Compositions on the subject of 3/2 Reel

3/2 Time signature has a habit of panicking people however, in my opinion, it’s one of the best time signatures for traditional music.

First two bars of 'Tarbolton Gospel Hall'

The reason that I love this time signature is that it plays like a 4/4 reel but with additional notes added to each bar - this results in an intense feeling of drive within the music because bar two gives the effect of having played 4 bars within 4/4 but with an abrupt ending before we've resolved to the repeat.

This was a far more common time signature hundreds of years ago within traditional music - especially within hornpipes, but it’s sadly fallen to the conformity of counting in 4 or 8 within music.

The best description I can give of the pleasure of 3/2 is if you ever try looking at one of those ‘magic eye’ pictures whereby it looks like a random pattern until you then see a 3D image and then…. then you get it.

Here’s a good example of the 3/2 tune ‘An Drochaid Chliùiteach’ (The Twisted Bridge). It’s the last tune that the great Martyn Bennett plays in this set on Scottish smallpipes.

You are most welcome to browse, download and play any of the compositions. All compositions remain copyright © John C Grant.

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Name Collection
Denise MacColl The Fowk Collection
Dr Fiona McKenzie OBE The Tarbolton Collection
Gallowhill Avenue The Tarbolton Collection
John Burns The Tarbolton Collection
Johnie Ged The Tarbolton Collection
Jolyn Crawford The Tarbolton Collection
Mansefield Road The Tarbolton Collection
Martin Trainer The Kilmarnock Collection
Parliament Close The Tarbolton Collection
Saunders Tait The Tarbolton Collection
Scott Bowden The Fowk Collection
Sean Maddocks The Kilmarnock Collection
Tarbolton Gospel Hall The Tarbolton Collection