Irish Tune Category: Hop Reels

(Reels with occasional extra beats interrupting the usual straight 4/4, 2/2 or 8/8 metres)

The Woman in the Bog

A quirky reel with an extra hopped beat, thus a ‘Hop Reel’. I’ll leave the title open to interpretation…..except to say it follows a tradition of Irish tune titles like The Woman of the House and The Geese in the Bog.

Charlie’s Chomp

A bluesy Hop Reel in 6/4, dedicated to Charlie, a nice little dog that my wife and I minded for a few days in 2021.

Charlie is a happy go lucky dog who loved chomping on the food we gave him!

Bats on the Boyne

A hop reel dedicated to my favourite New Zealand band ‘The Bats’. There’s a subtle influence from The Bats’ music in this tune.

The ‘Boyne’ reference betrays the fact that this tune was incorporated into an orchestral piece called ‘Oriel Suite’, which was commissioned by the Oriel Traditional Orchestra with funds from the Arts Council of Ireland. Premiere on 8th April 2022 at Feile Patrick Byrne in Castleblaney, Monaghan, Ireland.

Beau’s Bounce

Here’s a tune composed in honour of Beau. a lovely dog who my wife and I minded for a couple of weeks in the lovely orchard area of Te Puna, near the city of Tauranga in New Zealand.
This is a hop reel, as there are 6/4 bars which ‘hop’ the usual 4/4 reel rhythm.

The Toko Mouth Reel

The Toko Mouth Reel (Hop Reel)

A tune composed in Milton, Otago, New Zealand where my wife and I stayed for a while in 2021. We were very close to a quaint beach settlement called Toko Mouth, named after the Tokomairaro River. The tune meanders like a river.This is an unusual reel for a number of reasons. It is in the key of F, which is not so common for Irish music. It also has an uneven number of bars in the A part (7) and a 6/4 bar at the end. For these reasons I consider it a kind of ‘Hop Reel’.

Reel 47

Reel 47 (Hop Reel)

A tune composed whilst working on a choral piece, setting Psalm 47 to a commission for an American choir. The choir director requested the piece include an Irish style tune in it using the Dorian mode, so I came up with this, which the choir will lilt in between some of the Psalm verses! The mix of 4/4 and 6/4 bars places this in the category of a Hop Reel.

Phrygian Reel

The Phrygian Reel (Hop Reel)

A tune composed using the Phrygian mode which, on the white notes of the piano, is the seven notes starting from an E note. E, F, G, A, B, C, D. It is common enough to classical music and jazz, but very rarely found in Irish traditional music. Not to be confused with the Phrygian Dominant mode often used in Spanish flamenco, which is E, F, G#, A, B, C, D. This tune has occasional bars of 6/4 which ‘hop’ the tune out of a usual reel structure. This is a rhythmic trick used by Tommy Potts and Con Cassidy, among others, apparently to fool dancers!