Stack of Barley | Bowing Down Home
About this tune
Many Island fiddlers play this tune, but it is most favored east of Charlottetown. In most Island versions, Stack of Barley is played as a reel (up tempo with relatively even eighth notes). Most Irish versions, on the other hand, are performed in hornpipe style: at a moderate tempo with notes performed as “dotted pairs.” (assuming 2/2 time, a dotted pair is usually written as a dotted eighth note plus a sixteenth; in practice the first note of each pair is twice as long as the second).
One of the first appearances of Stack of Barley in print was in O’Neill’s Music of Ireland (1903); it subsequently appeared in The Roche Collection of Irish Traditional Music (1912), and Allan’s Irish Fiddler (c. 1920; precise date of publication unknown). The first known recording (1916) was by a New York City accordionist named John J. Kimmel (1866-1942).
Notation for this tune as played by Louise Arsenault is in Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island.