Reilly’s Reel and Maid

Reilly’s Reel and Maid

I am going to get my lady’s group to play this set but I need chords for the piano lady. She can’t figure out what chords and neither can I. Can someone help me please? Enclosed is a link to the tunes for the set.

This might be a good set for anyone else to try.

Thank you.

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Re: Reilly’s Reel and Maid

Maid behind the bar - here’s a very simple take on it, done by eye rather than by ear (without an instrument), two chords per bar. I’m not an accompanist and certainly not a pianist but I like to chug away with chords on the box.

You could do a lot more than this but these chords ought to work. For bits that don’t work, try other chords from the same set (D, A, G, Bm, Em). 🙂 I’m sure others can correct or improve on this quick and dirty answer!

A part
|D D|D D|Bm G|Bm G|
|D D|D D|Bm G|A D|
B part
|D D|D D|A A|Em Em!
D D| D A|Bm G|A D|

I approve of this setting of the tune 🙂 (with bars 3 and 4 using the same motif instead of the usual variation that has become official).

I can’t make much sense of the second one but just tell her to plunk away on Em, going to D where there is an obvious chord change, and throwing in the odd G or Bm to vary the monotony of the Em’s in the bars that start with the note B and it should sound grand.

(Irish tunes in a dorian minor mode alternating between the tonic and the major chord one step below are a dime a dozen. There’s a fancy name for this but I can’t remember what it is.)

Hope this helps and you are now obliged to report back. 🙂

Re: Reilly’s Reel and Maid

Chords for the Maid Behind the Bar are here, version 4. I’m afraid I don’t know the other one.

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Re: Reilly’s Reel and Maid

Ha beat you to it by 3 seconds gam. The chords for the 4th setting you link to won’t work quite so well as mine in bars 3 and 4 with the melody as posted by the OP. Cheers!

Re: Reilly’s Reel and Maid

@suew: Rather than simply seek out a sequence of chords, I think you - and, more importantly, the piano lady - need to learn how to figure out chords to tunes yourselves.

To put it simply, there are two dimensions to putting chords to tunes: i. What chords fit with the notes of the tune? ii. What chords hang together in a meaningful progression?

1. For finding the ‘chords that fit’, you need to look at the notes of the tune, bar by bar (or half bar by half bar) and see what major or minor chords they form. Some of the notes will be passing notes, others will be obvious components of a triad (3-note chord). Mostly (but not exclusively), it is the notes on the ‘strong’ beats of the bar ( 1, 3, 5 & 7) that determine the chord; Let us take the first two bars of The Maid BTB as it appears on your sheet music:

F^2AB AF^ED | F^2AB ABde |

The notes F#, A, and D are prevalent - and these happen to be the notes that make up a D chord (D major triad). There are a few Bs as well, but note that they all fall on weak beats.
There are also a couple of Es, one of them on a strong beat, but looking at the other strong beats in the phrase, there are no other notes that an E could form a major or minor chord with.

Moving onto bars 3 & 4:

f^BBA Bcde | f^BBA BcdA

The first two notes are F# and B, which immediately suggests some kind of B chord. Since we’re in the key of D, we can work out that the middle note must be D, giving us B minor. In the 2nd half of the bar, we have B and D on the strong beats, which are part of the B minor chord; the whole 4 note phrase is also made up of the first 4 notes of a B minor scale, which points strongly towards B minor again. B and D, however, are also part of a G major chord (and the 4 note phrase, part of a G major scale), so a G major chord could also fit here. Bar 4 (in this version of the tune, at least) is identical to bar 3, but for the last note, so it could be treated exactly the same… but more on that in a moment.

If you have followed me so far, you should be ready to have a stab at wrking out chordsfor the rest of the tune.

2. Re the other dimension: This is, to some extent, a question of style. But, once you have commited yourself to playing a chord progression, you have a responsibility to see it through to a meaningful conclusion or, at least (since chord progressions in traditional music often don’t ‘conclude’), a way to link back to the start.

So, back to bars 3 & 4. Looking at the two bars as a whole, we have a few different chord options:
Bm Bm | Bm Bm
Bm Bm | Bm G
Bm G | Bm G
Bm G | Bm Bm

Any of these is acceptable, but each gives the tune a slightly different dynamic. If we look at what happens in the next bar (5), it is identical to bar 1, hence a D chord. Using option 1 above, therefore, we are toggling between D and Bm. Now, changing to a G chord in the 2nd half of bar 4 (option 2) serves to smooth out the transition back to the D chord in bar 5, giving a slightly more flowing style. Using the Bm-G change in both bars creates a restless feel and an element of repetitiousness that might sometimes be desirable. (Option 4 frankly sounds a little odd to me - but that could just be down to taste.)

Bars 5 & 6 are identical to 1 & 4. Bar 7 is the same as bar 3, but for the last note. As regards bar 8, let us jump right to the final note: D. The tune is in the key of D and ends on a D note, so the obvious choice is to end with a D chord. The simplest option here, referring back to the chord options for bar 3, would be to accompany bars 7&8 with:
Bm Bm | D D - bar 8 contains F#, A and D - the notes of a D major triad - so a D chord fits.

However - and this is where learning a bit of basic classical harmony might come in handy - the above chord option is wanting in a sense of harmonic ‘movement’. It is a ‘sequence’ but not really a ‘progression’. What is needed is some kind of bridge from the Bm to the final D chord. We already know that we can change to a G chord in bar 7. So, another option would be: Bm G | D D

This is beginning to take on a bit more of a shape. But it would be good to emphasise that final D note by changing to the D chord *on that note* - so we need one more chord.

Bar: AF^EF^ D2

Looking at the 1st and 3rd notes of the bar, we have A and E, which are components of an A major triad (A, C#, E). Hence: Bm G | A D

G-A-D (or IV-V-I, generically speaking) is a very common way to end a major chord progression, in almost any kind of music that uses chords.

As I said earlier, this is partly a question of style. Sometimes, you might use a chord that clashes with some of the melody notes, in order to build a particular progression. Sometimes, you might want to avoid the most obvious chord, to create a kind of tension. For example, in bar 3, instead of beginning with the obvious B minor, you could go straight to a G, even though the opening note is not part of a G chord; another option would be to stay on the D for the whole of bars 1 - 4. Alternatively, following the IV-V-I principle mentioned above, you could put an A chord into bar 4 (either the whole bar, or on the 2nd half-bar), leading back to the D (I) at the beginning of bar 5.

So, you should have enough information there to work out chords for the B part - and for most tunes in major keys. Much of it also applies to tunes in the minor modes (like O’Reilly’s Reel), although chord progressions behave a little differently in those modes.

To put you out of your misery, here’s what I might play for O’Reilly’s:

Em - - - | D - - - | Em - - - | Bm - Em - :|
|: Em - - - | Em - - - | Em - - - | Em B Em - :|

Re: Reilly’s Reel and Maid

Thank you very much, everyone for your replies and wishes to help. I really do appreciate them.

I will have to get back to you later with how I do on figuring out the chords according to the help you provided to get me to figure this out on my own.

It will be difficult.

Without going into too much detail, I would never have posted asking for help if any of us in our group were of sound mind and body. My piano player can’t play any of our tunes which we have been playing for a few years now without looking at written down chord progression. I have tried many times to get her to just wing it. She forgets. She even forgets her music and loses it too. Often she will say she was never handed out music but when I go through her books, I find several copies of it.

As for me, I cannot figure chords out. I often bring my keyboard out, to my living room, set it up and begin using different methods to write the chords in so the piano lady won’t stress over it. I lost my spot and have to start over. I leave the room to do something and come back and have to check it all over again starting at the beginning.

All of my group have memory loss. Often, with problem solving, we can’t remember if we have solved it or need to talk more about it.

We write on our music little notes like play twice or Alice plays melody and comes in on second time with harmony but when we perform or while we are playing it, we don’t do what was written down or we have forgotten it by the time we get to the second line but……people love us. We are booked into the Fall and here is it Spring.

When I ask for chords, I am asking for help from someone who can just look at the music and write the chords in quickly. I am not asking, in my senior years, to be taught how to, although, I will try it, although it is going to be extremely difficult for me and I would never ask the piano lady to do this as it would stress her out to no end and after all of that, she would forget it anywayz.

Music is a wonderful thing. It’s been proven it’s good for Alzheimer.

I love this website. …..crawls back to hole……thanks again for all the replies….

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Re: Reilly’s Reel and Maid

I just got back from practice. I gave the piano player the chords and told her to juggle around with them as per what CreadurMawnOrganig put in at the bottom of his post. It didn’t work out. I had to shout out as I played the chords. I got mixed up in my playing.

I mentioned about the instructions I received here in this forum and she wanted me to send them to her, so I will.

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Re: Reilly’s Reel and Maid

The final G in bar 4 (both Creadur and Stiamh have it) doesn’t sound right to my ears, but you could do worse than analysing a tune the way Creadur describes it. But to be honest, it’s best to think this out yourself (or if your piano player does that). As harsh as it may sound, if one can’t hear (or figure out) the chords, one is in the wrong place.

Re: Reilly’s Reel and Maid

Sorry if I overloaded you with information, Suew, and thanks for the background on your music group.

“We write on our music little notes … but when we perform or while we are playing it, we don’t do what was written down or we have forgotten it by the time we get to the second line…”

Sounds all too familiar - and I’m of ‘sound mind’, allegedly 😉 The great thing about Irish Traditional Music is that arrangement is an optional extra.

Re: Reilly’s Reel and Maid

this gives me great hope for joy of music and good company, actually and virtually, in my own forgetful old age…which i fear is approaching faster than i’d like. i think i would like to worry about it less and just enjoy it more, and be as unselfconscious about it as the wonderful poster suew.

Re: Reilly’s Reel and Maid

meant to add, and hope it was implied and read: thank you, suew!