Newlyn Reel / Plethen Lullyn
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  1. Fabian Maddison

    This tune and dance struck me as particularly unusual. On closer inspection it would seem that music and dance have similarities Kletzmer.
    This strikes me as if the Jewish community living in Penzance 18th-19th century may have had some part to play in this tradition.

    1. Merv Davey

      This would be a wonderful addition to the story of the Newlyn Reel. I suppose the only way that we could be sure is if there were written records of Kletzmer music played by the Jewish Community from this period. I am sure that some of the folk bands playing for Cornish dancing would love to add a tune from Kletzmer tradition as part of their set for this dance. There are other tunes like this in Cornish tradition – look for the Lark / An Awhesyth elswhere in the archive it has an interesting history and a group called Lyonesse did a brillinat recording of in the 1970s.

  2. Chris Bartram

    This is partly speculation, but it’s probably as valid as many of the other ‘explanations’ of the origin of the tune that I’ve heard!
    Essentially, I suspect that the simplest explanation is that the tune metamorphosed from the Dorian m0de to a conventional minor scale. That was by no means unusual when traditional tunes – particularly songs – were transcribed by ‘trained musicians’ who hadn’t had the modal character of much traditional music explained to them, and seemed to find it impossible to believe that the tune didn’t fit on the major/minor scales they saw as normal! What would be good would be to find a second, completely independent source for the tune, whether it is in one of the countries of these islands or much further afield.

    When I play the tune solo on the fiddle, for the last two or three decades I’ve usually played it in G dorian (G, A Bb, C, D, Eb, Fnatural, G): that fits quite naturally, even for a fiddle player who doesn’t usually shift position!

    1. Merv Davey

      Thanks Chris that makes sense.