5 American Reels


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This is an arrangement of 5 traditional American reels. Each is 16 bars long with two sections of 8 bars, each of which is repeated, thus forming a 32-bar reel.

There are many 5-couple traditional dances which require reels and several which specifically need American reels.

The arrangement is, as usual, for two flutes, the second playable also on Descant Recorder, Clarinet in Bb, Violin, Accordion / Piano / Guitar and Bass. Individual instrumental lines can be played by other suitable instruments where resources require this.

The bass part is quite straightforward; guitar players should strum the chords on the strong beats but, when the tunes are better known, can add in some quaver rhythms where considered musically appropriate. The piano part can simply be ‘vamped’, i.e. providing chords and bass, or the player can perform the melody line as well as adding an accompaniment. The accordion player will play the tunes and provide a bass / chord accompaniment with the left hand. The three upper parts share the tunes at times as well as providing countermelodies at others.

Remember that these are dance tunes and, therefore, there should be a ‘lift’ to the playing. The set, or various combinations of reels from within it, are suitable for KS3 and GCSE ensemble work as well, of course, for use by a Ceilidh band.