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Reel

The reel is a folk dance type as well as the accompanying dance tune type. It is believed that the reel was originated in France in the 16th century. From there it spread to Scotland, where it arrived by the 1600s. Its new form was brought to Ireland by the late 1700s and many of the older Irish tunes are borrowings from the Scottish tradition. Today many Irish reels are supplemented with new compositions and by tunes from other traditions which are easily adapted as reels. It is the most popular tune-type within the Irish dance music tradition and it is transcribed in a 4/4 or 2/2 time. All of them have the same structure, it consists largely of quaver movement with an accent on the first and third beats of the bar. Most reels have two parts (AABB) which are repeated. Each part (A or B) has eight bars, which again are divided into four and then into two. These are called phrases. The structure obeys to a scheme of question-answer where A is the "question" and B is the "answer" to A. The group of thirty-two bars (AABB) is repeated three or four times before a second reel is introduced. The grouping of two tunes or more in this manner is typical in all dance tunes.



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