Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reel du Pecheur (Fisherman's Reel) in AEAE

Here's a really beautiful tune in what Erskine called "Double Tuning" or AEAE. Its from the February 1978 Cassette recording. This tune is played pretty straight and doesn't have those cross-string syncopations characteristic of a lot of Erskine's tunes. However, the low part does feature healthy dose of another one of Erskine's favourite bow licks: repeating the same note consecutively in a 16th note pattern. Note only does this lick serve to fill in the spaces in the tune, it also creates an amazing drive. Also, note the variety of clogging patterns Erskine gets with his feet. There is often a lot going on with his feet beyond the basic foot pattern.

Hear Reel du Pecheur (Fisherman's Reel)

April 17, 2010:
When I played this with Brian today at our Gaspe tunes session, he immediately recognized it as a tune Jean Carignan played called the Reel du Pecheur (Fisherman's Reel). Apparently, this was a tune either composed by Joseph Allard from Lachine, Quebec. You can hear Jean Carignan play this tune here. Jean Carignan played this tune in standard tuning in the key of Bb. Its remarkable how much Erskine's setting in double tuning changes the atmosphere of the piece, though a brilliant tune in either key!

It is related to a tune called the Democratic Rage Hornpipe which is probably in Coles 1000 Fiddle Tunes book. The great Missouri hornpipe fiddlers Bob Walters and Cyril Stinnet both played a variant of this tune under the title Leddy's Hornpipe.

For all the readers who understand French, here is an excellent article that traces the evolution of this tune through different regions of Quebec. It first talks about the dance music of Quebec being highly inspired by the music from the British Isles. It then talks about how a base melody like the Democratic Rage Hornpipe would be adapted by adding bars, adding/removing beats from bars, and changing keys, to create local variants of a tune. Indeed, this is exactly what Erskine did by moving this tune into the AEAE tuning and playing it in the key of A. The article also provides 3 different transcriptions of the tune from different regional players in Quebec. This is some serious fiddlosophy here!

Here is the Fiddler's Companion entry for this tune:

REEL DE/DU PÊCHEUR (Fisherman's Reel). French‑Canadian, Reel. B Flat Major. Standard. AA'BB'. A creation of Lachine, Québec, fiddler Joseph Allard (1865‑1947), who taught the tune to a young Jean Carignan, the famous Montreal fiddler. The “Democratic Rage Hornpipe” is a variant. Carlin (Master Collection), 1984; No. 74, pg. 50. Cuillerier (Joseph Allard), 1992; pg. 27. Folkways RBF 110, Joseph Allard. Folkways FG 3532, Alan Mills and Jean Carignan ‑ "Songs, Fiddle Tunes and a Folk Tale from Canada."

No comments:

Post a Comment