tunebook 951 tunes.

MK Whistles - (update 3/01/2023) Hoping for improvements while still feeling the burn of disappointment from two previous sub-standard MK whistles I’d received, obvious manufacturing defects - - - I broke down and purchase their latest high D ‘Midgie’ whistle while it was still on special offer… I have to concede it’s a gem, a beauty, and with no obvious defects. I love it.

However, history persists, my previous disappointments, worsened by the attitude and response of their designer Misha Somerville, “It’s only cosmetic!” - “It plays!” This started with a manufacturing defect, a low G whistle, its window badly off center of the windway and mouthpiece. This was my 4th or 5th purchase, pleased with the lovely instruments I’d received previously. And, they ain’t cheap, so it required me tightening the belt and working hard to save every necessary pence… At such costs I don’t think it unreasonable to expect ‘quality’. Somehow, if it was there, Misha’s quality control failed miserably on these two low Gs, and my surprise and disappointment, including in his response, was huge…

Misha gave me an ultimatum - I could return the first one for a refund but if I did he would never accept another order from me again - or - i could return it and accept a replacement. I took that second option, loving all previous MK whistles I’d purchased and still hopeful for a quality low G MK whistle… Then came that replacement and my disappointment was compounded as it too suffered a clear and obvious manufacturing defect. Not wanting anymore agro, I took my own tools to carefully remove and clean up the metal jutting into the window. It plays, to use Misha’s first response to that first disappointment. I did let Misha know about this second problem, but he has never given it consideration to answer when I informed him about this, not even an “I’m sorry”. For both Gs their cases were also a poor fit, tight, too short by a margin. I’ve since also disassembled and hand sewn the case, the Velcro, for a better fit. I’d shown both of the low G MK whistles to my wife and others and they too were surprised with the defects evident with both whistles, something we never expected from Misha or an MK whistle.

Despite all this my first few MK Whistles remain favourites, as too this lovely MK Midgie high D they’ve sent me (2022). Sadly the love affair and respect I had for MK whistles and their designer/maker is a bit tarnished by my experiences with these two low G whistles and Misha’s poor customer service, though this lovely high D has eased that a little… If not for these negatives I’d no doubt have purchased one of every key he’d ever make, 6 or 7 now in my possession, and a similar amount I’m responsible for helping and convincing others to order. Now a bigger venture with pretty much no waiting time, they have made for me and others some lovely whistles - - - great they get it right, the instrument and the service… Still, Misha and his cohorts will always have my best wishes, ever supportive of musical instrument makers, especially on these islands, including wishing for them a good and profitable New Year, 2023… (This time sensitive missive and moan may eventually be deleted by me.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

May 17th, 2016, 3 a.m., a Tuesday ~ I suffer an M.I., a heart attack brought on by a blood clot! It is part of my details. Apologies about those half a dozen or less projects I’ve been doing for others, sometimes left on the back burner (only two), but there have been distractions over the last few years, time and attention and care given to friends, family, who have been in worse shape than me, with some losses as a consequence.

This little set of details, like me, is in need of an overhaul
~ including for this page of details a need to test the links to make sure they’re all still viable… 😏

Ceol = music / Olachan = drunk or drunkard…
In other words, the words of the person, scholar, and poet who put this on me, with affection and good intentions ~ “someone who gets drunk on music…”
Though on another authority ~ “someone who plays music for drink”…but that’s not me ~ though I’m unlikely to refuse such kindness. 😉
Some rare few have complained about my use of this alias on site here, not anyone with kind intent or balanced reason. My friends, old and new, on and off site, know me by my birth name, most having visited and shared time and music with me. I’m glad of the use of this alias for those rare few assholes who I’ve had the misfortune of bumping into here… I’m glad to say that’s less than one foot’s worth of toes. For them I’d hope to always be an alias. Sadly I’ve let a few through, usually my having offered help, but that’s likey only two?, possibly three now? That discomfort doesn’t last long, all communications with those few having quickly ceased… This nickname I’ve used here, ‘ceolachan’, my alias, was a kindness I’ve gladly shared in using it here. It’s real, as music is my medicine, my therapy, my inebriate of first choice…

A further sense of the existence & limitations of this mind in time & space: I don’t tailgate! ~ not even in a so-called bumper-to-bumper stand still. I always leave breathing space, a safe distance, but also out of respect and consideration for the next driver in front. I know how uncomfortable it is to have someone tailgating you, including within inches and at speed or faster. I’ve even been bumped a few times, and, seriously ploughed into. I do my best to get out of the way of people who use their vehicles in such an aggressive, disrespectful, unsafe and intimidating way. Foolishly, in the past when there was no clear and immediate means to get out of the way, there were a few times when I tried using my brake lights in an attempt to get someone to back off. I know now that doesn’t work. It only tends to rile such road hogs and they become more road possessive and aggressive. I’m a relatively quick learner. That is no longer an option I consider.

When I see someone at a side road waiting to join the rest of us, If it looks like I can, more often than not I’ll slow down and signal for them to enter the space I’ve made for them. However, sometimes, if it is someone being particularly aggressive and pushy, I admit it, I don’t really want to, and rarely I won’t. Mostly I do, whoever it is wanting to get to wherever they are going. I sympathize, empathize. I’ll help if I can. I’ll make space and time for them.

If I see someone in distress, stranded, or struggling ~ stranger or friend or foe or asshole ~ I will ask if there’s anything I can do, “Can I help?” If someone asks me for help, I’ll do my damnedest, which often means finding someone more capable to address their needs. The only potential confusions of limitations here are old things ~ me, memory, equipment ~ and ~ situations, concerns, distractions ~ often beyond my control, or offering me difficult challenges and/or limited options. Sometimes that has been the loss of or care for a loved one, our wider family. Such problems are on the increase the older I get.

Yes, I do foolish and inconsiderate things, usually out of ignorance or misunderstanding than anything with intent. When there is intent, it is usually my concern for someone else hard done by the person who has attracted my ire. Sometimes passion, as for music and dance, gets the better of sense and reason and care, or the awareness that some folks are way too over precious about it all, themselves and their involvement in it. I have been pulled up more than once for having clumsily stepped on someone’s foot, violating personal space and sensitivities, so to speak, when not being fully conscious of my actions or the tenderness of others. Yes, I stumble, can be quite clumsy, including suffering that old ailment ‘foot-in-mouth’, where I say something without thought or rashly and, if I have unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings, regretting it afterwards. But, to be honest, sometimes I don’t regret it and even wish I’d been braver and more outspoken.

As to that minority population of tailgaters, jerks, assholes ~ when repeat experience gives sufficient evidence of this, in how I or others are treated, or in how highly they consider themselves above the rest of us, or how precious they might be ~ I do try my best to avoid these few. It’s not worth the pain, the agro, the bother. Sometimes it is best to turn your back to a bad situation and to walk away, or to move aside as soon as possible and let them past. Egotism and delusion are rarely open states of mind where a reasonable discussion or relationship can be had. I prefer to associate with those who mostly have traits I can respect, and that I aspire to. I have a fairly good amount of patience, if not for myself, especially for the unpretentious, and most definitely for those with a beginner’s mind, open and inquisitive. Also, those who care are worth caring for. Those who are considerate are most worthy of consideration… I tend to, at least initially and readily, offer time, respect & consideration, though the lifespan of that varies dependent upon the recipient. While I don’t forget an abuse, I don’t hold a grudge, and harassment and intimidation are not in my toolbox.

The only one I’ve ever felt the need to better is myself…

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The history of Ireland, including its traditions of music and dance, has never been out of context with the rest of the world. The nature of many things purified is their toxicity… IMO ‘c’


i.) Tune search tools
ii.) ABCs
iii.) DIGITAL MUSIC ~ Some Resources for the Ears
iv.) Small Things: a passion for the affordable & portable
v.) MUSIC in discussion


ix.) DANCE in discussion


xi.) QUOTE: Roche: Note On Irish Dancing
xii.) QUOTE: Reg Hall


xiii.) Personally speaking
xiv.) Compositions



For a kick of information check out ~

NOTICE: 1/1/12 The Fiddler’s Companion is being converted to a Wiki format and is renamed to the Traditional Tune Archive (TTA) at The new wiki will provide greater utility for searches, data submission, querying, etc., and each and every entry is being re-researched for the latest information, and new entries are being added. If you have found the F/C useful, please check the TTA at

amassed insanity of ABCs, but there is order to his madness:


JOHN CHAMBERS’ (JC’s) ABC Tune Find ~ on
John Chambers’ Homepage
ABC SEARCH: JC’s (John Chambers) ABC Tune Finder / Match
~ for finding tunes published in abc on the web.
John Chambers’ ABC music collection

ABCs on the WWW =
numbered and alphabetical index ~ not all links are active…

example ~ ABC tunes starting with ~ examples ~

Reverend Pete’s ABC Phantasmagoria



TUNEPAL DOT ORG ~ Dr. Bryan Duggan
A query-by-playing search engine for traditonal irish dance tunes…

JC’s Scandinavian Folk Dance Music

II. ) ABCs ~ etc.

STEVE MANSFIELD’S recommended introduction to the ABCs:


CHRIS WALSHAW’s site, the modern influence on an old from of notation. We have him and his associates to thank for moving ABC notation into ASCII code for computer use…


~ ETC. ~ a few resources to help clear up some of the issues? 😏

A rich mix on modes and scales, courtesy of member Mix O’Lydian

ABCs in Discussion:

How Does One read the ABC charts here?
# Posted on August 14th 2008 by Big Dog

Now I know my ABCs: ABC help & suggestions for learning and teaching
# Posted on June 10th 2007 by ceolachan

III. ) ~ DIGITAL MUSIC ~ Some Resources for the Ears


University of California, Santa Barbara
Donald C. Davidson Library
Department of Special Collections
Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project ~ the search page

Juneberry 78s:

The Listening Room:

Irish Dance Music:

Internet Archive

Open Source Audio

The Dunn Family Collection: Francis O’Neill Cylinders

Discussion: 78s online - finally!
# Posted on June 5th 2007 by Kevin Rietmann

“After a couple false starts I’ve found a home for my dubs of 78s - the Internet Archive. Am starting with pipers, search for ”uilleann“ and you’ll see what I’ve done to date. I’m keeping a daily log of what I’ve added at the Chiff and Fipple Uilleann Pipes Forum, too, it’s a ”Sticky“ topic at the top, ”78 RPM recordings available online.“ Will proceed to fiddling, then fluting. I’ll be throwing in most anything that isn’t commercially available at the moment, lots of sides that have never been reissued too. Enjoy!”


Phil Martin, uilleann pipes: The Cup of Tea / The Flogging Reel

Michael Coleman: Lord McDonald / Ballinasloe Fair

Paddy Killoran: The Gold Ring / Haste to the Wedding

Library and Archives Canada
The Virtual Gramophone: Canadian Historical Sound Recordings
Discographical information & audio files: RA RealAudio & MP3
Library and Archives Canada

Le Gramophone Virtuel / The Virtual Gramophone:
Canadian Historical Sound Recordings


Collection Search

Collection Search ~ complete digital collection - sorted by performer
Gigue De Touristes

A few MP3s as examples
“Reel De L’aveugle”

“Quadrille Quadrille français”

“Quadrille des Montagnards”?

IV. ) ~ SMALL THINGS: a passion for the affordable & portable

The Whistle
Discussion: YouTube Lessons
# Posted on March 11th 2007 by RyanDunsSJ

Discussion: Can someone lecture on the evolution of whistle playing?
# Posted on May 29th 2007 by Bob himself

Discussion: HELP!!! ~ learning the whistle (& muting it)
# Posted on October 6th 2007 by Greg M

Discussion: Lowering down the volume (for neighbors’ sake)
# Posted on January 22nd 2008 by Anal

Discussion: Playing a roll on D …
# Posted on January 25th 2008 by iloveyouliam

Discussion: Whistle question - The Mason’s Apron
# Posted on February 18th 2008 by jamascc

Not just another review ~

Discussion: Tin Whistle A nd B rolls
# Posted on July 25th 2012 by hughjmasterson

Discussion: Chaniging Octaves Cleanly ~ whistle
# Posted on August 6th 2012 by hughjmasterson

Discussion: Help on Enunciating clean Whistle Notes
# Posted on August 17th 2012 by hughjmasterson

V. ) ~ MUSIC in discussion & contemplation

Comments: Tune: Danish Contra
Under the influence ~
# Posted on February 19th - 20th 2011 by ceolachan

Discussion: 5-Part Jigs ~ (& if you want to go higher, that’s OK too) 😀
# Posted on June 26th 2010 by ceolachan

Discussion: 5-Part Single Reels ~ not 2, 3, 4 or 6 ~ 5!
# Posted on June 25th 2010 by ceolachan

Discussion: By Heart
# Posted on January 31st 2010 by ceolachan

Discussion: What One Octave Tunes in D exist?
# Posted on September 19th 2007 by Sarah the Flute

The Phrost is All Over - - - 4 bar second endings…
# Posted on February 3rd 2005 by ceolachan

DISCUSSIONS ~ Sadly, not always the case… 😉

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly - Objective Measures of Tradition?!
# Posted on March 7th 2010 by ceolachan

When my mind is attentive but the feet don’t move
# Posted on July 31st 2008 by ceolachan

The Invention of Tradition
# Posted on February 28th 2008 by ceolachan

Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~
# Posted on July 23rd 2007 by ceolachan

Am I the only one who doesn’t like all the Additives and all the other trendy E’s?
Re: Am I the only one who doesn’t like Lúnasa and all the other trendy trad types?
# Posted on August 4th 2006 by frisbee

Are we losing the tradition to academics and commercialism?
# Posted on June 12th 2006 by Bernie

“Neppendorfer Laendler” ~ comment
Key signature: G Major
Submitted on June 12th 2006 by ceolachan.



An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals Ca. 1490-1920
The Library of Congress

Dance Manuals on CD, 1490 - 1920

Library of Congress

American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library

American Sheet Music


DANCE ~ TANZ ~ RINCE ~ links to DANCE DESCRIPTIONS in the ‘comments’:

discussion: Ceili(dh) Dances
dance: “Rince Mhor Mixer”, a circle mixer

tune: The Gates of Derry = The Quaker’s Wife
dance: The Gates of Derry

tune: Nos Galan
dance: Dawns Calan / New Year’s Eve Dance ~ a Welsh Twmpath Dawns

tune: Glanbargoed
dances: 2 x Twmpath Dances - Drioedd / Dances for Threes (Triads)
1.) “Benthyg Dwy” / “Borrowing Two” & 2.) “Seren Tair Llaw” / “The Three Hand Star”

tune: The Westphalia Waltz
dance: The Waltz of the Bells - - - including a mini rave of mine on ‘giving weight’

tune: The McCusker Brothers’
dance: a couple of ‘Germans’ - - - including - - - VIDEO DANCE LINKS & NOTES

tune: The Cherry Blossom Polka
dance: The Kickin’ Polka / Polkie

tune: Petronella
dance: Petronella / Cirtonella

tune: Bjorn’s Polka
dance: Scanidinavian / Norwegian / Paris / Seattle Polka

tune: Lucy Farr’s
dance: The 7-Step

tune: The Sliabh League Schottische
dance: a Schottische/Barndance

tune: Paddy McGinty’s Barndance
dance: a couple of barndances/highlands

tune: Corn Reeks / Corn Rigs
dance: The Corn Rigs

tune: Down the Glen
dance: a Schottische

tune: Peach Blossoms - barndance
dance: Barndance - short/long

tune: Hayes’ Barndance
dance: The Canadian Barndance/Barn Dance

tune: Paddy Joe’s Highland

tune: The Bluebird’s Schottische

tune: The Marine ~ single jig
dance: The Marine

tune: The Peeler and the Goat ~ single jig
dance: The Peeler and the Goat

tunes: The Old Crossroads March; The Centenary March; The Halting/Pikeman’s March
dance: The Heel & Toe / The Military Two-Step

tune: Major Molle ~ a little history in the ‘Comments’

THE RANT!!! ( something I might be accused of )
tune: “Jimmy Allen” ~ in the comments

Money Musk

Discussion: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly - Objective Measures of Tradition?!
Dance: The Millennium Barndance


- - - THE MAZURKA / Mazourka / Mazoulka / Masolka / Mazur -
VARSOVIENNE / Varsovien / Varsouvienne / Varsoviana / Varsovianna = Shoot the Donkey!

tune: Versevanna / Varsovienne
dance: Varsovienne - Shoe the Donkey

tune: Jackie Donnan’s Mazurka or Varsovienne
dance: Mazurka-Waltz

Discussion: Re: good mazurkas

Approaches to notation:

“Dick’s Quadrille Call-Book, and Ball-room Prompter” - 1878
Polka-Redowa - NN | NN N2 NN | N>N N2 N2 |
Redowa - | NN N2 N2 |
Varsovienne - | N>N N2 N2 |
Mazurka - | N>N N2 N2 | N>N N>N N>N |

More links with relevant ‘comments’, including variations,
not all mazurkas or names on site are listed:

Garrett Barry’s/The Hag With The Fiddle/The Old Donegal/Sonny Brogan’s

Tommy People’s

The Donegal/James Byrne’s/Johnny Doherty’s - M or V

The Glenties/Vincent Campbell’s/Francie Mooney’s/Phroinsias’

The Barnacle Redowa

Versevanna/Varsovienne/Shoe the Donkey

Johnny Doherty’s

The Kilcar - V or M

Hugh Gillespie’s - V or M

Rachel on the Rock/Varsovienne

Varsovienne - or M

Varsovienne - or M

The Preston City Mazurka

Mick Hoy’s Recipe for Boiled Cabbage - 3-part

McCuskers’ M or V

Barring Controversy

IX.) ~ DANCE in discussion

RELATED ISSUES (if I’ve missed any you’d recommend let me know):
What is a barndance, mazurka, strathspey, etc ?
Posted by monkeyos ~ January 25th 2006

Social Dance
Posted on Friday, September 3rd 2004 by Paul Brennan

Barndances, Germans, Hornpipes, Highlands, Flings, Highland Flings, Schottisches, etc.
Posted on Thursday, July 29th 2004 by Dow

Barn Dance on BBC2Folk
Posted on Thursday, November 13th 2003 by Janek

Wot’s a barndance?
Posted on Friday, September 28th 2003 by Dow

Bauern Dance
Posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2003 by paul95

Flings-what are they????
Posted on Sunday, December 8th 2002 by fiddlefeet

# Posted on July 8th 2006 by Dow

What is a “Schottische”?
# Posted on March 6th 2008 by buyseps

sliabh luchra polkas / Sliabh Luachra Polkas
# Posted on September 2nd 2008 by dickens metrognome


SCOTTISH DANCE - some traditions shared with the Irish:

NOTE: Despite some re-creations recently circulating and being promoted in Ireland, including visuals, the couple dances as danced in Ireland were not so pompous and pretentious as found in ‘The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society’ / ‘R.S.C.D.S.’ Balls, nor is it ‘ballroom dancing’ as TV knows it. Better craic was had all around in Ireland, at least in its past! It just isn’t generally in the Irish nature to prance around so, with affected airs, though you can always find exceptions. Nor is it the usual in the countryside traditions of Eire or Alba/Scotland, that is ~ pre that overwhelming and domineering dogma of Miss Jean C. Milligan and her phalanx / cadre / cohorts / cronies / fogies. The ‘Royal’ in their regimental identity is a clear giveaway to these pretensions… You can still find some great Scottish ceilidhs that have managed to keep the kick and stave off the starchy influences of the ‘R.S.C.D.S.’, more especially in the islands, sans the kit, Prince Andrew’s kilt and the ball dresses… But, it is attitude not costume that is the main spoiler.

(Recommended view: an Australian comic gem - “Strictly Ballroom”, written and directed by Baz Luhrmann.)
From ‘Grand Chain: The Edinburgh Scottish Dance Resource’

‘Ceilidh Dance Instructions’

- The Canadian or Highland Barn Dance
- The Gay Gordons
- The Highland Schottische
- The Military Two-Step
- The Pride of Erin Waltz
- The St. Bernard’s Waltz
James Scott Skinner ~ etc… The University of Aberdeen

The Schottische/Scottish in Scotland ~
A fracas between two know-it-alls:

“The steps ~ are as contrived as Skinner’s stage garb.” - Weejie

“The Orange And Blue” / “Brochan Lom”
Submitted on October 26th 2003 by Kenny.

& this tune elsewhere - as a reel and otherwise:

“Allt-y-Caethiwed” / “The Orange And Blue” / “Brochan Lom”
Submitted on December 22nd 2002 by Trevor Jennings.

“Kitty Jones’ Reel” / “The Orange And Blue” / “Brochan Lom”
Submitted on February 13th 2004 by slainte.

Another Scottish Schottische, by James Scott Skinner:

“The Balmoral Schottische”
Submitted on February 6th 2012 by ceolachan.

AUSTRALIAN DANCE - more correlations:

‘Queensland Colonial and Heritage Dancers’

‘Australia’s Social Dance History’ - page 1

1815 - Waltz
1825 - First Set (French - also known as ‘The Plain Set’ and ‘The Quadrilles’, the first ‘set of figures’ in a booklet of seven, sometimes refered to as ‘The Paris Sets’)
1830 - Waltz Cotillon
1844 - The German Polka/German/Plain Schottische
1850 - The Varsovienne
1854 - Highland Fling Schottische
1855 - Highland Schottische
1860s - Barn Dance / Pop Goes the Weasel
1875 - The Mazurka
1888 - Military Schottische
1890 - Schottische/The Two Step
1900 - Valeta/Valeta Waltz/Pride of Erin
1902 - Boston 2-Step
1904 - Military Two-Step/St Bernard’s Waltz
1909 - Latchford Schottische
1914 - Fox Trot
1915 - Four Sisters Barn Dance
1919 - Bradford Barn Dance (Progressive)/Canadian Barn Dance
1924 - Pride of Erin (Scottish)

An excerpt ~

“One thing we found particularly interesting in listening to the older players in the collection was the emphasis on the tunes as dance music. With tunes as we know them these days tending to have a much more rarefied life of their own, it was quickly apparent to us that for the older players the tunes were intimately tied with their function as music for dancing. Repertoires were consequently shaped to a large extent by the demands of the dancers, who evidently insisted on great variety! The old dance players had to have a wide array tunes from jigs and reels to mazurkas, varsoviennas and schottisches. This impetus is still apparent in the tunes and styles of playing which are today thought of as constituting Australian traditional music, with close linkages maintained between music and dance.”

Adrian Barker (fiddle) and Ben Stephenson (flute), March 2006.



XI. ) ~ QUOTE: Roche: Note On Irish Dancing
“The Roche Collection of Traditional Irish Music, Volume III”, 1927


A few remarks on certain aspects of Irish Dancing, as they affect our National Music, may form a suitable introduction to a Collection in which our dance tunes are such a prominent feature.

Up to the beginning of the present century, or for some time thereafter, the traditional style of dancing the Jig, Reel, Hornpipe and many social figure dances—four and eight-hand jigs and reels, etc.—was in vogue amongst a considerable number of our people, and was still taught by a few of the old masters of the art, but as these retired or passed away a notable and regrettable change set in; the old style began to wane until, as time wore on, it became submerged in what has been called “revival dancing,” with injurious effects on our dance music.

This deterioration did not materially affect the double Jig tunes as these continued to be extensively played, the dance itself having been kept up with vigour, but the style peculiar to this, and the hornpipe for females no longer survived, and it was not unusual to find numbers of both sexes competing in the same items, and dancing the same kind of steps at Feiseanna and Aeridheachta.

It was unfortunate that in the general scheme to recreate an Irish Ireland the work of preserving or reviving our old national dances should have largely fallen to the lot of those who were but poorly equipped for the task. For the most part they were lacking in insight, and a due appreciation of the pure old style, and had, as it appears, but a slender knowledge of the old repertoire.

For instance, the Single and Hop Jigs, the Fling —Irish version—the fine solid Double Reel for men, and the sprightly Single Hornpipe for females, as well as many of our Set Dances must, if known to them, have been regarded as possessing neither Artistic, Social nor National value, as they all either languished or died out during the period of their activities, the result being that some of the best and most characteristic of our dance tunes were never heard at all.

The musicians were, apparently, as slack in tunes as most of the others proved to have been in dances. Despite the great extent and variety of our dance music a few only of the more commonplace single reels and double hornpipes were to be heard during the years under discussion. The Double Reel and Single Hornpipe were never touched, but those few were specialised in ; they were served out on all occasions with unfailing regularity, and an assurance not always commendable, until, through constant and excessive hacking, they had become a downright infliction. But the musicians were not entirely to blame, for the dancers, having in most cases been taught certain dances to one particular tune only, could keep time to no other—the single and figure reels danced invariably to the tune of Miss McLeod is an example.

The spectacular and difficult dances for the few were cultivated to the neglect of the simple ones for the many, leaving the social side untouched, except to criticise, or condemn. The ballroom dances in vogue at the time were the Quadrilles, or Sets, Lancers, Valse, Polka, Schottische or Barn Dance, Two Step, and Mazurka. These were all banned and nothing put in their place but a couple of long dances.

An exception should have been made, one would imagine, in favour of the popular old Sets (that had become Irishised), if only on account of the fine old tunes with which they were usually associated; but they were decried amongst the rest.

It seems strange that such a policy should have been decided upon and pursued considering that no substitutes were provided beyond those mentioned, A few years later, however, the Bridge of Athlone, Siege of Ennis, and an incomplete form of Haste to the Wedding were introduced, but, as might have been expected, these simple contre dances proved inadequate as substitutes for all those that had been prohibited. The showy and intricate four and eight-hand jigs and reels of the Revival, although interesting to the spectator, were generally looked on as designed only for competition or display on account of their difficulty, and, consequently, had no appeal as social dances. A praiseworthy effort was made some years ago by Bean Sheain O Cuirrin of Limerick in arranging a new dance for couples on Irish lines suitable for the ballroom, but it has not, so far, appeared beyond a rather limited circle. It is to be regretted that this, and others of a similar nature had not been provided earlier, and popularised, as they would have removed the anomaly complained of as well as helping as a protection against those corrupt foreign influences that have been creeping in, and spreading so widely amongst us, for the past decade, or more.

B’fheidir na taithneoch gach a bfhuil scriobhte again thuas le cach, ach ni mor an fhirinne a radh ma’s mian linn an sceal do leigheas.

The object of this “Note” is not to apportion blame or affix censure, but to suggest that a united effort should now be made to remedy as far as possible the mistakes and errors of the past.

The Double Jig appears to have been regarded by those not conversant with Irish dancing as the most admired and favoured of our national dances because of the much larger number of tunes in that classification, and of hearing them oftener apart from dancing than the others. The disparity in this respect between the jigs and the hornpipes, for example, indicates no preference whatever for this dance beyond the reel or the hornpipe by dancers, but it probably denotes a greater liking for its simpler rhythm by the average player, or the unskilled musician. This disproportion may be explained by stating that our old music abounded in airs and tunes of the jig type, and that very many of them have been utilised for the dance, or adapted to it, and classified as double jigs, while in the hornpipe, the tunes are for the greater part original. At present the Double is danced only as about consisting of elaborate and difficult steps, but, formerly, it also included a range of easy steps called the “Moinin Jig” which was in much request on social occasions.

The Reel, in the old style, had two distinct sets or ranges of steps—single and double. The former, being simple, were danced to lively tunes in single or two-four time, while for the latter, which are of a difficult hornpipe character, the slower old double reel tunes in ¢ (= 2/2, cut time) time were employed. The steps, as a whole, ranged from very easy to very difficult. As a social dance with partners it was a general favourite, for many of the steps were so easy that young and old could participate. The double steps towards the end (if used) were danced by the girls with a becoming grace, and free from any appearance of vulgarity. When danced as a bout it comprised a selection from both ranges of steps. These formed a splendid item—varied, robust, and enthusing; the music contributing in no small degree thereto, for two tunes contrasting in style were required for its performance. The change from one to the other was made on a signal from the dancers—usually a promenade in the bout, and hands across in the other case. In comparing the merits of this truly national and fine dance with the feeble, flurried, forced, and generally inferior style of that which has been put in its place the conclusion to be drawn is obvious.

The Single, or Ladies’ Hornpipe, to which reference has already been made, was a special set of steps for the fair sex. They ranged from very easy to moderately difficult, and were in many respects not unlike the more advanced steps of the single reel, excluding their peculiar hornpipe finish. In style it was, appropriately, light, easy and graceful, and was danced to the lively simple tunes in two-four time. The Male, or Double Hornpipe, with which we are all familiar, is composed of difficult trebling steps, and necessitates the employment of the slower and more complex tunes in ¢ (= 2/2, cut time) for performance.

All noisy masculine movements of the drumming and grinding description were rigidly excluded from female dancing by the old masters, and both the shuffle and light batter used instead. The teachers of the old school were strict regarding style and neatness of execution, and were of courteous manner. They were carefully and thoroughly trained for their calling, and taught the art to their sons, so that the traditional style became a heritage which it was their privilege to preserve and to impart to others—a duty which they performed with the utmost fidelity. Alas, that this fine old type should have passed away, and that we should be compelled to witness so much that is spurious and vulgar, and altogether at variance with our great traditions.

The Single and Hop Jigs, although danced as bouts, are mainly social dances. They are of a simple, sprightly and graceful character and include steps and figures; for example, the slip and side-steps for changing places, hands across and hands four round alternatively.

Regarding our national dances in general, it may be observed that the Slip or Hop Jig is the oldest as well as the most characteristic of them. Other nations also have their gigas, reels, and hornpipes, but none of them a dance in any respect like this. We can, therefore, claim it as being exclusively our own.

The Fling has been danced in Ireland for generations and is the only dance in which gestures are used. The steps are varied and interesting, some of the movements resembling those of the Single Jig.

Set Dances are special solo dances or “bouts” resembling the jig, reel and hornpipe in character, but, owing to their irregular structure in comparison with them, are more difficult, and demand a more finished technique from the performer. They have always appealed, accordingly, to accomplished dancers as a medium giving full scope for a display of skill and dexterity. We have about twenty of these fine dances, and in such a variety of style and rhythm as to embrace all our step dances, but, with the exception of the “Blackbird,” and one or two others, they have been sadly neglected all these years during which we have been surfeited with “Miss McLeod” and her progeny. Apart from those in one movement only, their chief peculiarity lies in the irregularity of form or development of the second move¬ment which constitutes the “Set.” This varies from four to twelve bars in length and generally modulates into the first movement, or a strain thereof, with which it is brought to a close. Competitions were usually decided in former times, particularly between rival teachers, according to the degree of proficiency displaced by the competitors---often on a soaped table—in all these dances.

Rinnci Fada are simple social dances in which any number of couples may take part. There are about ten of these Long or Contre Dances, five of which call for no special reference, or comment, as they are regularly danced at Ceilidhthe, and sometimes at other reunions also. Details regarding An Rinnce Mor, and the Fairy Reel would be of little use here, for they are more elaborate than the others, and an adequate knowledge of them can only be acquired where they are taught, or practiced. The Cotillion was formerly well known in the south, but it is now, apparently, quite forgotten; the tune is inserted in this volume not so much in the expectation of its revival as in the hope that a new dance may be supplied to replace it. The “Limerick Lasses” is a quiet easy dance in quadrille, or reel time. The dancers stand in two lines opposite their partners—gents with left shoulders to top. First couple join hands and lead down the middle, and return (8 bars); change sides, balence, or set to 2nd lady and gent respectively and turn (8 bars); face partners, set and turn (8 bars); lead down, and return as before; change sides, and dance with 3rd lady and gent. When the 3rd couple has been danced with, the 2nd joins in after the 1st and so on until all are engaged. When the leading couples reach the end, having danced with all in succession, they fall back to their respective sides, remain in line and keep moving gradually up until reaching their original position. To finish, advance, retire and turn partners. Should a very large number be engaged, and the dance considered too long, it may be brought to a close whenever desired, or by the dancers falling out as they reach the end until only two couples remain, who may wind up by dancing some reel steps. “Haste to the Wedding” is a lively dance in jig time. The dancers range themselves in two lines as in the “Limerick Lasses.” First couple step forward to about a pace from each other before commencing. Change places, balence twice (heel, toe and grind for gents), and turn partner (8 bars) ; lead down and return (8 bars); hands three around with 2nd lady, gallopade by left (4 bars), form an arch allowing her to pass through during accented notes, and change hands (4 bars); repeat figure with 2nd gent, and resume starting position (8 bars); next time hands round with 3rd couple, after which 2nd couple join in, and so on to the end. This dance may be concluded in a similar manner to the previous one, the steps, of course, in this case being of the jig variety. Sir Roger, though not of Irish origin, has, like the Fling, been danced here for generations. It is a simple lively dance in 9/8 or slip time, and is uncommon on that account. A description of it may be found in a Ballroom Guide.

Hop Jig tunes lend themselves admirably to contre dances like Sir Roger, as the Double Jig tunes do to the “Kerry Dance,” “Haste to the Wedding,” etc., while the Single Time has always been a great favourite for some figures of the old sets.

The habit of dancing too fast and accelerating the speed, so prevalent of late years, should be checked and discouraged; it tends to spoil the effect of both dance and tune and is at variance with the traditional style in which the pace was moderate and steady. This undesirable practice is particularly noticeable in the Single Reel, which is usually danced nowadays ar nós an sidhe gaoithe.

Children’s deportment should be attended to during the course of their training so that they may not dance with their toes turned in, or with shoulders stooped or contracted.

Irish Dancing is cultural, graceful and diversified, it is also manly and athletic, and, as stated on high authority, “it does not make degenerates.” The difficulty of step dancing has often been made to serve as an excuse for the apathy and indifference of many towards Irish Dancing altogether, but we have a number of interesting figure and other dances, some so simple that all may take part in them.

Pernicious and degrading foreign influences must be combated and suppressed if our dancing and music are to be restored to their rightful place in the social life of our people.

Proinsias de Roiste / Frank Roche ~ Nodlag / December , 1927

XII. ) ~ QUOTE: Reg Hall

Somewhere I have the Reg Hall quote (a book of his exploits and observations is long over due), though I still haven’t found it, and we also own the Roche collection, but this is where I was reminded of the two following quotes and lifted them via cut-and-paste:

Reg Hall: "’The Gaelic League’s proscription of what it believed was foreign material resulted in a section of the rural repertory rarely being represented in radio programmes, and certainly not being tolerated at Gaelic-revival events, while the League’s approval of what it believed was genuinely Irish boosted that section of the repertory. Thus, in music competitions at feiseanna, for example, the reel, jig and hornpipe were given equal status and playing time, while tunes for the barndance, schottische and waltz were disallowed, which was a distortion of the values then current among rural musicians themselves.

The presentation of instrumental music on the feis competition stage and on the radio took it one step away from its primary rural function as dance music towards programme music. ~

(at this point Reg Hall, lacking that understanding, dishes the ‘march’ as being introduced by the ‘League’ for ceili band competitions and he wrongly states that it was not a regular part of the repertoire in the countryside, when it was, along with the schottische and other ‘dance’ music.)

The Gaelic League’s influence made some rural music-makers self-conscious about their inherited repertory and made them devalue parts of it in their own esteem. Apart from contributing to a reshaping of repertory, the League, in promoting slow airs and marches (!), introduced a nationalist dimension to music-making. Under this influence some rural musicians in Ireland began to think of their music as Irish rather than simply as their own music.’


Thanks to all those hearts out there that have helped me face some difficult times, and with some humour. Thanks to Jeremy for all the hard work to create and maintain this site, and thanks to TheSesh for bringing us all together from different places and inclinations and allowing us to interact and share, thanks for the opportunities and introductions and for having a place for my ‘ways’, however off kilter of norm…


If anyone thinks I might be able to help them with anything, whether direct or with reference to someone or somewhere else, you know I’ll do my damnedest for you if I can. You can always email me via this site. It will be welcome, as long as it isn’t antagonistic or with vitriol, not that I might sometimes deserve that…


As emotions brought me here, probably too often they have also had times where they ruled over what reason and senses I have. I feel a debt to my sources and to this site, and now looking at my history here, I suspect I’ve paid some small amount of that back. If I consider added debt from my occasional rambles and rants or treading on the feet or ego of others, the debt mounts. I’m here because of situations that have insured my favourite dance partner and best friend is still present and I can hold her in my arms and we can dance, in the kitchen, to the bath, on walks in the countryside, anytime the whim gets us. My dear wife gets angry about things like attacks on my character, for which there have been only a few, but mostly my experiences here and memories are of grand and generous people, characters who have kindly shared their time, experiences and humour with us all, which includes music, dance, idiosyncrasies and concerns. I have those blessings like water wings keeping me afloat. That I irritate folks here occasionally doesn’t surprise me, I get irritated with myself. Some might value my presence, some might be fed up with it. I’m not here to win friends, but that’s lovely when it happens, I’m here because I love and care passionately about this music…

For anyone that might feel under risk of being misguided by me, here are a few recommended reads to fill out your understandings and widen your perspectives on it all. Again, apologies for when my passion gets the better of me and I sound less than open and welcoming, and when I slip into making statements as if I were the font of all wisdom. If there is any that gets through, it isn’t mine, it would have been my attempt to pass on what was given to me, not to possess, and apologies if I ever stood in the way and misrepresented it… Here’s a short few of the reads I recommend… ~

“The Northern Fiddler” Allen Feldman & Eamonn O’Doherty
“The Story of Irish Dance” Helen Brennan
“Set Dances of Ireland: Tradition & Evolution” Larry Lynch
“The Stone Fiddle” & “Where Songs do Thunder” Paddy Tunney
“Between the Jigs and the Reels: The Donegal Fiddle Tradition” by Caoimhín MacAoidh
“Blooming Meadows: The World of Irish Traditional Musicians” Fintan Vallely & Charles Piggott
“Stone Mad for Music: The Sliabh Luachra Story” Donal Hickey
“The Companion to Irish Traditional Music” Fintan Vallely
“See You at the Hall: Boston’s Golden Era of Irish Music and Dance” Susan Gedutis

Breandán Breathnach’s works, some of which I have yet to set eyes on *:
“Folk Music and Dances of Ireland”
“Dancing in Ireland”
“The man & his music: An anthology of the writings of Breandan Breathnach” *
“The Use of Notation in the Transmission of Irish Folk Music” *

Captain Francis O’Neill’s works:
“Irish Folk Music: A Fascinating Hobby”, 1910
“Irish Minstrels and Musicians: Story of Traditional Irish Music, Its Collectors and Performers ”, 1913

etc., etc., etc…

The list could be endless, and nothing is complete, as the bearers I would rather have you know are no longer with us except their music, and that would seem an endless list. As with all things, even this tradition, EARS FIRST! It is too easy to misread the written or to let our biases colour the tone of what we read or write… Listen and listen well, within the playing of that musician or musicians is a whole lifetime, good and bad, and there’s humour usually to be found, and if you relax and open up to it you’ll find a smile and a nod of welcome. Step in, set yourself at ease, join in the craic…

RECIPES ~ remind me of any I’ve missed…

# Posted on June 4th 2009 by Carabus
Guinness cake

# Posted on May 23rd 2007 by ceolachan
Callie / Cally / Champ / Pandy / Poundies / Stampy ~

Submitted on May 2nd 2007 by ceolachan.
Dublin Coddle

Posted by ceolachan - December 21st, 2005
Stuffin’ Muffins ~ a recipe for the holidays

~ ~ ~ on the most part, some ‘adaptations’, the most recent first:

jig: Mocha

tango?: The Covid-19 Tangle

mazurka: Julia Lengel’s

hornpipe: Eira Cyntaf Mabon Iago

jig: An Lá Nua / À Bientôt Peadar / The New Day

waltz: Auntie Em’s Vals

hornpipe: A Hornpipe for Eileen

jig: All In Good Company

highland fling: nth

mazurka/varovienne/pols: Chwerthin Mabon

5/8: A Hole in the Head (Trump’s Toup)

march: A Dissolution March for Island/Little Britain

reel: The Great Barrier (Reef)

jig: “X”

hornpipe: “Matt Cunningham’s Visit to Preston”

polka/barndance: “Ta Skelp Auld Hornie Awa’”

jig: “Pwdin Du A Bara Lawr Wedi Frio”/“Fried Black Pudding & Laverbread”

reel: “Annwyl Ioan” / “Dear John” / “Dear Jon”

jig: “A Jig For Christmas”

march: “Christmas” / / “A Christmas March” / “A March For Christmas”

jig: “Jacob’s Join”

waltz: “A Memory Of Friends Past”

jig: “A Memory Of Friends Past”

hornpipe: “The Pickled Toe”

march: “Hm?”

varsovienne: “A Cuppa Java”

march: “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone” / “The March of the Bungalows”

jig: “Yr Ail O Ddau I Lawenydd” / “Two For Joy #2”

jig: “Yr Gyntaf O Ddau I Lawenydd” / “Two For Joy #1”

3/2: “Cod Cheeks & Tongues”

jig: Mustard Seeds / Mustardia

slide/quickstep: The Savages Of Roscommon

slide: A Jig for Jack

Lament: A Lament For A Friend (Bill Martin, etc.)

jig: The Dunning-Kruger Effect

polka: Bill of Rights / Poke-A-Billy / Polka-Billy

slide: “Marshmallows” - inspired by “The Rakes of Mallow”

jig: “The (Bubba Martin’s) Ceilidh / Ceili House Jig”

reel: Big John Campbell

hornpipe (straight or swung): Billy on the High Ground

jig: The Martin House

hornpipe: The Statistician

barndance / reel: The Bare Assed

mazurka: 2D or not 2D

highland fling: Just Another Fling / Catherine’s Fling ~ D Major & D minor in comments

schottische: The Amaryllis Schottische

jig: Emily’s Gigue

reel: The Yuletide Log

jig: A Jig For Sarah

hornpipe: Michael Joseph Dunne

barndance/hornpipe: The Gimboling Gyre

mazurka: Nikita’s Hackbrett

waltz: Hats off to Hatao / The Ferris Wheel Waltz

waltz: A Chara / Bubba Martin’s Waltz

hornpipe: Cliff’s Edge

jig: The Ooh Arr Of Ee Arr / Y Llaw o Llig

march: A March For Giving Thanks

polka: A Dram at the Wake and then We Dance

jig: Obamas In The White House

reel: Gypsy Meghan ~ a twist on “Small Coals and Little Money” (“Sleepy Maggie”)
I was spurred on by others… 😉

jig: Ye Buddin’ Bodhranistas

slide: Holoholo

gypsy curse, 24/8 😉 ~ Yr Hen Gythraul

barndance: Dancin’ With My Sweetie

mazurka: The Broderick Brothers’ Bike

reel: The Horologist’s Reel

hornpipe: Bubba Martin’s Old Time Kick About

slip jig: The Mermaid’s Bridal March
inspiration ~ “The Papa Stour Bridal March”

jig: By Way Of The Dow

waltz: Bouchard’s Waltz Quadrille
adapted from the 6/8 melody, ‘Bouchard’s Quadrille’ ~

single jig: A Quantum Singularity

single jig: Follies Sean Nos

hornpipe: The Lurgy

mazurka: The Flowers Of Alston
~ extracted from “The Alston Hornpipe”

slip jig: The Grumpy Old Fart / The Gillard Family Slip

jig: Sauerkraut, Wurst Und Kartoffelbrei

single reel: Three Knocks To The Noggin

march/mazurka: The Baiji March

jig: The Accidental Tourist

two-step / jig: Many Happy Returns

barndance / schottische: Adam Rennie / Adam Rennie’s

varsovienne: “Dublin Coddle”

hornpipe: “The Dhow ”
For Dow/Mark’s 30th birthday

jig (waltz): “O For I For”
This came easily, as they seem to, but I have some suspicion of a ‘prehistory’ rather than just the usual divine inspiration? 😉

jig: Glasgow’s Passion For Fashion
~ for Dick Glasgow of Antrim way

reel: The Fiddler’s Settle / Fiddlers Settle / Fiddlers’ Settle
Inspiration courtesy of Maryland Highlander’s tune “The Fiddler’s Chair”

jig: The Curlews
~ Josephine Keegan’s reel as a jig

jig: Roast Gander And Tatties
~ messing around with “Gander in the Pratie Hole”

hornpipe: Corsydd Lleidiog Crawcwellt / The Mucky Bogs Of Crawcwellt

slip jig: Mark In The Dark

jig: A Jig For Jay Witcher

jig: an ‘arrangement’ ~ I Saw Three Ships

hornpipe: Zina Warrior Princess

RIP-OFF: from another’s efforts: Ricky’s Hornpipe by Jakob Robinson
march: Richard Robinson’s March

mazurkas: Hwylie / Hwylie Un A Ddau (x 2)

slip Jig with a bit of a shlide: The Jig in the Hopper

slide: The Lads In The Loo

highland fling: Dick Glasgow’s Toup ~ an evolution with Ptarmigan

slide / single jig: The Ptarmigan Flushed ~ an evolution with Dow & Ptarmigan

jig: How Can I Keep My Maidenhead - inspired by the historic songs and melodies

slide: Shlide Aside ~ extraction from another tune

highland fling: The Anderson Family Fling

slide: Maggie In The Woods ~ not really a comp, the result of a faulty memory? ~ polka into slide?

7/8: Skolios

polka: The Cherry Blossom Polka

reel: Sláinte Ag An Doras
Highland Fling: Hiro’s Highland Fling

slide: Rosebud

7/8 (& 5/8 in the ‘Comments’) : Myxamatosis
Inspited from something Dow / Mark was experimenting with

slide: Damned if I Know

hornpipe - adapted from the reel: The Hornpipe on the Turnpike / The Turnpike

jig: Wakin’ Nancy (& dance)

mazurka: Steak & Ale

mazurka: Joanie’s

schottische: I Schottische Lan Yr Wyddfa
? ~ this just feels too damned familiar, but it is an old friend revisited…

schottische: Le Schottische Pistou

jig: Blueberry Rhubarb

7/8: The Whiz ~ for Jeremy

waltz adapted from the jig:
Hommage à Elmer Briand / The Cheticamp Waltz
All I’ve really done is sing Elmer’s tune “The Cheticamp Jig” into waltz time. It just happened…

jig: A Pride of Ignorance

jig: James and the Giant Peach / Peach Schnapps

slangpols: Dancin’ Nancy

mazurka: La Citernalia

Polka: Nathan’s Study

Jig: Taoing the Mark / Mark on the Box

jig, 3-part: Keeping Mary Up Late

Breton four finger study/dance: Peder Bis

mazurka: The Rain in Slane

hornpipe: The Portland Hornpipe / The Five Portlands

reel, single: The Feakle Fiddle

waltz: The Otters Waltz

barndance: Dancin’ at the Gate

barndance: Jack Gilder’s Beard

mazurka: Barring Controversy

hornpipe - for Jimmy Troy: The Tyred Fiddle

hornpipe: Madra Mor Madra Beag

barndance/schottische: The Sliabh League Schottische

jig: Paul Cranford’s Map of Cape Breton

mazurka: Mick Hoy’s Recipe for Boiled Cabbage

polka: Bernie Oldrid’s Boots