The Best ITM Tune-Learning Tutor

Category Archives: Jig

Jig of the Dead (Eaeol)

“Jig of the Dead” goes well, both melodically and thematically, in a set with “Haunted House” and “Halloween Jig.”  Like the first of these tunes, it has an interesting story to go with it. Harry Bradley writes: Seamus Tansey informs us that [this jig] was employed for an unusual funeral rite performed in the countryside […]

Blackthorn Stick (G) 

The Blackthorn tree (prunus spinosa), is a member of Rosaceae (the rose family), and has reddish-black bark with protruding sharp spines, and so it’s also called the “European spiny plum.”  Blooming as early as March, it is, like dandelions, an important first-food for bees.  The Blackthorn is an hermaphroditic insect-pollinated hard-wood tree with small white flowers. It is […]

Donnybrook Fair (G)

The phrase “Donnybrook Fair” has a few different references: this jig, a broadsheet ballad, and a phrase for a brawl or riot — as in “it was a right Donnybrook Fair down at O’Shea’s last night.” The tune is a fairly old one.  O’Neill has it as “Joy of My Life” in 400 Tunes Arranged […]

Halloween Jig (Baeol)

Our Halloween is the night of Oct. 31, and is derived from the celebration of Samhain which begins on Nov. 1st and is a cultural mark of the end of summer.  Now, just so you know “samhain” is pronounced “Sow-in” since the “mh” in Irish is either a w-sound or a v-sound — that’s just […]

Connaughtman’s Rambles (D)

Here’s an anecdote from the dancing side of things: “Connaughtman’s Rambles” seems to be the most popular jig among sean-nós dancers in Connemara. If they’re going to dance a jig, then nine times out of ten this is what they’ll want. The jig is also one of the most commonly played pieces in the Irish repertoire, […]

Boys of Malin (A)

“Boys of Malin” is a popular reel in County Donegal, in Irish it is Buachaillí Mhálanna. The town of Malin, Donegal, is one of the most northerly villages on the island, and, in fact, Malin Head is Ireland’s most northerly point — though, fyi, it is not in Northern Ireland. The tip of the Head is […]

The Rose in the Heather (D)

This jig, “The Rose in the Heather,” comes from the Sliabh Luachra region[1] (pronounced Schleeav-lokhra, with the ‘kh” as that middle-of-the-mouth growly bit), specifically on the Cork-Kerry border.  The Sliabh Luachra region is at the intersection of three counties: Cork, Kerry, and Limerick.  It is renowned for its musical style and for producing some of […]

The Bride’s Favorite (G)     

This jig, “The Bride’s Favorite,” is “Rogha Na Brídeoige” in Irish. Though once played often at weddings, it is now mostly played in sessions, but might be struck up if a wedding party happens to pass through the session space.  Now, according to the Fiddler’s Companion this three-part jig was composed by county Mayo fiddler […]

Haste to the Wedding (D)      

The jig “Haste to the Wedding” is surprising in that it has retained the same name despite being popular for at least two centuries. In the London stage pantomime “The Elopement” (1767), a featured tune was called “Come, Haste to the Wedding.”  This is that tune.  William Chappell (1809-1888) notes that the tune was “more […]

Banks of Lough Gowna (Baeol)

This traditional jig, “Banks of Lough Gamhna,” (or “Banks of Lough Gowna” in English) is sometimes attributed to Paddy O’Brien (b. 1945), but is in fact tune #264 in O’Neill’s 1001 (1907).  Barring time-travel, and its concomitant paradoxes,  it would not be possible for him to have composed it. It is played, as here, in […]