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The Northern Fiddler






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Musicians: References: Contributors:
JD: John Doherty
SD: Simon Doherty
CC: Con Cassidy
F&MB: Francie & Mickey Byrne
DOD: Danny O'Donnell
JL: John Loughran
JM: John McKeown
PT: Peter Turbit
AC: An Ceol
CRE: Ceol Rince na hEireann
DMI: O'Neill's Dance Music of Ireland (1907)
MM: Kerr's Merry Melodies
Ryan: Ryan's Mammoth Collection
LS: Larry Sanger
MB: Mick Brown
CMA: Caoimhín Mac Aoidh
PdG: Paul de Grae
PV: Philippe Varlet
SS: Sally Sommers
TH: Ted Hastings
AK: Andrew Kuntz
NG: Nigel Gatherer
Last updated: 27th August 2007.

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Tune Title Page Fiddler Notes
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Black Haired Lass, The 66 JD NG: In DMI585, and in CRE as Cailín na Gruaige Duibhe; The Dark Haired Girl; The Dark Gate Girl and An Cailin Donn (CRE I 114).
Black Mare of Fanad, The 65 JD LS: This is the Donegal version of Nine Points of Roguery.
Boys Of the Town, The 229 JM NG: In DMI89.
Byrne's Reel 235 JM
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Cameronian Reel, The 67 JD CMA: The Cameronian is not John's Cameronian which can be found on the CD "The Floating Bow" (Claddagh). The tune transcribed is The Mother's Delight.
MB: Mother's Delight is a Co. Clare version of this reel. Untitled Reel on p76a is a version of the same tune. Sean Frank (CRE I, 182) is yet another version, in G. John Doherty played a similar version in G himself. The Colonel McBain (also Johnny's Wedding) found in O'Neill's is similar in first part only. The Colonel McBain found in Scottish collections relates more closely to this tune. The title Cameronian is used in SW Donegal for the untitled reel on p77c.
NG: Known in Scotland as Colonel McBain or Colonel MacBean. Aka Col. McBain (DMI).
Con Cassidy's Reel 153 CC MB: This tune is a reel-time version in the key of F of the three-part jig (also played by Con) and recorded by James Byrne on 'The Brass Fiddle' as Johnny Boyle's Jig.
Recordings: The Brass Fiddle
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Dispute at the Crosroads, The
(Dr Gilbert)
67 JD
Dr Gilbert
(Dispute at the Crosroads)
67 JD
Drowsy Maggie 68 JD
Drowsy Maggie 162 F&MB
Drowsy Maggie 235 PT
Drunken Piper, The 236 JM NG: This is not The Drunken Piper (which is found in NF as Miss Johnson's Reel on p69).
MB: The first parts of this reel and 236b are quite close to the first part of the McConnell's version of The Pigeon on the Gate (as recorded by Ronan Galvin on 'The Fiddle Music of Donegal Vol II'). The second part has echoes of the second part of the tune called The Fintown Road/The Gweebarra Bridge Reel, also called The Killarney Boys of Pleasure elsewhere in the country (CRE III, 141).
Drunken Reel, The 236 PT
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Errigal Braes 236 PT
Ewe With the Crooked Horn, The 79 JD MB: This title is used in SW Donegal for both this highland and Untitled Highland, (p174a). There are similarities in structure. One of Doherty's versions of The Heather Breeze may be related also.
Five Mile Chase, The 68 JD CMA: Different entirely to that tune normally played under this name.
MB: A version of a tune sometimes called The New Mown Meadow (Em), (although this title is also used for The Silver Spear). A version similar to Doherty's was played in Teelin and Kilcar also.
Flora McDonald's Reel 187 DOD
Four Courts, The 237 JM MB: I've heard this somewhere...?
NG: The A part is very like a reel played by The Boys of the Lough; they called it The Wild Irishman. It's also in MFI as O'Rourke's. The B and C parts are a significant departure.
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Gander's Strut, The 246 PT
Ghost of Bunglass 91 JD CMA: This is more commonly known as Taibhse Chonaill (English translation = Conall's Ghost).
MB: Played exactly like this by some players in Glencolmcille, and also in a slightly different highland version sometimes called Casey's Pig (as recorded by Roisin McGrory and Damian Harrigan on 'The Fiddle Music of Donegal Vol. II'). Con Cassidy's Taibhse Chonaill (D) is the same tune.
Glory Reel, The 162 F&MB MB: This tune may be an old lilters version of parts of The Foxhunter's Reel (parts II, III and V) - Francie Dearg regarded the two as related. There is a structural resemblance. Alternatively, its first and third parts are somewhat similar to a two-part composition of John Mhosai called The Rambling Pony.
Grania's Welcome Home
(March, Jig and Reel)
86 JD CMA: Translation of Failte Romhat in do Bhaile a' Ghrainne.
MB: The Jig part of this piece is in O'Neill's as Johnny the Jumper (DMI, 297).
Gravel Walks to Granie, The 161 F&MB CMA: The placename in the title is "Granny" - a deserted glen between Ardara and Meenanaery.
MB: The Gravel Walks to Granie was originally a two-part tune with a slightly different ending to the second part. The third and fourth parts originally constituted a separate tune (see p104a). It may have been Francie and Mickey Byrne who put them together.
Gusty's Frolics 58 JD
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Harvest Moon, The 103 SD CMA: Not this tune at all. All of the older lads play a different tune entirely for it. It was composed by John Mhosai McGinley and appears on Paddy Glackin's second Gael Linn CD under the title John McGinley's Reel.
MB: A version of Sportin' Paddy (CRE, 133). Not The Harvest Moon/John McGinley's Reel. This is a similar version in a different key to that found in the southern repertoire. It is played as a highland in this version, although there is also a distinctive "Donegal" version of the reel.
Highland Man Who Kissed His Grannie, The 237 PT MB: This is a version of Upstairs in a Tent (CRE III, 96). The tune was played in Glencolmcille.
NG: Not the usual tune by this name, but this was a pipe reel originally called Jenny Tyed the Bonnet Tight, known in Ireland as Jenny Tie Your Bonnet (CRE III, 96). Breathnach gives alternative titles: Cuir Snaidhm ar do Chaipín, a Shin; Tie the Bonnet; Down with the Mail; The Rambler's Rest (DMI606); Upstairs in a Tent; In and Out the Harbour; Lassie/Lassies tie your Bonnet/s; Lizzie's Bonnet; The Faraway Wedding; The Gravelled Walks to Granny, and The Cottage in the Grove.
Holly Bush, The 238 PT MB: As far as I know, this tune was composed by Richard Dwyer, brother of Finbar.
Humours of Whiskey, The 159 F&MB
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Ivy Leaf, The 103 SD MB: Not the reel usually called The Ivy Leaf.
John McNeil's Reel 187 DOD CMA: The full title and correct spelling is Big John McNeilis' Reel.
MB: Also known in Donegal as Grant's Reel. The title is spelt John McNeil in the Scottish collections.
NG: Known, especially in Canada, I believe, as Big John McNeill, it was originally christened plain John McNeil by its composer Peter Milne, a close friend and mentor of James Scott Skinner. At one time Milne made his money playing on the Forth ferry, but the completion of the Forth Bridge (c1890) deprived him of this livelihood. He had been addicted to opium for a great number of years, and made a meagre living teaching violin in his native Aberdeenshire. Apparently John McNeil was a famous Highland dancer at the turn of the century.
Jude's Bush 238 JL MB: This tune is also called St Ruth's Bush.
Kiltyfanad, The 163 F&MB LS: This is the same tune as JD's The Black Mare of Fanad on p65.
MB: Not the reel normally called The Coillte Fanad Reel.
Kitty Gordons 238 PT NG: This is Miss Katty Gordon of Earlston's Reel by John Riddell.
Kitty In the Lane 153 CC MB: This tune is related to The Sword in Hand (CRE, 144). The usual name in Glencolmcille for this reel was An Chailleach sa Chuinneog (The Hag in the Churn). It was played in both D and G, and in Teelin also in C. Francie Dearg played a four part version, and called it Tripping Up the Stairs (D). Francie Dearg also had a three part version in G, with the second part more akin to that of The Sword in Hand, which he called The Maid in the Churn. Danny Meehan plays the tune in G with two parts, his second part being similar to Francie Dearg's third part. (Kitty in the Lane is the title usually used for CRE IV, 105)
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Ladies of Tullibardee, The 70 JD
Last House of Connaught, The 104 SD CMA: This is a well known pipers reel whose name escapes me at present.
MB: This is the Paddy O'Brien composition Dinny O'Brien's Reel, apparently his very first composition.
Low Park 239 JM MB: This is a version of a tune sometimes called The Hare's Paw (CRE, 185). The tune was played in Glencolmcille. It's generally considered a Kerry tune?
NG: Aka Jim Kennedy's Favourite; Hare's Foot (DMI) and Lowlands of Scotland (KMM).
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Make Your Breakfast Early 239 PT MB: This tune is also called Boil the Breakfast Early. The parts are sometimes played the other way around.
NG: Known in Scotland as The Lasses Fashion (KMM2p8) or Haud Awa' Frae Me Donald. Found in Ireland as Boil the Breakfast Early and Court Her Along the Road (both DMI).
Margaret Stuart's Reel 188 DOD NG: Found in The Beauties of Gow (c1817) as Lady Margaret Stewart.
Mary of the Wisp 164 F&MB CMA: The Tune titles The Mary of the Wisp (more commonly known in the locality under its Irish title - Maire na Sop) and Moll na Tiarna (note Tiarna is a single word and not 2 as printed) are reversed on the two tunes. They should be titled the other way around.
MB: Moll Tiarna is played in Donegal in several different versions, at least in the keys of C, G (see CRE II, 268) and A. There is a similar reel played in the south, mainly Cork/Kerry. Mary of the Wisp (D) and Moll Tiarna (C) are correctly titled in my edition of NF. As far as I know, Mary of the Wisp is played in some shape or form in Scotland.
Miss Johnson's Reel 69 JD CMA: This is in fact The Inverness Gathering.
MB: Always called The Drunken Piper in Donegal, though associated with the story of the Meenatoiteen Bull.
NG: Not The Inverness Gathering, but the popular Scottish march The Drunken Piper, as Mick says.
Miss Percy's Reel 104 SD CMA: This is the 3rd & 4th parts of The Gravel Walks (What is played as the latter, 4 part reel is a marriage of formerly two separate reels).
MB: There was a tune very like this one, before it was married to the old two part reel The Gravel Walks to Granie. The tune was called Sisti Dhuin Ailt in Glencolmcille (Sisti=kind of waves - not sure of spelling; Dun Alt=local place-name).
NG: A variant of a reel known in Scotland as The Highlandman Kissed His Mother.
Miss Patterson's Slipper 71 JD CMA: This is not Miss Patterson's Slipper (though Feldman & O'Doherty are correct in using the title as it is the one John always used). The tune of this title can be found on 'Ceol na dTéad' and 'The Floating Bow'. Parts 1 and 2 of this are a version of Master Crowley's Reel of Coleman fame and parts 3 and 4 are The Roscommon Reel.
MB: The first two parts of this tune are the basis for Doherty's other Miss Patterson's Slipper (on 'The Floating Bow'), and for Francie Dearg's version. The title is used in Donegal for versions of this tune.
Monaghan Switch, The 70 JD MB: This tune is in Ryan's/Cole's as Our BoysIt was called Piobaire Mhaire Bhain in Teelin, where it was associated with a local story. (Lilted by Peadar O'Beirne (Peadar Johnny Johndai), Teelin, for Radio Teilifis Eireann, 1948).
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Nine Pint Coggie, The 72 JD CMA: Not the same as the Scottish tune of the same name.
TH: It appears to be a version of Scott Skinner's strathspey Davie Work from 'The Scottish Violinist' (ABC).
MB: This tune is played outside Donegal also. The first part is that of the Scotch tune The Mill Burn.
NG: The first part is nearer to James Fraser's The Mill Burn than Davie Work, but it is the B part which seals it as the latter.
On the Road 167 F&MB LS: Aka On the Road from Glen to Carrick or The Glen Road to Carrick.
MB: Probably fashioned by Francie Dearg from The Chorus Jig. It seems likely that John Doherty got the tune from Francie Dearg, although his version is slightly different. The two met on "the Glen road to Carrick" on a particular day in the 1920s or early 1930s, and there and then John Doherty learned the tune from Francie Dearg. It was that meeting that produced the title for the tune.
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Paddy's Rambles Through the Park 96 JD
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Rakish Paddy 72 JD NG: An Irish version of the well-known Scottish reel Caber Feidh.
Road to Brighton, The 240 JL
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Sally Kelly's Reel 188 DOD NG: Found in Gow's Repository.
Scotch Mary 168 F&MB
Sleepy Maggie 240 PT MB: This is a Scottish reel, related to the well known Jenny's Chickens.
LS: When I asked him to play Sleepy Maggie, Vincent Campbell played Jenny's Chickens explaining that they were the same tune.
Sporting Days of Easter 240 JL
Stormy Weather 75 JD CMA: Not the Donegal tune of that name but Miss Monaghan.
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Temple House Reel, The 105 SD
Toss the Feathers 168 F&MB MB: A similar version of this tune was played in Glencolmcille by John McGinley (Connchubhair).
Turniskey Lasses 241 PT MB: See The Tirnaskea Lasses (CRE IV, 202).
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Untitled Reel 75 JD PV: This appears to be a tune of Scottish origin which appeared in Aird (according to O'Neill) as Cameron House. O'Neill reproduces it in 'Waifs & Strays', but prints it in his other collections under different titles, The Old Grey Gander, The Humors of Schull, and the air George Gubbin's Delight. You'll also find it in Roche as Mo Ceoil Sibh a Laochra in the section on marches (its notation, however, makes one think of polka), and in Ceol Rince Vol. 2 transcribed from the playing of Junior Crehan.
PdG: Variant of Old Grey Gander (CRE II 222; DMI 600; MOI 1345); compare Highway to Limerick (DMI 644; MOI 1402) and Humours of Schull/Rolling Reel (DMI 699; MOI 1470; WSGM 260).
MB:This tune is played as a highland in Glencolmcille/Teelin. Known in Teelin as The Mullach Garbh Highland, after a local place-name. It is related to the Scottish strathspey Captain Campbell. It appears to be related to the reel The Flock of Larks (CRE, 123), as well as others.
LS: The highland version appears under the name Molly Gharbu (which translates as Rough Molly according to CMA), on 'ó Bhun Sliabh Liag' (Forge Brae 007), played beautifully by Dermot Byrne and (sounds like) Con Cassidy.
Untitled Reel 76a JD LS: A variant of the West Wind according to the liner notes for 'Bundle and Go'.
CMA: I'm not sure whether I'd agree with calling it a version of The West Wind.
MB: Not The West Wind. See notes for The Cameronian Reel, p67a.
NG: This is the Scottish reel Colonel McBain, or Colonel MacBean.
Untitled Reel 76b JD PdG: A variant of Heather Breeze (CRE II 149; DMI 779).
Untitled Reel 77a JD PdG: Mulloy's Reel (CRE I 138).
Untitled Reel 77b JD PdG: Paddy Ryan's Dream or Tullagh Reel (DMI461; IFB 151, 154; MOI 1181-2).
MB: Doherty nearly always called this Mooney's Favourite. A similar version was played in Glencolmcille. It is generally accepted as a version of Paddy Ryan's Dream.
Untitled Reel
(Paddy Ryan's Dreams?)
77b JD CMA: Not John's version of Paddy Ryan's Dream which he actually called Mooney's Reel and is a version of the Scottish reel Miss Grant of the Laggan or Miss Lyall.
PdG: This is Old Cameronian (ER 74) (but surely older?); noted in text as Untitled reel (Paddy Ryan's Dreams?), which should refer to previous tune.
MB: This tune was called The Cameronian in Glencolmcille (slightly differently, as recorded by Ronan Galvin on 'The Fiddle Music of Donegal Vol II'). Francie Dearg played a version close to Doherty's version.
Untitled Reel 104 SD CMA: Same tune as the Untitled Reel in the middle of page 105.
PdG: Cup of Tea (CRE II 278; DMI 792).
PV: Aka The Beauty Spot.
Untitled Reel 105 SD CMA: Same tune as the Untitled Reel at the bottom of page 104.
PdG: Cup of Tea (CRE II 278; DMI 792).
PV: Aka The Beauty Spot.
Untitled Reel 106 SD PdG: This is called Yellow Tinker.
Untitled Reel 154 CC MB: Con never played this as a reel, always as a highland. In addition, it's incorrectly transcribed: the first part begins with the second group of four quavers in the fourth bar of the transcription (and thus also the last four quavers of the thirteenth bar). The second part begins with the second group of four quavers in the fifth bar. A slightly different version was played in Glencolmcille. The tune seems related to the first part of Miss Butler's Reel (CRE IV, 153).
Untitled Reel 169a F&MB PdG: Greig's Pipes (CRE I 96; WSGM 288).
Untitled Reel 169b F&MB MB: This tune was played in Teelin and Glencolmcille also (in D and G). Mick Carr called it Biddy na gCloch (Biddy of the Stones).
Untitled Reel 170 F&MB PdG: Lads of Leith/Laois (CRE I 192).
NG: Can be found in KMM4 as The Lads of Leith, and earlier in Riddell's Collection (18th Century) as Sir Adam Ferguson's Reel, and in Lowe's Collection (1844) as Sic a Wife as I hae Gotten.
Untitled Reel 171 F&MB LS: These are Ed Reavy tunes: Never Was Piping So Gay and Maudabawn Chapel.
PdG: ER 3 and ER 27.
Untitled Reel 172 F&MB PdG: 1st two parts Flora McDonald's (NF 187); 3rd part from Sleepy Maggie (DMI 661; MOI 1424; NF 240); 4th part from Master Crowley's/Miss Patterson's Slipper (CRE II 227; CREIII 180; IFB 152; MOI 1407; NF 71 - played with Roscommon reel as one tune).
CMA: Note that Flora McDonald is in fact the basis of the Coleman masterpiece The Morning Dew, otherwise known as The Hare in the Heather.
NG: A & B: Flora MacDonald (KMM1p5); C: Sleepy Maggie ().
Untitled Reel 188 DOD PdG: Aka Man with the Money (MOI 1360).
MB: Mickey Doherty played a reel something like this tune (CRE II, 235), which he called Miss Kelly's Favourite.
Untitled Reel 189 DOD PV: The Old Dudeen (from Paddy Killoran).
Untitled Reel 242a JL PV: Aka Paddy Kelly's (# 2).
MB: Seems related to CRE II, 186.
Untitled Reel 242b JL PdG: Shamrock Hill (SR 37).
Untitled Reel 242c JM PdG: Farewell to Erin (CRE I 139); continued on next page.
PV: I disagree with Paul on this one. It's Master McDermott, a Sean Maguire and Lima Donnelly composition, also known as Barrel Rafferty (after Mike's father).
MB: This tune is in CRE IV. The notes refer to the tune as a composition (May, 1943) of Michael 'Master' McDermott, Pomeroy, Co. Tyrone. Breathnach was of the opinion that the tune is a version of The Boys of the Lough.
Untitled Reel 243a JM Continuation of previous reel.
Untitled Reel 243b JM PdG: Bill Harte's Reel (CRE I 110).
Untitled Reel 243c JM PdG: Trim the Bonnet/Tie the Ribbons/Big Pat's Reel (CRE II 284; MOI 1192; WSGM 291).
Untitled Reel 244a JM MB: This reel is more like a highland/strathspey in structure and feel.
Untitled Reel 244b PT PdG: Templehouse Reel (DMI 505; MOI 1230; NF 105; WSGM 286).
Wild Irishman, The 105 SD
Wild Irishman, The 106 SD CMA: The parts are reversed as always played.
You're Welcome Home Royal Charlie 89 JD NG: Reminiscent of Johnny Cope, but I'm now recognizing another Scottish pipe march - it will come back to me eventually! There is another, different Scottish reel by this name.

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