Reel, G, Traditional Irish
Also known as: The Copperplate
The New Copperplate is a traditional Irish reel that is popular in Irish session playing. It is often paired with another traditional reel, The Old Copperplate. By the curious routes of tune naming, both tunes are also called “The Copperplate.”
Copperplate is a printing process, hundreds of years old, in which a design is engraved into a sheet (plate) of copper. Ink is applied to the plate, and then the inked design is transferred to paper in a printing press. The term “copperplate” also refers to a handwriting style in calligraphy, and to a family of typefaces and fonts. All three of these forms of “copperplate” are still used by artisans today. The illustration for this page includes copperplate decoration and handwriting from the book The Universal Penman by George Bickham the Elder (1684–1758). It also contains modern fonts in the Copperplate typeface family. For more about copperplate, see the References and Resources section on this page.
- Audio – Comhaltas: The New Copperplate from the album Foinn Seisiún Volume 2
- Video – Chris Smith: The Old and New Copperplates – from the album Coyotebanjo, Irish Traditional Music from America, Chris Smith with Roger Landes and Randal Bays. Played on tenor banjo and fiddle with bouzouki backing.
Dots (Music Notation)
As always for traditional tunes, the musical notation and chords do not indicate the “right” way to play the tune, but are a useful reference.
(See References and Resources below for sources of sheet music.)
Examples of sets that include this tune.
- The Old Copperplate / The New Copperplate
References and Resources
For those who want to dig deeper, here are some other resources.
- Lessons – Online Academy of Irish Music, The Copperplate – lessons for accompanying the tune on bouzouki. (Requires subscription.)
- Book – Comhaltas: Foinn Seisiún Volume 2
- Book – Grey Larsen: 150 Gems of Irish Music for Tin Whistle – with audio tracks of the tunes played on tin whistle. (The tune is title “The Copperplate” in this book.)
- Other Resources
- Webpage – The Session: The New Copperplate (Reel) – crowdsourced sheet music, comments, and other information
- About Copperplate
- Video – Eric Paul Meier: From Paper to Copper: The Engraver’s Process (2009) – demonstration of copperplate engraving and printing
- Video – Rebecca Vincent: An etching story: making and printing a multi-colour copper plate etching
- Article – Wikipedia: Copperplate Gothic – about the Copperplate Gothic typeface designed by Frederic W. Goudy
- Article – Wikipedia: Copperplate script – brief article about copperplate calligraphic lettering
- Article – Wikipedia: George Bickham the Elder – about English writing master and engraver (1684–1758), author of The Universal Penman.