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Tag Archives: Learning Irish Music

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 […]

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 […]

Blarney Pilgrim (G)

“Blarney Pilgrim” appears as tune #1099 in O’Neill’s 1850 (1903). There are numbers of variations of this tune at sessions, and quite a bit of confusion over its tonal center – which is really of concern only to those backing/accompanying the tune. The melody was especially popular at sessions in the 1970s, and though a […]

Danny Pearl’s Favorite (A)

This tune is “The Red Haired Boy,” a translation of the Irish title “Giolla Rua” – which is Anglicize as “Gilderoy” – and is said to refer to King James V.  It is called “An Maidrin Ruadh” (The Little Red Fox) in Bunting’s A Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland (1840). There is also […]

Drops of Brandy (D)

“Drops of Brandy” is a solid but simple slip jig often played in D or G.  It is #448 in O’Neill’s 1001 (1907), in G. It is in Phil Rubenzer’s Midwestern Irish Session Tunes (2000) in both D and G (pp. 219-20).  James Merryweather, author of Merryweather’s Tunes for English Bagpipes (1989, pg. 47), holds […]

Morrison’s Jig (Edor)

This jig, usually just called “Morrison’s,” gets its name from the renowned Sligo-born Irish-American fiddler James Morrison (1891 – 1947) who, in fact, did not write it.  He was, of course, older than that California musician who named his band after Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception (1954).  Our James Morrison learned the tune from a […]

Tabhair Dom Do Lamh (G)

The tune “Tabhair Dom Do Lamh” is often played at Irish weddings — the Irish title is pronounced “Tour Dum Dah Lahw (or Lahv)” in Irish, and most often translated as “Please, Give Me Your Hand.” The tune is by the Irish harpist (and pipe player) Ruairi Dall Ó Cathain (c.1570-c.1653), whose name is variously […]

Foxhunter’s Jig (D)

“Foxhunter’s Jig” is a slip jig. The title of this four-part slip jig concerns, of course, an over-hill-and-dale foxhunt.  Thus, a few desultory comments are in order. The earliest known notation of this tune is c. 1847, where it is entitled “Dublin Gigg-a-Jigg” (in A) – both are old spellings of “jig,” and“gigg-a-jigg” is the hoary […]

My Darling Asleep (D)

The jig entitled “My Darling Asleep” is #925 in O’Neill’s 1850 (1903).  The piper and pipe maker Leo Rowsome (1903-1970) used to recount a story in which Chief O’Neill (1848-1936) got this tune from Abram Sweetman Beamish of co. Cork, who called it “My Darling in Bed.” O’Neill thought that that title was just too suggestive, […]

Miller’s Maggot (G)

The single jig “Miller’s Maggot” shows up in some tune collections as a slide – some tune collections don’t even have a separate single jig category.  As for the title, it is often repeated that the word “maggot” is from the Italian magioletta, a type of dance.  I have also seen the following, or something […]