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Celtic fiddlers' favorite reels


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I am working on putting this great scottish set together. I've recently come across two tunes that pair beautifully together, both in the key of A.

The first tune is "Had the Lass Till I Win At Her", and the 2nd is called "Blue Britches". Both are wonderful scottish reels that have that slightly "different" sound than it seems alot of reels do. It seems that so often so many reels, like Temperance Reel or Maid Behind the Bar, are just eighth note runs that do the same thing over and over, and seem to not really go anywhere or do anything exciting. I like the reels that do something like cross several strings or have that certain twist. You fiddlers out there will know what I'm talking about.

Anyways, I'm looking for a great 3rd reel to put with these two so I can have a set. We usually play tunes as sets, and I usually try to put three together on the page.

Any suggestions for that different reel with slight twist, rather than just common everyday reels, would be greatly appreciated.

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Try the 'Reel De Beatrice' (Beatrice Reel).

It is a Cape Breton style fiddle tune with 3 parts.

This tune is very exciting and driving, although a little more challenging to learn compared to most other tunes. But it's worth learning and playing.

The Beatrice Reel can be found in the Portland Collection book.

I hope you have fun with it.

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well, Paul Macs reel would fit quite nice...a Jerry Holland tune, or Pretty Peg might fit in..I am currently working on the Skinner tune "The Hurricane"...it's in A..Timour the Tartar could fit, or Because He Was a Bonnie Lad.

My current favorite ITM reels are The Silver Speer, Maid Behind the Bar, Merry Blacksmith and am learning Homours of Tulla,St Annes Reel, and Toss the Feathers as a set...fun stuff..

do you have Harp and Claymore, Fiddle Music of Scotland (William hardie), or Caledonian Companion?...great resources all of them



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An interesting idea that was mentioned in a workshop I attended last Spring was that in a set, sometimes you don't want all killer tunes. Sometimes it's good to give the ears a rest by including one that's not as exciting as the rest somewhere in the middle, then you've got more of a contrast (this probably applies more to a country dance set where you're repeating tunes e.g 12342341, rather than a listening set where you're going straight through them). At any rate, I agree with the pipe reel suggestion; there are some good ones out there although sometimes it can be a stretch to make them work well on the fiddle. I played Lexy McAskill in a set the other night; that's a fun one. Also The Drunken Landlady is one of my favorites. Don't know how well either would work in your set, though. -Steve

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