF (Hart & Sandell): AABBCCDDEEFF (Brody). A widely known reel among French-Canadian fiddlers, it is considered one of the "showcase" tunes of the repertoire. "Reel du pendu" (Hanged Man's Reel) exists in myriad versions and variations, some of which are quite distanced from one-another, although they all feature scordatura tuning in the key of 'A'. Fiddler and researcher Lisa Ornstein writes the tune "typically features a nuclear melody which is followed by a number of short strains based on arpeggiated motifs which gradually descend from the upper to the lower octave; many versions include the use of left-hand pizzicato on the open strings... virtually all versions are characterized by the use of an AEac# scordatura and by an associated story which credits the composition of the tune to a prisoner condemned to be hanged." Ken Perlman (1996) writes that this reel is always played in a medley with "Reel du cordonnier" on Prince Edward Island in the form of two time through for "Reel du pendu," once for "Reel du cordonnier" and finally two more times through of "Pendu."

There are several variants of a story associated with the tune, all having to do with a condemned man and an offer of reprieve as reward for a performance or musical task accomplished. One such variant is that the condemned man was able to secure a last-minute reprieve-challenged and given an out-of-tune fiddle, he was able to play a tune no one had ever heard before. Another version goes (from Louis Boudreault) that the (sometimes musically untrained) condemned was given an un-tuned fiddle and was told that if he could play a reel by morning he would be pardoned: he did-he was-and "Reel du pendu" is the result.

The tune's origins remain unclear, writes Ornstein, who was unable to find any antecedents for the melody in music from France. There are some similarities with the Scottish reel "Grieg's Pipes," as well as with the American "Lost Indian" family of tunes (another family with myriad variants, including the Louisiana, back-to-French version, "Reel du sauvage perdu" {Lost Indian}, according to Hart & Sandell, 2001). The earliest mention Lisa Ornstein found of the tune in Quebec was in an account by agronomist and author Georges Bouchard (1888-1956), who wrote about his childhood in the latter part of the 19th century in the village of Saint-Philippe-de-Néri (in the Kamouraska region). There "Reel du pendu" was played by the fiddler at the end of a dance, returning for the piece, after which the crowd dispersed. The earliest sound recording appears to be by Quebec fiddlers Joseph Allard in 1928 and Isidore Soucy, who recorded it five times on 78 RPM between 1927 and 1952. The melody appears in J.A. Boucher's 1933 collection under the title "Patte du mouton (La)" or "Sheep Shanks," which Jean Duval (2018) remarks still has currency among musicians in Gaspésie and Acadia.

Duval [1] (2018) transcribed Montreal fiddler Joseph Allard's 1928 recording of the reel with all the 'd' notes played as 'd#' notes, reflecting Allard's intonation of the note somewhere between the two. The backup piano player on the recording, A. Rochon, initially continues to play along in the major mode in the 'C' part, but the second time through catches on to the shift to the mixolydian mode. Duval also transcribe the first strain in 3/2 time, which fits Allard's phrasing. See also the American old-time derivative under the title "Hangman's Reel (1)." See also "Reel du bourreau," Isidore Soucy's version of the tune in the key of 'G', recorded in 1930 with accordion player Donat Lafleur.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Jean Carignan (d. 1987, Montreal, Canada) [Brody]; Louise Arsenault (b. 1956, East Prince County, Prince Edward Island) [Perlman]; fiddler Pierre Laporte of the group La Bottine souriante, who credits both Jean Carignan and André Alain for his version [Hart & Sandell]; Louise Arsenault (Prince Edward Island) [Fiddler Magazine].

Printed sources : - Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 130. Duval (La Musique de Isidore Soucy 1899-1962), 2017; No. 89, p. 49. Duval (La Musique de Joseph Allard 1973-1947), 2018; No. 5, p. 3. Fiddler Magazine, vol. 8, No. 1, Spring 2001; p. 16. Hart & Sandell (Dance ce Soir), 2001; pp. 72-73 (appears as "Reel du pendu"). Perlman (Fiddle Tunes of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 66.

Recorded sources: -Biograph 6007, Ebenezer- "Tell It To Me." Columbia 34193-F (78 RPM), Isidore Soucy (1928). Folkways FG 3531, Jean Carignan- "Old Time Fiddle Tunes" (1961. Appears as "Reel of the Hanged One"). June Appal 014, John McCutcheon- "The Wind That Shakes the Barley." Legacy 120, Jean Carignan- "French Canadian Fiddle Songs." Philo 2000, "Louis Beaudoin" (1973). Point Records P-229, Isidore Soucy - "Canadian Jigs and Reels." Rounder 0193, Rodney Miller - "Airplang" (1985). Starr 15705 (78 RPM), Isidore Soucy (fiddle) {1930}. Starr 16169 (78 RPM), Tommy Duchesne (accordion) {1938}. Transatlantic 337, Dave Swarbrick- "Swarbrick" (appears as "The Nightengale"). Voyager VRLP 322-S, Louis Boudreault- "Old Time Fiddler of Chicoutimi, Québec" (1977, 1993). La Bottine souriante - "Les éspousailles" (1980). Yvon Mimeault - "Y'etait temps!/It's About Time." Barachois - "Barachois"

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Hear Allard's 1928 recording at the Virtual Gramophone [3]

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