St. Anne’s Reel

This is an online fiddle lesson for the tune "St. Anne's Reel" in the style of Don Messer. is your best source for Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Gospel, and Country fiddle lessons!

Genre: Celtic, Bluegrass
Skill Level: Intermediate
Key of D

You may download and use any of the MP3s and tablature for your personal use. However, please do not make them available online or otherwise distribute them.

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Video #1: Here is a video of me performing the fiddle tune "St. Anne's Reel."





St. Anne's Reel , also known as "St. Agathe" and “La Reel de la Baie Ste. Anne,” was originally a Canadian reel played in Québec, New Brunswick,Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton.  According to Anne Lederman (in her article on “Fiddling” in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, 1992), St. Anne's Reel was first recorded by Québec fiddler Joseph Allard as “Reel de Ste Anne”—which became popular in English-speaking Canada as “St. Anne’s Reel.”  There are at least two bays by this name in eastern Canada, as the French alternate title above would suggest, though it is not known if those features explain the origin of the tune’s title. There is a French community called Baie Sainte Anne, on St. Anne’s Bay, near the mouth of Mirimichi Bay, New Bruswick. “St. Anne’s” was popularised by Radio and TV fiddler Don Messer (who had the title as “Sainte Agathe” in his 1948 Way Down East collection), and has been assimilated into several North American and British Isles traditions and remains a popular staple of fiddlers’ jam sessions. When asked to play a Canadian tune, for example, American fiddlers generally will play “St. Anne’s” first. It was in the repertoire of Cyril Stinnett, who epitomized the "North Missouri Hornpipe Style" of Mid-West fiddling, though it soon became a popular staple of most Missouri fiddlers. It was perhaps from listening to Canadian radio broadcasts in the hey-day of the big AM band stations, which could be heard clearly in the northern part of the state, or it may have been brought back by contest fiddlers in the 1960’s who attended the renowned contests in Weiser, Idaho, and in Canada. Perlman (1996) similarly states the tune entered Prince Edward Island tradition from radio broadcasts from Québec, but that it has elaborated (especially in western PEI) over the years to suit the rhythms of the local step-dancing. Irish musicians have frequently recorded the melody as well.