King's Reel, The | Bowing Down Home

About this tune

The King’s Reel is a great favorite in Eastern PEI, and is also played many fiddlers from other parts of the Island. It seems to have entered the repertoire as a borrowing from Cape Breton broadcasts and recordings Following Cape Breton practice, it is often preceded in medleys by a strathspey called King George IV and followed by The Old King’s Reel.

Of special note: There are two versions of the high turn in the Paul MacDonald version, played ABAB’. The Dennis Pitre version has quite a bit of West Prince flavor, and features some highly distinctive use of cuts (bowed triplets).

The King’s Reel was probably first collected in the mid-19th century. It appears in Kerr’s Merry Melodies (1875), The Athole Collection (1884), and The Skye Collection (1887). It has been recorded by a myriad of Cape Breton fiddlers; some early recorded versions were by Alex “Alick” Gillis, Joe MacLean, Donald MacLellan, and Jimmie MacLellan.

Notation for this tune as played by Paul MacDonald is in Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island.