The Foxhunter reel

Also known as Fiagaí An Mhadra Rua, The Fox Chase, The Fox Hunter, Fox Hunters, The Fox-Chase, The Foxhunter’s, Foxhunters, The Foxhunters’, The Foxhunters, Sealgaire An TSionnaigh.

There are 170 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Foxhunter has been added to 886 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Five settings

X: 1
T: The Foxhunter
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: d2BG d2BG | d2BG AGEG | d2BG dGBG | AcBG AGEG :|
|: D~D2B BAGE | DGBG AGEG | D~D2B BAGB | AcBG AGEG :|
|: gedB GABd | gdBd eaaf | gedB GABG | ABcd eA~A2 :|
|: dggf ~g2ge | dggd egdB | dggf ~g2gd | egdB AGAB :|
|: G2BG dGBG | GABG AGAB | ~G2BG dGBd | egdB AGAB :|
ABC
X: 2
T: The Foxhunter
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
dGBG dGBG|dGBG AGEG|dGBG dGBG|GABG AGEG:|
|:~D3 B BABG|DGBG AGEG|~D3 B BABG|AcBG AGEG:|
|:gedB G2 Bd|gdBd eA ~A2|gedB GBdB|ABcd eA ~A2:|
|:dggf g4|dg ~g2 egdB|dggf ~g3d|(3efg dB AGAB:|
|:~G2 BG dGBG|GB ~B2 AGAB|~G2 BG dGBG|(3efg dB AGAB:|
ABC
X: 3
T: The Foxhunter
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
eAcA eAcA|eAcA BAFA|eAcA eAcA|(3Bcd cA BAFA|
eAcA eAcA|eAcA BAFA|ce (3eee fcec|(3Bcd cA BAFA||
E3c cBAF|~E2 cA BAFA|E3c cBAc|(3Bcd cA BAFA:||
afec AB (3cBA|aece f~B3|afec AB (3cBA|Bcde f~B3|
afec AB (3cBA|aece fb (3bbb|aBgB fBec|Bcde fBcd||
eaag a3f|e~a3 (3fga ec|eaag abae|(3fga ec ~B2cd|
eaag a3f|e~a3 (3fga ec|eaag abae|(3fga ec BdcB||
A2cA eAcB|A~c3 BABc|(3AAA Ac eAce|(3fga ec BdcB:||
ABC
X: 4
T: The Foxhunter
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
d2 BG dGBG|dGBG AGEG|d2 BG dGBG|GABG AGEG:|
|:D3B BABG|DGBG AGEG|D3B BABG|AcBG AGEG:|
|:gedB G2 Bd|gdBd eA A2|gedB GBdB|ABcd eA A2:|
|:dggf g3e|dg g2 egdB|dggf g3d|(3efg dB AGAB:|
|:G2 BG dGBG|GB B2 AGAB|G2 BG dGBG|(3efg dB AGAB:|
# Added by JACKB .
ABC
X: 5
T: The Foxhunter
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
e2 cA eAcA|eAcA BAFA|e2 cA eAcA|BdcA BAFA:|
|:E3c cBcA|EAcA BAFA|E3c cBcA|BdcA BAFA:|
|:afec A2 ce|aece fB B2|afec Acec|Bcde fB B2:|
|:eaag a3f|ea a2 faec|eaag a3e|faec BABc:|
|:A2 cA eAcA|Ac c2 BABc|A2 cA eAcA|faec BABc:|
# Added by JACKB .
ABC

Forty comments

This tune is nice played in A on fiddle banjo etc., with lots of open E-string. When playing in G, I find cross fingering the d to G rather tricky on mandolin. That said, playing it in A is a bustard on the whistle or flute.
I’ve also heard it played with the 1st part omitted after the first time round - i.e. the final part stands in for the first part. I’m not sure whether that’s an alternate version or just a mistake.

I’ve heard it played with the first part omitted as well, but I think it’s probably just a mistake. I don’t have much to say on that particular issue because 1.) I learned it from my cousin and 2.) I’ve never seen it in a music book before. hmmmmm…
(P.S. playing it in A on the flute is a BIG bustard.)

This might not be such a bustard on the key of A on the flute, after all. There aren’t that many F#s (which would become G#s ).

But I don’t have a keyed flute. That means a whole lot of half-holing!

The g# can be cross-fingered xxx0x0. This works on most whistles (but only in the upper octave) and I expect it would work for most keyless flutes as well. Once you get used to it, it’s faster than half-holing and useful.

Fiddle Tuning

Some fiddler’s re-tune their instrument for this tune: AEAE. James Kelly and Sean Keane have both recorded it this way. Wouldn’t work for a session, of course…

If you’ve never played in this tuning: it brings about an incredible ringing sound. Cape Breton fiddlers use this tuning for a lot of their tunes as well.

Chieftains 2 Version

Here is the ABC notation for the version played on Chieftains 2, showing a few subtle differences from the original posting:

dGBG dGBG|dGBG AGEG|dGBG dGBG|GABG AGEG:|
|:~D3 B BABG|DGBG AGEG|~D3 B BABG|AcBG AGEG:|
|:gedB G2 Bd|gdBd eA ~A2|gedB GBdB|ABcd eA ~A2:|
|:dggf g4|dg ~g2 egdB|dggf ~g3d|(3efg dB AGAB:|
|:~G2 BG dGBG|GB ~B2 AGAB|~G2 BG dGBG|(3efg dB AGAB:|

Loads of fun when played as fast as possible on the banjo. Ought to follow a tune in Amin, since the a part sounds great with a full Amajor chord on guitar.

Lazy Man’s “A” Version

Just move your fingers up a hole on the whistle and play as normal.

I lived down in Dingle for about 5yrs and this tune preceded by the Bucks was like the national anthem was on U.K. tv. 30yrs ago..time to go to bed! Seriously, at least 40% of sessions i heard or sat in down there ended with these 2 tunes in a set.Like the Kerry anthem or something. Oh and sometimes they do the Foxhunter in G and then take it up to A, so it’s almost like set of 3.Great stuff.

Foxhunter Reel by Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh on YouTube

eAcA eAcA|eAcA BAFA|eAcA eAcA|(3Bcd cA BAFA|
eAcA eAcA|eAcA BAFA|ce (3eee fcec|(3Bcd cA BAFA||
E3c cBAF|~E2 cA BAFA|E3c cBAc|(3Bcd cA BAFA:||
afec AB (3cBA|aece f~B3|afec AB (3cBA|Bcde f~B3|
afec AB (3cBA|aece fb (3bbb|aBgB fBec|Bcde fBcd||
eaag a3f|e~a3 (3fga ec|eaag abae|(3fga ec ~B2cd|
eaag a3f|e~a3 (3fga ec|eaag abae|(3fga ec BdcB||
A2cA eAcB|A~c3 BABc|(3AAA Ac eAce|(3fga ec BdcB:||

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4OAkUN-m3A


When it comes to the fiddle, SOO much better in A.

Haha, that’s brilliant Longnote.

Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

I’m learning the Foxhunter’s Reel in G on a BC box , and wondering whether I should be learning the A version. There’s no big difference in difficulty on the box - G may be slightly easier.

Which is generally played in sessions?

And yes, I realize learning both versions would do no harm, but usually…?

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

Time for me to be a curmudgeon. & I do not wear it well.
There is a perfectly good discussion & comment section in the Tunes category. Or as I am told (repeatedly), "Please remember, as stated in the discussion submission guidelines, if you have a question or comment about a specific tune, recording, session, or event, to post it in the relevant listing rather than in discussions. Thanks."
Martin I do hope your post receives more responses, regardless of where it ends up (winds up?)
Play in A & the good fiddlers’ will love it. If either way works for you (A & G) I’d say you should learn both.
~ end of rant.

Posted .

~

almost … & if it does end up in the Tunes comments please give a title to each response. By this I mean ~ if one clicks on "Tunes" & then clicks on "Comments" rarely does one know which tune is being commented on. no more hijacking.
Cheers Martin

Posted .

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

Thanks Random - as a pedant I always appreciate a good display of genial curmudgeonliness. It’s my observation that MANY questions raised in the Comments section of tunes are NOT ANSWERED within days or even months or years. I sortof want to know now, so does that give me enough justification? If I had the facility I would move the discussion to the tune comments as soon as it had an answer. Also, I’m curious - what led to your being told (repeatedly)?

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

While curmudgeon is in fact my middle name, Random seems to have that covered. So, at the risk of encouraging an informative and specific discussion about a particular tune on a particular instrument in the discussions portion of this forum…
I’ve always heard the tune played in A, but when I tried it in G on the B/C box, it made a lot more sense to me. I can kind of muddle through it in A, but I think I could actually play it in G, given some time. On the whistle, as well, it’s certainly playable in A but it works much better in G. All that being said, I’ve usually heard it in A.

My advice would be to learn both, and start it in G when you want to play it. If some fiddler starts it in A, storm out of the room in a huff and start your own session withough the bloody fiddles. OR, alternatively, you could just play along in A, but that would be the sensible thing to do.

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

Let’s just say I have received a few polite emails. Most recent below, & I must congratulate your "Discussion" for already having greater longevity than the following *comment*; http://www.thesession.org/tunes/1967

Posted .

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

Martin, more importantly for you, what is the most common key in your corner of Australia?

Fiddlers tend to like it in A (but most will play it in A or G), and whistle/flute/pipe players prefer G. Not sure about other instruments. So the key will often depend on what sort of instrument carries the tune in your circle.

Posted .

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

I learnt it back in the mid-Seventies as a G tune, and first heard it in A on the Matt Molloy / Tommy Peoples / Paul Brady album of 1978. I suspect it has been played increasingly often in A since then, though those better informed than me may say it’s been consistently played in A in the tradition for a long time.

It’s a great tune in both keys, though playing it in A does I think have an edge in giving an extra fillip to the end of a set.

On the BC - an instrument that defeated me - I would have thought it was quite a bit easier in G than A.

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

Thanks Jon and Will - I’ll learn both as I’ve heard the 2 keys played in succession and the change-up sounded pretty good.

Not sure what my local session plays it in - Donough, are you about to enlighten me on Foxhunter’s Reel at the Dav?

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

Mostly in A.

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

G - ( but you’d be hard pushed to find anyone here in Aberdeen who knows it in either key ).
Wasn’t it fiddler Paddy Kelly of Cree, Co.Clare who first put it into A ? Breandan Breathnach’s book "Folkmusic And Dances of Ireland", printed in 1971, has a very detailed transcription in "A" attributed to Chieftains fiddler Sean Keane. There is also a CD which includes Breathnach’s original source recordings of all the tunes and songs in that book.
I first heard it in "A" on the "Music From The Coleman County" LP from 1972, played by Seamus Tansey and Andrew Davey
( I think).

Posted by .

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

Round here we tend to play twice through in G then up to A and twice through in A.

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

That’s what they do on Encore by Celtic Fiddle Festival - only to return back to G again and then to A once again!

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

G all the way.

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

So far a fairly even spread - G, and A, and both together. Sorry to hear about your divorce from the BC nicholas. any chance of a reconciliation, or have you taken up with another?

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

A with fiddle tuned AEAE is great. Patrick Kelly, mentioned above, and James Kelly have recorded the tune this way. Lots of open string possibilities. A geat ringing sound.

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

Never heard anyone make the the dogs bark in G, could just be me and my personal howsyourfather but I prefer it played in A.

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

So I switched to A and it seemed to have more lift and flow. Course being in A on the BC box, you need an assistant to walk over there with the bellows.

Re: Foxhunter’s Reel in sessions - G or A usually?

Easy…sessions with many fiddles/banjos would love to play in A.

Pipers/flutes will usually prefer G.

*

Definitely A! I just played "Foxhunter’s Reel" on my Low D & it sounds grand (in A).
I don’t think I have tried it before. Now if I can only manage "Calliope House" in E.

Posted .

Foxhunter’s Reel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1EU4ipTkRg


And here’s Frankie Gavin playing it unaccompanied. Even more impressive, to my ears, than the (excellent) version posted above. Love the way he uses double-stops as as form of rhythmic self accompaniment. The tune is played here in A, but with the fiddle tuned a half-step sharp.

A crackingly great tune, either in G or in A, though as a fiddler, I prefer it in A. I learned it from the James Kelly version… there are three recorded versions of it… the one he recorded with Daithi Sproule and Paddy O’Brien on the great Masters of Irish Music record, the one he recorded on Capel Street (slightly faster, I think), and one he did unaccompanied on a live TV show, which is one of only a couple of clips of him on YouTube.

Ah, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb1K5BCtLY8 (a couple of minutes in).


He also discusses the origin of the the tune and where he got it from.

Someone above got to the heart of the tune… You have to "make the dogs bark." If you don’t hear the dogs bark, and the horses galloping, and the horns blowing, you have not gotten to the essence of the tune. I play it for kids and tell them to listen for all of them. :-)

The resonance and sympathetic vibrations you can get on the fiddle by tuning AEAE are important for getting the horns to blow, but you can also tune GDGD to get some of the same effects when playing with other instruments.

Honestly, even if you don’t hear the dogs and the horns, it’s still a nice reel. But for me, the goal is always "make the dogs bark."

I hate to brag but I hear the dogs bark every time I play the fiddle, to say nothing of the sounds that the cats make.