The Beeswing hornpipe

Also known as Bee’s Wing, The Bee’s Wing, The Bee’s Wings, Bees Wing, The Bees Wing, The Bees WIng, Beeswing.

There are 39 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Beeswing has been added to 176 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Four settings

X: 1
T: The Beeswing
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
DF|G>dB<G F>cA<F|D>BG<D B,>GD<B,|C>EA<c B,>DvG>vB|(3AGF (3GFE D2EF|
G>dB<g F>dA<f|C>GE<c B,>GD<B|C>EA>c B>AG>F|A2G2 G2:|
|:dc|B<Gd>B g>dB>G|A<Fd>A f>dA>F|E<CG>E c>AB>G|(3AGF (3GFE D2EF|
G>dB<g F>dA<f|C>GE<c B,>GD<B|C>EA>c B>AG>F|A2G2 G2:|
|:(3FGA|G>d (3BAG F>c (3AGF|G>d (3BAG D>CB,>D|C>EA<c B,>DG>B|(3A^GA (3ge^c d2D>E|
(3GBd (3gdB (3FAd (3fdA|(3CEG (3cGE (3B,DG (3BGD|C>EA>c B>AG>F|A2G2 G2:|
|:dc|(3BAG (3dBd (3gdc (3BAG|(3AGF (3dAd (3fdA (3AGF|
(3ECE (3GEG (3cBA (3BAG|(3A^GA (3ge^c d2D>E|
(3GBd (3gdB (3FAd (3fdA|(3CEG (3cGE (3B,DG (3BGD|C>EA>c B>AG>F|A2G2 G2:||
ABC
X: 2
T: The Beeswing
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:FA|BfdB AecA|FdBF DBFD|EGce DFBd|(3cdc (3BAG F2GA|
Bfdb Afca|EBGe DBFd|EGce dcBA|c2B2 B2:|
|:fe|dBfd bfdB|cAfc afcA|GEBG ecdB|(3cdc (3BAG F2GA|
Bfdb Afca|EBGe DBFd|EGce dcBA|c2B2 B2:|
The main part where the settings differ is that triplet run which sometimes appears as |(3cBA (3BAG F2GA| or |(3cdB (3ABG F2GA|.
ABC
X: 3
T: The Beeswing
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:FA|BfdB AecA|FdBF DBFD|EGBe DFBd|(3cBA (3BAG F2GA|
Bfdb Afca|EBGe DBFd|EGBe dcBA|c2B2 B2:|
|:fe|dBfd bfdB|cAfc afcA|GEBG ecdB|(3cBA (3BAG F2GA|
Bfdb Afca|EBGe DBFd|EGBe dcBA|c2B2 B2:|
|:(3FGA|Bf (3dcB Ae (3cBA|Bf (3dcB FEDF|EGBe DFBd|(3c=Bc (3_bge f2FA|
(3Bdf (3bfd (3Acf (3afc|(3EGB (3eBG (3DFB (3dBF|EGBe dcBA|c2B2 B2:|
|:fe|(3dcB (3fdf (3bfd (3dcB|(3cBA (3fcf (3afc (3cBA|(3GEG (3BGB (3edc (3dc=B|(3c=Bc (3_bge f2FA|
(3Bdf (3bfd (3Acf (3afc|(3EGB (3eBG (3DFB (3dBF|EGBe dcBA|c2B2 B2:|
ABC
X: 4
T: The Beeswing
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
Bb / F / | Bb / Bb / | Eb / Bb / | C7 / F7 / |
Bb / F / | Eb / Bb / | Eb / Bb / | F7 / Bb / |
ABC

Twenty-five comments

Bee’s Wing

Very difficult tune to play. It was in B flat but I changed it to G because B flat tunes don’t suit the Banjo or don’t sound right.

Bees wing

I have an album of Kathryn Tickell who plays northumbrian pipes and fiddle. She plays a version of the bees wing on the fiddle and on the liner notes it says that the tune The Bee’s Wing was composed by James Hill of Gateshead. Bee’s Wing, according to the notes, was a famous Newcastle racehorse in the late 1800’s. There is a version of someone (can’t remember who and I don’t have the cd to hand) playing it on Uilleann Pipes on the Drones and the Chanters Vol 2.

Posted by .

Natalie MacMaster’s version is very similar to this. She plays it marvelously.

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The Piper

The piper is Joe McLaughlin of Derry City, an excellent piper and younger brother of fiddler Dermot. When are these two going to record a CD?

Hornpipe? Hang on a sec …

This sounds more like a strathspey to me, with all the Scotch snaps and triplets. Top tune!

Hornpipe - most definately

Yup, this is a Hornpipein the Newcastle (N.E.England) style and its a great tune. Its most certainly not a strathspey and its definately not a rant. I can’t think why anyone would considerit tosound Scots asisarchitypically Northumbrian. Irish players (and many American ones) tend flatten out hornpipes and miss out the internal syncopations but they have moved along way from the original when they do this. Musichall hornpipes (like The Stage, The Acrobat, President Garfield) are close to this style. There are some of us who believe that they would be more accurately written in 12/8 than in 4/4.

Kathryn Tickell probably plays the most accurate version of all the recordings I have heard as she plays it in the Newcastle style, in the original key, on a fiddle. James Hill was nicknamed "The Newcastle Paganini" and his tunes are generally demanding. Changing key to make it easy is a cheat!.
Noel Jackson
Angelsof the North

James HILL tune

Definitely a hornpipe from the playing of James Hill who was most famous for his playing of this type of tune.
Tom McConville has made a CD well worthwhile listening to of James Hill’s tunes. What’s an English hornpipe doing in an ITM site?

The hornpipe came from England originally, according to the experts. Plenty of them were of English composition as well.
Piper Joe McLauglin plays this in D on the Drones and Chanters II, with a high D.

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Beeswing

Susie-Lee said "what’s an English hornpipe doing in an ITM site?"

Have a look at the list of recordings this tune appears on for a start.

I agree with Noel - changing the key to G is a cheat!

I don’t know why people make such an almighty fuss about this hornpipe being difficult. There’s no reason to show off with it. Just control that ego and enjoy it for the beautiful tune that it is.

I don’t think the variations (3rd and 4th parts) add much to the tune to be honest. Most of the early settings of the tune from 19th century manuscripts e.g. Ryan/Cole’s have the tune in 2 parts only, and with no strathspey-like Scotch snaps. These early settings are all something along the lines of this:

K:Bb
|:FA|BfdB AecA|FdBF DBFD|EGce DFBd|(3cdc (3BAG F2GA|
Bfdb Afca|EBGe DBFd|EGce dcBA|c2B2 B2:|
|:fe|dBfd bfdB|cAfc afcA|GEBG ecdB|(3cdc (3BAG F2GA|
Bfdb Afca|EBGe DBFd|EGce dcBA|c2B2 B2:|

The main part where the settings differ is that triplet run which sometimes appears as |(3cBA (3BAG F2GA| or |(3cdB (3ABG F2GA|.

Kathryn Tickell’s setting

The version on her album has the variations but no Scotch snaps:

K:Bb
|:FA|BfdB AecA|FdBF DBFD|EGBe DFBd|(3cBA (3BAG F2GA|
Bfdb Afca|EBGe DBFd|EGBe dcBA|c2B2 B2:|
|:fe|dBfd bfdB|cAfc afcA|GEBG ecdB|(3cBA (3BAG F2GA|
Bfdb Afca|EBGe DBFd|EGBe dcBA|c2B2 B2:|
|:(3FGA|Bf (3dcB Ae (3cBA|Bf (3dcB FEDF|EGBe DFBd|(3c=Bc (3_bge f2FA|
(3Bdf (3bfd (3Acf (3afc|(3EGB (3eBG (3DFB (3dBF|EGBe dcBA|c2B2 B2:|
|:fe|(3dcB (3fdf (3bfd (3dcB|(3cBA (3fcf (3afc (3cBA|(3GEG (3BGB (3edc (3dc=B|(3c=Bc (3_bge f2FA|
(3Bdf (3bfd (3Acf (3afc|(3EGB (3eBG (3DFB (3dBF|EGBe dcBA|c2B2 B2:|

Hornpipe eh?

isn’t this a clog??

The stage hornpipes used for clog dances were a type of hornpipe.

James Hill

James Hill was born in Scotland and came to Newcastle when fairly young - he wasn’t a native of the area. Whatever his own playing style might have been, though, he was obviously able to please the local audiences and dancers.

Tom Mcelvogue plays this on flute:

http://www.tommcelvogue.com/music/OutTakes/08-The%20Beeswing%20Hornpipe.mp3

He plays it on a Rudall D flute in Bb, wow!!

This is what he says:
Standard fiddle Hornpipe played on Rudall D Flute. I let this one go as I like the way that the "wheels come off" steadily throughout the tune. What was actually happening was the spring was going on my B flat key. At the end of the set the key broke so that curbed my enthusiasm for using this for my CD.

B-flat

This tune is great fun in B flat on a fiddle. I have been playing it from Peter Cooper’s book.

Bflat

Fun on the banjo in b flat, a good stretch! Don’t bother with the 3 and 4th parts though, don’t think they ad much to the tune and detract from the prettyness of the first two parts.

Bee’s Wing

Don’t know if its a true hornpipe I’ll leave that question to the experts here all I know is that this is a beautiful song period! And I am glad I found it to play on my mandolin.

Tune format

I was wondering if anyone could help me in understanding the format of this tune. Also how many times you would each part/ the tune in competition??

Thanks!

B flat fans

If you read the sheet music as bass clef, add two flats to the appropriate ledger lines and taa daa! You are playing it in B flat. Yay.

Katherin Tyckell’s Setting “e” note

I have played a nearly identical setting that I got from another abc file.. I forget where, since my old computer died I can’t fact check the source.

At any rate, my memory and ear tells me to make one minor change in the tune. In the fourth measure both 3rd and 4th parts there is a triplet arpeggio notated as (3bge.

I would suggest changing the e-flat to e-natural, thus: (3bg=e.

This makes the melody note e-natural and fits satisfyingly within the II7 chord of "C7", which moves to "F7" the IV chord resolving back to the home key of Bb chord.

Thus the chords for the eight bars of Part 3 may be played:
Bb / F / | Bb / Bb / | Eb / Bb / | C7 / F7 / |
Bb / F / | Eb / Bb / | Eb / Bb / | F7 / Bb / |

This also makes the (3bg=e broken chord easier to play on the fiddle because you don’t have to play the e-flat with 4th finger in first position; the open e-string does the trick.

This is murder in the form of a hornpipe…
my grampa uses this as a challenge to other fiddlers to see whether someone’s up to snuff on their fiddle.
I, by the way, I have never even attempted to learn it as I think I would go crazy

very clever tune

you can see it was written for the fiddle; the finger positions for the first set of four notes is copied and placed onto the next string down to make the third set of four notes, and the pattern for second set of four notes used on the fourth set. And it happens later in the tune as well, if you still follow me.
It works just as well on the whistle. Most of the low ‘C’ and ‘B’ s can be replaced with one an octave higher and it still sounds great. This doesn’t work for a lot of tunes, especially ‘below the belt’ hornpipes and ‘She moved through the Fair’.