Reel
Peter Batchelor - 1997

Using the Uillean (Irish) bagpipe as principal sound source, Reel was composed in the hope of capturing the energy and intensity that characterises this traditional Irish dance form. Central to the innate 'upbeat' quality of this dance idiom is the upbeat itself (the anacrusis being fundamental to its iambic rhythmic structure) and the preparatory gesture that opens the piece thus becomes an important feature throughout. Ultimately, a lively disposition prevails, although allusion is also made to other, more melancholy folk genres - in particular to the air and lament - at which times the pipe sonorities are at their closest to their raw form; the sounds tend otherwise to be heavily processed and largely unrecognisable. Nonetheless, the essential quality of the instrument remains, as does the manner of its performance - particularly in the ever-present drone which underlies the intricacies ofthe surface material.

Reel was conceived in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of the University of Wales, Bangor during the summer of 1997 and completed at the University of Birmingham. Grateful acknowledgements in particular to Keith Powell who kindly provided the source material and who thereafter graciously allowed me to savage it completely.