Sheet Music: Big John McNeil

TitleBig John McNeil
Alternate titlesBig John McNeal
John McNeill's Reel
Lord Ramsey's Reel
ComposerPeter Milne (1824–1908)
InstrumentationFlute solo
KeyD major
Time signature2/2
Tempo100 BPM
Performance time0:50
Difficulty levelintermediate
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (55 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (401 kB)
Date added2015-02-02
Last updated2015-02-02
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 0.3 (not so popular)
Celtic Music, Reels, Traditional/Folk


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Monday 2 February 2015

Tune of the Day: Big John McNeil

Traditional Scottish/Canadian reel

Though now known as a Canadian standard, this reel was originally composed (as “John McNeill's Reel”) by the brilliant Scottish fiddler Peter Milne (1824–1908), one of J. Scott Skinner's teachers and early playing partners.

There are various hypotheses as to how the piece earned the adjective “Big”. Some suggest it's because of the robust nature of the tune, while some think it refers to the actual John McNeil of the title, possibly one of the McNeils of Barra, in the Hebrides. Others yet believe the “Big” came about to distinguish the modern tune, with 8-bar parts, from Peter Milne's original, with 4-bar parts.