The Best ITM Tune-Learning Tutor

Category Archives: Very Popular

Mason’s Apron (A)

The first sound recording of “Mason’s Apron” appears to have been by New York accordion player John J. “Dutch” Kimmel in 1915.  Sligo fiddle master Paddy Killoran (1904-1965) recorded “Mason’s Apron” as a two-part reel in March, 1939. Some play it with an added third part. Some fiddlers play pizzicato notes during the tune as […]

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, […]

Sí Beag Sí Mhór (D)

The title of this air, “Sí Beag, Sí Mór,” is sometimes incorrectly written “Sheebag, Sheemore,” “Si Bheag, Si Mor,” and other variations.  It is also given other titles I’ll not offer here.  The “Sí” in the Irish title designates a “fairy hill” or “fairy mound,” some magical swelling.  The word “beag” means “little” and “mhor” […]

Toss the Feathers (Dmix)

The Dmix “Toss the Feathers” reel seems to be more popular in Ireland than the Eaeol “Toss the Feathers” reel, and the opposite is true on this side of the pond.  Some people have taken to calling the tunes “Toss the Feathers #1” and “Toss the Feathers #2,” though in general it remains unclear which […]

Jacky Tar (Edor)

I learned this hornpipe as “Éamonn McGivney’s,” though there are not many around here who call it that.  Éamonn McGivney’s is a fiddler from Miltown Malbay, Clare co., and this is (apparently) his setting of a version of “Cuckcoo’s Nest” which is also a version of “Jacky Tar.” This hornpipe is probably most widely known as […]

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 […]

Jenny’s Chickens (Baeol)

“Jenny’s Chickens” is a reel is usually preceded by “Bonnie Kate” due to the recordings of Michael Coleman and Joe Burke. Michael Coleman was the first to make this tune popular. I have been told that every time he played it, he would change it a little bit.  This may make the tune more interesting […]

Toss the Feathers (Eaeol)

There are a few tunes that go by “Toss the Feathers.” This one, in Eaeol, is popular.  The other, in Dmix, is popular too.  This one is identified by Stanford and Petrie as a Clare reel. Brendan Breathnach says it is known in County Tipperary as “Thresh the Feathers” and “The Humours of Ballagh” (1976). […]

The Maid(s) of Mt. Kisco (Ador)

This reel, “The Maid(s) of Mt. Kisco” is named after a town.  Mount Kisco is described as both a village and a town in Westchester County, New York State.  It is actually a small, but now very expensive town just north of NYC and bordering Chappaqua. One story,  according to Billy McComiskey, is that this […]

Ashokan Farewell (D)

The tune known as “Ashokan Farewell” was composed by American fiddler Jay Ungar in 1982.  It is played during the farewell waltz at the annual Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camp in New Paltz, New York, run by the composer and his wife Molly. The tune is also used as the title theme of the 1990 […]