View Full Version : Suggestions for a long celtic tune

May-11-2004, 6:09pm
Im looking for music to play a nice long celtic song. I find alot of 1-2 min jigs, but i want something fast, impressive, and long.
If anybody has a suggestion please post.

May-12-2004, 1:50am
There are quite a few longer reels and jigs in Irish music that might fit your needs. A lot of them would have been regarded as showpiece tunes for pipers - giving them ample scope to demonstrate their ornamentations and variations. To be honest, a lot of the tunes probably started off as normal two-parters, and the extra parts may just have been variations that got tagged on. You may also come across short versions and long versions of the same tune.

Regardless, here are some common examples off the top of my head:

Reels: The Bucks of Oranmore, Colonel Frasier's, Lord MacDonald's

Jigs: The Gold Ring, The Humours of Ballyloughlin.

May-12-2004, 6:54am
Just a few more 4/5 part jigs and reels of the top of my head:

Reels: Foxhunters, Farewell to Ireland, Pinch of Snuff (there is a long version of this which goes through 3 different keys)
Jigs: Langstroms Pony, Kid on the Mountain (actually a slip jig)

hope these are of some use....

May-12-2004, 10:08am
You could learn Scott Skinner's variations on the strathspey Tullochgorum - it's long, but also highly technical and impressive to hear. I've heard it on the mandolin, but I've never tried . . . someday!


May-12-2004, 4:28pm
johnnie cope -- long, not fast (it's a hornpipe), but in the hands of someone like noel hill certainly very impressive.

May-12-2004, 8:48pm
how about the Dresden Set or The Wasp Reel? Im asking because i think that about everything irish sounds good.
tell me which is good and which is better.

May-12-2004, 9:52pm
The "Kilfenora Jig" is most often played as a 5-part (i.e., A though E sections), although I've heard a couple of versions (The Johnstons, Arcady) played with a full 7 parts. "Strayaway Child" has, I believe 5 (maybe 6) parts, as does "O'Farrell's Welcome to Limerick." Finally, as I recall, "Lark in the Morning" has 4-5 parts.

Be aware, though, that some of these long tunes can begin to get a bit tedious when you play them the 3rd time through.

May-14-2004, 9:39am
Cherish the ladies, Farewell to Ireland, Langstrom's pony.

May-14-2004, 9:55am
You could add Gillan's Apples to the list- a four part jig which I can't memorize to save my life- but it is rollicking and fun.

May-14-2004, 5:01pm
I know Gillan's aplles as a 2-parter in G, but there is a 4-part setting in D.

For a big slip jig, An Phis Fliuch, with 5 parts.

The Foxhunter's Reel (in G or A) has 4 parts - but they are all played singly (8 bars each), so it is, in fact, no longer than a standard 2-part reel.

The Grey Goose is a jig with I forget how many parts.

Steve L
May-14-2004, 11:13pm
King of the Pipers, The Maid at the Spinning Wheel, Roaring Water, The Sound of Sleat, and The Braes of Mar are favs of mine.

May-15-2004, 8:52pm
Gravel Walks is a fun four-part reel. Mason's Apron supposedly has many (seven?) parts as well, but I only know two of them. Farewell to Ireland is cool because it covers the whole fretboard from low A to a high A. It's got four parts. Kid on the Mountain is a nice five-part slip jig too.

May-15-2004, 9:46pm
King of the Pipers mentioned above is a favourite of mine. Also check out The Derry Hornpipe - not easy to play, damn hard to play well, but a joy to hear when you get in the groove and start to crank it along.

May-16-2004, 8:07am
Hanged Man's Reel has several parts and leaves room for a lot of ornamentation.

May-16-2004, 11:41am
The Pinch of Snuff is a nice reel.. 9 parts, counting the 4 key changes http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

May-18-2004, 5:34am
For a nice - long - fun and rolling tune, try Derry Hornpipe. This has about five repeating sections with some fun arpeggios and "built in" drones.

Dagger Gordon
May-18-2004, 5:48am
Many Scottish pipe tunes have 4 parts or more. Plenty to choose from. Marches, strathspeys, reels, jigs, take your pick.

Forgive me if this is an obvious thing to say, but there is a art to putting together a medley of tunes. Few of us would simply play a 2 part jig and leave it at that. You would nearly always play at least one more, and quite possibly go into a reel afterwards.

Some tunes go together better than others of course, but generally you're looking for a bit of a lift going from one tune to the next, either with a good key change or perhaps a time change.

For a classic long set of jigs, listen to the first track on 'The Storm' by Moving Hearts.

Aidan Crossey
May-18-2004, 6:31am
Dagger ...

Interesting the difference between Scottish and Irish music in this regard. I've noted (and been deeply impressed by) how you guys tend to mix rhythms within sets. This isn't terribly common in Irish music; some people have experimented with it and indeed there's the infamous "Three Tunes" dance (Haste To The Wedding/Leslie's Hornpipe/The German Beau) which mixes a jig, a hornpipe and a polka, but overall it's an unusual approach. (The only instance apart from the above where it is reasonably familiar is when a march or set of marches is played at the beginning of a set, and then often the player will launch into a jig or reel as appropriate. Same with airs. But rarely do the 6/8 or 9/8 and 4/4 dance meters get mixed.)

May-18-2004, 6:55am
rarely do the 6/8 or 9/8...dance meters get mixed
Except by accident http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

Dagger Gordon
May-18-2004, 7:56am
Hi Aidan,

Certainly in Scotland the march /strathspey and reel format is very long established, both with fiddle and pipe traditions. Pipe bands can often have some very unexpected medleys; These things can be heard in competitions, so I guess it's encouraged.

I remember some of the Chieftains early records, where they certainly had a lot of time changes, as did the Boys of the Lough sometimes. I wonder if modern bands shouldn't take more of a leaf out of those guys' books.

May-18-2004, 9:40am
Aidan- Slip Jig / Double Jig / Slide is a common set combination..

May-18-2004, 8:33pm

Mason's Apron can have any number of parts, The Dubliners' version being a case in point. As it often seems to be used as a bit of a showpiece for players, you'll often hear it with different parts added on beyond the two "standard" parts.

Dan B does a wonderful version of it in his "Banjo Reel" set, only using 2 parts I believe.



Aidan Crossey
May-19-2004, 4:17am
Dan ...

Slip Jig / Double Jig / Slide is a common set combination..

Agreed ... but they're essentially siblings of each other 12/8, 9/8, 6/8 ... easily slotted in beside each other (and a lot of people play slides as jigs in any event, rightly or wrongly). But rarely in Irish music does this family share set-space with the 4/4 tunes, as I've come across in Scottish music.

Dagger ... I always assumed that the Boys of the Lough's predisposition to "mixed sets" was Aly's influence. As for whether we can learn from them ... suffice to say, Jayz, it's hard enough for some of us to string together sets in one meter without changing rhythm halfway through! :)

Dagger Gordon
May-19-2004, 6:10am
You may well be right, Aidan.

My 2 fave albums by them were both live ones. I think they were their 3rd album and 'Wish you were here' recorded on a Highlands & Islands tour.

Aly always had a fiddle feature that was often a Scottish medley, especially early on. Latterly he tended to do more American stuff.

I always thought that the overall flavour of their music was fairly Irish, even on some Scottish and other material, and they certainly did some Irish medleys with different time signatures. That's not to say Aly's influence wasn't at work, though. Personally I've always suspected Robin Morton had a lot to do with it. I wouldn't have said they did it so much after he left.

As a footnote, in that early line-up with no guitar, Dave Richardson's mandolin/cittern and banjo playing could be clearly heard, more so than later years, and what he was doing was an influence on my own development, particularly in deciding to get Sobell instruments.

I still like that version of The Boys best.

Jeff Baldwin
May-19-2004, 5:53pm
The Irish tune Doctor O'Neills is a 5 part jig tha just might fit the bill.

Jun-05-2004, 2:16am
They've both been mentioned already, but...

Gravel Walks is one of my favorite tunes to play, period.

I know Foxhunter's Reel as a five part reel, played double (Martin Hayes does a great job with it on, um, Under the Moon (?))

Bob DeVellis
Jun-05-2004, 8:25am
Let's not lose sight of Dagger's earlier point -- play time is very effectively lengthened by stringing tunes together. Although playing one, multi-part tune may seem simpler, it's not uncommon for people to learn such tunes in pieces, as if learning two or more shorter tunes. Extending this idea, you could take two related tunes and play them as one long tune. This is, you could play the A part of the first, the B part of the first, the A part of the second and the B part of the second. Then repeat the sequence. One musically irrelevant basis for selecting such tunes is based on similarity of name. So, you could put together a set of "Hag" tunes as if often done, or a set of "Whisky" tunes, etc. The only downside of this approach is that you'd better not try it a session full of strangers and expect anyone to be able to follow what you're doing, especially the first go-around.