Jump to content

looking for recommendations for a reel to get "up to speed"


Recommended Posts


I'm looking for a reel  or two that fall naturally under the fingers on an english concertina.  The plan would be to get them up to speed to play in a public session (or post on the net in these strange times) . So, lots of nice runs, easy keys, and no repeat-note triplets please !


I seem to choose to practice interesting (often far too difficult) tunes rather than those i could get to a respectable standard. So it would be good to work on something that is naturally easier for a change. 


It would be even better if the tunes were hard to play on the fiddle. :)

Thank you


Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are many great tunes to be found in the Northumbrian Bagpipe repertoire.

Good tunes to start with might by Winster Gallop, Salmon Tails Up The Water, Jamie Allen.

Many great tunes in the Northumbrian Pipers Tune Book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Take a look at Mally Productions web-site - lots of tunebooks there for varied skills levels and most have an accompanying CD: https://www.mallyproductions.com/


In particular, this one: https://www.mallyproductions.com/product-page/the-english-concertina-absolute-beginners-bk-cd-alex-wade-and-dave-mallinson


I know it says absolute beginners, but Alex plays lots of tunes (with notation and fingering suggestions) and they do get more advanced towards the end.


Mally has several session books also with accompanying CDs mostly with Mally playing the melodeon - really fast!


If you have not tried using one of the various slow downer programs then you might find it worthwhile to rip one of Mally's CDs and use a slow downer so that you can play along with the tune that you are learning beginning at a slow pace. Then gradually speed it up to session speed and beyond! 


The two slow downer programs that are often mentioned here are 'The Amazing Slowdowner' and 'Transcribe!'. Neither are free after an initial trial period.  You can also use the free and open source Audacity to slow down music, but it is nowhere near as convenient as the other programs.








Link to comment
Share on other sites

If part of your objective is to confound the fiddle players, (I am one and we're a spoiled lot) let me recommend the Bee's Wing.  It's a beautiful hornpipe and the original score is in B flat I believe. I use it as a warm up tune in F, C and B flat (on duet).  If you play it in F the fiddlers will mutter and many will sit out. Those worth their salt will be able to follow along.  Modulate to C.  Some of the sitters may re- join.  After a round or two lower the boom with a seguay to B flat.  You're beyond reproach in the original key and will likely have the stage to yourself.....?  Or simply learn it in B flat of course.  

Edited by wunks
Link to comment
Share on other sites

interesting- thanks. 


That's a different Paddy Fahey's reel from the one I usually trip over at full speed (and no, I'm not getting confued with Paddy Fahey's jig). So I will give it a go. Thanks. 


I  like Northumberland tunes and I have a lot of those long thin booklets with very small dots in them that are slightly too difficult for me to read without photo-enlarging. But the tunes do tend to bounce around a lot rather than have easy-to-play-on-an-EC runs.


Interesting idea on the Bee's wing !  I see its often played in G as well.  Confounding fiddlers isn't my primary aim btw, but it's nice not to be the only one that has trouble with certain note progressions occasionally. The Road to Errogie by Adam Sutherland is a fine tune but difficult - for me - to play at speed, but is also a good one for discomforting some fiddlers, if you can play it in the original key of B.  


Mallys. Hm, really ?  I should check again, rather than following my prejudices brought about by a few friends learning melodeon. 


good ideas thanks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a lockdown exercise, I've been recording eight tunes a week on my EC in the style of our Greenshoots improvers sessions, played slowly, then faster, then faster. I've added another eight/nine today. See https://pghardy.net/greenshoots/virtual/. The dots are also there at reasonable size to print (or download the free session tunebook PDF or ABC and zoom them to full screen on a tablet).


There are a few reels there among the jigs, polkas, hornpipes, marches, rants, waltzes and bourees. I suggest "Wind that Shakes the Barley" as a well-behaved set of dots for an Irish reel that can be worked up to speed. Even a Morris reel like "Young Collins" falls nicely under the fingers. If you like Northeastern tunes then the Morpeth Rant is good to get up to speed, and you can always confuse the fiddlers by switching to the Old Morpeth Rant which isn't played much these days! You can also straighten out any 4/4 swung hornpipe to make a reel, as I did with Foul Weather Call, which can also confuse fiddlers if you yell 'straight' and change in the middle of playing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a file of music in ABC notation, which has 38 tunes under the names of Paddy Fahy's or Paddy Fahey's.

Some are separately identified with a number, and some have a key signature noted in the title.

Apart from that I have not been through playing them alll to see if there are duplicates.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...