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Category Archives: Reel

Girl Who Broke My Heart (Gmix)

The reel “Girl Who Broke My Heart” is in Gmix, but in some settings there are the occasional B flats à la Kevin Burke’s If the Cap Fits (1978).  As a result it is sometimes thought to be in other keys/modes.  This tune, though not a girl, inspires discussions that can break your heart if […]

Concertina Reel (D)

The English concertina was invented by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1829, and the German version invented by Carl Friedrich Uhlig in 1834.  These seem to be independent inventions. It is a hand-held bellows-driven free reed instruments, with reeds made of brass and later steel. The English concertina is unisonoric, giving the same note per button, […]

Gravel Walks (Ador)

This reel, “Gravel Walks” or “The Gravel Walks,” is also called “The Gravelled Walks to Granny,” and “Jenny Tie your Bonnet.” In Vallely’s  Fiddler’s Companion Caoimhin Mac Aoidh writes that Granny (or sometimes Grainne or Cranny) is a secluded and unpopulated glen between Ardara (pronounces Ar-DRA) and Glencolmcille (pronounced Glen-CULLIM-kill) in southwest co. Donegal.  People […]

Da Slockit Light (D)

This reel-time slow air, “Da Slockit Light,” was composed by the renown Shetland fiddler Tom Anderson (1910-1991), who composed over three hundred tunes.  He was born in Esha Ness, on the Northmavine peninsula, in the far northwest edge of the Shetland mainland. He began composing in 1936 and continued to do so almost until the day […]

The Crooked Road to Dublin (G)

The reel “The Crooked Road to Dublin” is not a crooked tune, in fact it’s simply played ABAB.  Also just called “The Crooked Road,” it is a pretty popular session tune in many corners of the world, despite the fact that the world has no corners, the Flat Earth Society notwithstanding.  There were several recordings of this tune […]

Bean a Tí ar Lár (D)

The title of this reel “Bean a Tí ar Lár” (Bahn uh Tee air Lahr) is usually simply translated as “Mistress on the Floor” in English, though sometimes also called “The Woman of the House on the Floor” perhaps to get away from the connotations of the former in English.  Without suggesting that there aren’t […]

Salamanca Reel (D)

This reel, called either “The Salamanca Reel” or just “The Salamanca,” has been popular since at least the mid-nineteenth century. Played throughout Ireland, it is sometimes thought to be a Connaught reel. Though it has been suggested that the tune was once a hornpipe, it has been played as a reel for over a hundred […]

Julia Delaney’s (Ddor)

Julia Delaney was the sister-in-law of our beloved Captain Francis O’Neill — she was the sister of O’Neill’s wife Anna (née Delaney).  The tune is from around the turn of the last century, and most likely composed in the Chicago area. The reel “Julia Delaney’s” (or just “Julia Delaney”) was the fourth track of the Bothy […]

Convenience Reel (D)

Also called “Boys of Sligo” this three-part reel is worth knowing, whether you like it or not, as it is played in many sessions.  It is a fairly simple tune, with lots of repeating phrases.  The third part is probably the trickiest of the three.  As such, the tune lends itself to variations, and there […]

Mills are Grinding (Ddor) 

The reel “The Mills are Grinding,” is also called “The Flowers of Limerick” and “Tuttle’s.”  It is one among a large family of similar tunes, in both Irish and Old-Time traditions, which is suitably played in various modes, and then given different titles: “The Bunch of Keys” (Gdor), “Telephone Reel” (Gaeol), “Paddy on the Turnpike” […]