The Best ITM Tune-Learning Tutor

Silver Spear (D)

Silver SpearThe reel “The Silver Spear” is a popular session tune, more so at one time, but still surely in the top ten worldwide session repertoire.  It is followed almost ineluctable by “Humours of Tulla” around Kansas City, and is common also at slow sessions everywhere, such as the Musique Irlandaise slow session at the Quiet Man pub in Paris.  The title is a translation of the Irish “Sliabh Bána” –  “The Silver/White Tip” – and so it’s a reference to a mountain peak, perhaps one of those those far famed Kerry Mountains.  It shows up in Roche’s collection as “The Silver Tip,” but has held its most common name “The Silver Spear” since the 1950s on both sides of the pond.  Its structure is AABB.  There are a number of versions of this tune with different names, including “The Top of the Cliff” on Tunes of the Munster Pipers, and “The New Mown Meadows” on many recordings, including ‘Tis What It Is by Mick Conneely and David Munnelly.   Willie Clancy calls it “Miss Lane’s Fancy” and I have no idea why, other than the obvious.  

Alan Ng’s Traditional Irish Music website lists more than twenty recordings of this tune, spanning more than fifty years, and about a dozen tune books that contain the dots for the tune (albeit, in different versions) including the tune book School of Irish Mandolin (Mel Bay, 2009) by Joe Carr and Michael Gregory.  Don’t confuse this tune with “The Silver Spire.” They are both reels in D, but otherwise aren’t even in the same family. There’s also a tune “Old Silver Spear” with the same B-part but a different A-part. 

Click the title if you want to see the ABC for Silver Spear


  • D  A  / G  (A)  / D  A  /  G  (A) / D  A / G  (A) / G  D  / G  A : |
  • D  A  / G  (A)  / D  A  /  G  (A) / D  A / G  (A) / G  D /  G  A : |

Silver Spear, slow tempo (Bob Midden, flute)

Silver Spear, med tempo (Bob Midden, flute)

Silver Spear, med tempo (Glen Pekin, fiddle)

Silver Spear, the dots

Silver Spear Reel

Silver Spear Reel


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