The Snowy Path slip jig

By Mark Kelly

There are 18 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

The Snowy Path appears in 2 other tune collections.

The Snowy Path has been added to 99 tune sets.

The Snowy Path has been added to 790 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: The Snowy Path
R: slip jig
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|"D"F2A B2F A2F|"G"G2B d2e dBA|"D"F2A B2F A2F|"Em"E2D E2F GFE|
"D"F2A B2F A2F|"G"G2B d2e dBA|"D"F2A B2F A2F|"Em"E2D E2F GAB||
"A"c3 c2e d2c|"G"B2G B2c d2e|"Bm"f3 f2e d2B|"D"A2G F2G A2B|
"A"c3 c2e d2c|"G"B2G B2c d2e|"D"d2A B2F A2F|"Em"E2D E2F GFE||
X: 2
T: The Snowy Path
R: slip jig
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
"D"F2A "Bm"B2F "D"A2F|"Em"G2B "Bm"d2e "G"dBG|"D"F2A"Bm"B2F "D"A2F|
[1 "Em"E2D "Em"E2F "Em"GFE:|2 "Em"E2D "Em"E2F "Em"GAB||
|:"F#m"c3 "A"c2e "Bm"d2c|"Em"B2G "Bm"B2c "Bm"d2e|
[1 "Bm"f3 "Bm"f2e "Bm"d2B|"Am"=c3 "Am"c3 "Am"cBA:|2 "D"d2A "Bm"B2F "D"A2F|"Em"E2D "Em"E2F "Em"GFE||

Twenty-one comments

This lovely slip jig was composed by Mark Kelly of Altan and appears on their classic “Harvest Storm” album.

I’ve included some very basic guiter chords here which can be used as a starting point for coming up with a nice accompaniment.

When I play this tune, I add hardly any ornamentation. I simply play it nice and clear and not too fast.

Great tune

Glad to see someone else likes this tune as much as I do!

Incidentally it goes well with another tune which Altan play - The Road To Durham - which is played on its own (i.e. not as part of a set). I like to play “Durham”, slow and steady, and then lock into The Snowy Path.

Minor key

These chords are exact or close to exact as to how Altan plays this lovely piece. It takes on a haunting sound to substitute Bmin for the Dmaj at the beginning (and related changes thereafter).

Great Tune

My dance teacher first introduced me to this tune when she choreographed a lovely dance to it, and have been playing it ever since.

Snowy Path

I learned this tune at Maine Fiddle camp. When I tried to play along with Atlan’s recording on Harvest Storm, it sounded awful! Turns out they play it flat: A is about 427 hz.

Posted by .

The Snowy Path (slip jig)

Here´s another one who loves this tune a lot, especially it´s smooth groove. I enjoy using F#minor instead of Amajor in bar 9.

I just got Altan’s Harvest Storm cd, and I just fell in love in love with this tune. Thanks for submitting it! 🙂


they do play it flat! for once it’s not me!

Posted by .

I believe the last quaver in bar 2 is erroneously shown in the sheet music as an A when it should be a G. The error is repeated in bar 6.

Chord sub

It really does change the feel of the song with the D-Bm sub. It’s quite nice.

Lovely tune and goes quite nicely into that old standard, The Butterfly I think.

BTW is this tune D major? That opening C# in the second part always sounds flat in the context of this tune - why is that? What note does it resolve to - a B?

Posted .

Sounds like a Hop Jig to me (like The Butterfly, BTW)

The Snowy Path-music help!

In Altan’s “Harvest Storm” they play a beautiful rendition of The Snowy Path. I was wondering if anyone has or could write out for me the fiddle part at the beginning, before the tune actually starts. I think it is mostly on the D and maybe some on the G string, but I would greatly appreciate the help! Oh, and if not sheet music, can you tell me the length of each note (quarter note, eighth note, etc.)


Posted by .

Dead s l o w . . . .

this is a magic tune. i play it on the fiddle at around 35 BPM and i swear i can hear the faerie orchestra joining in on that approach to the C# halfway through.

Aaargh i think i’ll have another guiness and play it again….

If my ears serve me well, on Altan’s original recording, the chords are as follows:

D | G | D | A | D | G | Bm | A |
F#m | G | Bm | D7 | F# | G | D | A ||

D | G | D | A | D | G | Bm | A |
F#m | G | Bm | D7 | F#m | G | D | A ||

What mode?

Does anyone know the mode used?
It kinda sounds G Lydian with the C# in the second part, but I’m still unfamiliar with the names…

Re: What mode?

Simply, D major. You’ll notice a lot of recent compositions avoid starting or resolving on the home keynote, and this is one such. The last triplet in the final bar may be an introduction to the first note of the repeat, or to the first note of the next tune, or to a final D (dotted) minim if this is the end of the set.

The Snowy Path, X:2

This is the version of Snowy Path used by the STL Irish Session Players, whose session I go to. I found an incredibly thing fun to do with this on the Fiddle involving the two dotted crotchets in the 1st ending of part B. Slur them together and slide your finger from the C natural to the C sharp. It creates a lovely slow moan, and is made infinitely better by the three eighth notes after it, which rocket you back into the tune.

What Tune Type

According to the rythm of the tune it seems to be a hop jig rather than a slip jig, for there is this characteristic alternating crotchets and quavers.

On the other hand this tune is played relatively slow, whereas hop jigs are played quite fast, as far as I know. So it might be a slip jig after all due to the low tempo.
For a typical hop jig see The Loom, by Liam O’Connor:

So is this really a slip jig or is it just a slow hop jig? Maybe something that does not fit into traditional categories absolutely?