Grandma will be so happy: My first Irish tune! Irish Washerwoman doesn’t count, right? What about Julia Delaney? Thatès a great tune. So is Banish Misfortune. So it’s almost my first Irish tune. But it certainly will be the first I tackle specifically with the goal of playing in style (Irish fiddling style, but don’t get too specific, I don’t know the difference between the styles of County Clare and County Shannon).
A day later:
Ask and ye shall receive! So I wrote to a local Irish session organizer to clarify whether this tune is usually played in G or A, and the email was passed on to a passionate Old Timer who very kindly researched the tune. Turns out both these lovely people have a special place in their hearts for Foxhunter’s Reel, so I’m quite happy to have started on it. And, with humble thanks to Wendy for providing me with such a good background on this tune, I now share her results with you:
“I love this tune, Foxhunter’s Reel, but rarely hear it played – I have notation & recordings that are in both A & G 😉 … so, in my typical fashion, I went searching the net to see what I could find out …
Apparently fiddler Patrick Kelly (1905-76) introduced this tune, in A, with his fiddle cross-tuned AEAE […] As Marty promised-predicted, here’s some links & quotes about Foxhunter’s Reel that may be of interest …
The companion to Irish traditional music By Fintan Vallely
“It is from Patrick Kelly (1905-76, fiddler) that the Foxhunters reel has been passe on in, c 1963, later popularized by the Chieftain. He tuned his fiddle AEAE”
“One of the “big” reels at sessions in modern times. It is generally easier for fiddlers to play it in the key of ‘A’ Major, although session playing demands ‘G’ to accommodate other instruments. The GDgd or AEae tuning for the tune was traditional in County Kerry, and was brought to southern County Clare by the late fiddler Patrick Kelly”
“a remarkable performance of The Foxhunters Reel by the Clare fiddler Patrick Kelly, recorded in the 1950s. He use birls, rolls, and other baroque gracings plus English or American levels of drones and double stops, he plays in the classic pre-melodeon fiddle key of A and – incredibly – in crosstuning, the only case I know of its use in Irish tradition. The tune itself is a typical 18th century single reel of the type so popular in the old English collections and hough its not a classic long variation set, with its five distinct strains it comes closer to it than most modern fiddle tunes.
A (cape breton – notation, midi sample)
AEAC# (video-fiddle not tuned in A440) “
Wendy, top grades for this research! And with your permission, I will add the other links you sent me to those on the right of this page.
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