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Tag Archives: Learning Irish Music

Sally Gardens (G)

This is a lively reel at sessions when it’s played, but you might find that it’s thought to be somewhat threadbare at some sessions. Sometimes it’s good to shelve a tune for a while to give it time to re-germinate.  Anyway our tune here bears no relation to the William Butler Yeats poem, or to the […]

The Brosna Slide #1 (G)

I learned this slide as “The Brosna,” as have many others.  However, many years ago I learned another slide called “The Brosna,” and then came to find still other slides called “The Brosna.” The fact that there are many tunes by this name is probably due to the playing of the Brosna Céili Band from […]

Plains of Boyle (D)

Often called “The Wexford” by pipers, the hornpipe “Plains of Boyle” used to often be played in the set “Plains of Boyle > Leitrim Fancy” at the beginning of the twentieth century.  You can hear a snippet of a 78rpm recording from 1924 of the piper Michael J. Gallagher playing the tune in that set. […]

Jenny Dang the Weaver (D)

There is a view that the title of this reel was originally something like “The Jenny Damned the Weavers,” and that it concerns the way technology (i.e., a Jenny = an engine = machines) undermines traditional activity (e.g., weaving).  However, on Arty McGlynn’s CD McGynn’s Fancy (1994) Benedict Kiely writes that there are several tunes […]

Home Ruler (D)

The hornpipe “Home Ruler” was composed in the 1960’s by the co. Antrim fiddler Frank McCollam. In sessions it is sometimes called “Home Rule” or “Daniel O’Connell, the Home Ruler” and thought to commend the belief in Irish Home Rule championed by, for example, Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) and James Brown Armour (1841–1928).  You will also find […]

The Wonder (G)

This hornpipe is on De Dannan’s CD Hibernian Rhapsody (1996), the second of two tunes on track 10 “New Century” and “The Wonder,” collectively called “George Ross’ Horn Pipes.”  This tune was recorded by the Wexford accordionist George Ross in the 1950s (which is apparently where members of De Dannan picked it up), but it […]

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 […]

Atholl Highlanders (Amix)

The four-part jig “Atholl Highlanders” is originally a Shetland tune, and originally called “The Three Sisters.”  I don’t think anyone has called it by the original name for a very long time, however. It is a characteristic Scots pipe march, though there are some odd things about it. As a pipe march it is known […]

Jig of Slurs (D|G)

Though Scottish musicians so often assert that Irish tunes are “originally Scottish” that the very claim is now met with an unbelieving shrug, in this case it happens to be true.  It was composed by the Aberdeen piper George S. McLennan (1883-1927), who played before Queen Victoria as a boy.  According to the Fiddler’s Companion, in 1910 […]

Arthur Darley’s (D | Daeol |D)

This tune, “Arthur Darley’s Jig,” is also commonly known as “The Swedish Jig” and less well-known as “The Bruckless Shore.”  On the Arty McGlynn CD McGlynn’s Fancy (1994) the liner notes read “Arthur Darley arrived in Co. Donegal from Dublin to play the organ in a church somewhere around, it is believed, Bruckless.” Arthur W. […]