An Seanchai Muimhneach jig

Also known as Bill The Weaver’s, Johnny O’Leary’s, The Munster Storyteller.

There are 7 recordings of this tune.

An Seanchai Muimhneach appears in 3 other tune collections.

An Seanchai Muimhneach has been added to 18 tune sets.

An Seanchai Muimhneach has been added to 123 tunebooks.

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Six settings

X: 1
T: An Seanchai Muimhneach
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
g2 e fed|e2 B BAF|B2 E EFA|BAG FED|
gfe fed|edB (B/c/d)B|AFD DEF|FAG FED:|
X: 2
T: An Seanchai Muimhneach
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|:~B3 EFA B2 A Bcd|~B3 EFG A2 G FED|
|:g2 e fed efd BAF|~B3 EFG A2 G FED|
g2 e fed edc d2B|ABA DFA A2 G FED:|
Added .
X: 3
T: An Seanchai Muimhneach
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|:A|B2 B EFA B2 A Bcd|B2 B EFG A2 G FED|
B^AB EF=A B3 Bcd|A^GA DFG A2 G F2:|
|:f|g2 e fed e2 d BAF|B2 B EFG A2 G F2 f|
g2 e fed edc d2 B|A^GA DFG A2 G F2:|
E2 E EFD E2 D EE/F/G|A^GA D2 F A2 G F2:|
X: 4
T: An Seanchai Muimhneach
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|:gfe fed edB BAF|BAB EFE BAF F2 E|
gfe fed edB BAF|A2 A dAF AFE F2 E:|
X: 5
T: An Seanchai Muimhneach
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|:BdB EFA B2 A B2 d|B2 E EFG A2 G FED|
B2 E EFA B2 A B2 d|AF/G/A DEF A2 G FED:|
|:g2 e fed eB^A B=AF|BG/A/B EFG A2 G F2 d|
gfe f2 d edB d2 B|AFD d2 F A2 G FED:|
X: 6
T: An Seanchai Muimhneach
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|:gfe fed|edc dcB|~A3 DFG|AAG FED|
gfe fed|edc dcB|~A3 DFG|AAG FED:|

Sixty comments

An Seanchai Muimhneach

Lovely jig. Thanks for sharing it.

Johnny O’Leary’s

Got this great tune from Derek Hickey.

Can be also found being played here:

I submitted it as a slide because the phrases worked better in 12/8 rather than splitting them in half with a bar line if it was in 6/8.

Posted .

C: ?

Do you know who the composer is, or at least where it was picked up from? Curious that it’s named after Johnny, not that he didn’t have an amazing store of tunes, but it’s not showing anywhere in that regard, recorded or transcribed, and rings no bells… Always curious, especially about the curious…

Munster Storyteller

Ceolachan, it’s in the Johnny O‘Leary book as Padraig O’Keefe’s (I’m pretty sure) and as a jig. It’s definitely a jig, but like lots of Sliabh Luachra jigs, it’s slidey. But this transcription has the third part in the wrong place. The first one here is actually the third part. Even in the video they have it right, so I’m not sure what happened there DJF ;)

There’s a two part version with the name the Munster Storyteller (in irish) in one of Brendan Breathnach’s books, and that’s the name Caoimhin O’R and Brendan Begley use on A Moment of Madness.

Oh, and it’s also a variant of the Humours of Ballinamult from the O’Farrell’s Pocket Companion.

Derek Hickey taught it me this way and I’ll definitely trust him he really knows his stuff!! Incidentally it was him and a few others that helped make this tune popular again so I’ll ask him for more info on it

Posted .

I don’t think that’s really true, sorry. It’s hardly popular over here, and for myself it’s because I came across it in the Johnny O’Leary book, having already learned the Humours of Ballinamult, and recognized the similarity, which I liked. But my fiddling partner had already known the tune from a John Williams CD from several years ago. It’s also one that is played by Kerry musicians (which is no doubt why it ended up on COR and BB’s album).

At any rate, the video you posted clearly shows them playing it BCA (according to your abc structure).

BTW, the John Williams album is Steam, and it actually is this tune on it.

Duh! 😛

Thanks for the added information, much appreciated. That’s what I get for only looking at the order given here. In the Terry Moylan transcription, “Johnny O’Leary of Sliabh Luachra”, pages 34 and 35, the order is as Nico has given it - using D.J.F.s transcription:

X: 1
T: Bill the Weaver’s
M: 12/8
L: 1/8
R: jig
K: Edor
|: ~B3 EFA | B2 A Bcd | ~B3 EFG | A2 G FED |
~B3 EFA B2 A Bcd | ABA DFA A2 G FED :|
|: g2 e fed efd BAF | ~B3 EFG A2 G FED |
g2 e fed edc d2B | ABA DFA A2 G FED :|
|: ~E3 EFD EFD EFD | ~E3 EFG A2 G FED |

& a note quoting Johnny from the book:
“I got it from Denis Murphy’s father, known as ‘The Weaver’, who played the concert flute.”

In “Ceol Rince na hÉireann”, Breathnach has it as a 2-part tune, page 22, tune #54

X: 54
T: An Seanchaí Muimhneach
T: Munster Storyteller, The
M: 12/8
L: 1/8
R: jig
K: Edor
|: BAB EFE | BAF Bcd | BAB EFE | BAF F2 E |
BAB EFE | BAF Bcd | A2 A dAF | AFE F2 E :|
|: gfe fed | edB BAF | BAB EFE | BAF F2 E |
gfe fed | edB BAF | A2 A dAF | AFE F2 E :|

D.J.F.’s order confused me. What’s new there, eh? I often confuse myself, even on things I know I know… Such is the wonky wiring of this brain…

I do have John William’s “Steam” recording and will have to give that a listen and check his notes on it…

I did check the Terry Moylan publication and didn’t find it there initially, but I was stuck looking for the first part given here originally. 😏

In a sense, I was surprised it wasn’t already here. Maybe it is?

“Ceol Rince na hÉireann I”

Beauty sleep would do me some good, as ugly as I’m looking lately, and clumsy too, bumping into walls… 😀

Thanks Nico, much appreciated…

“John Williams: Steam” ~ track 12, tune 1 of 2 - just as Nico said

“Johnny O’Leary’s” / “Patrick Maloney’s Favorite” ~ but no other useful information, except nicely played… 😉

Again, the order Nico gave and as reordered above, in agreement with the Terry Moylan transcription. But I must have Johnny playing it somewhere too. I’ll look, though I suspect it’s likely to be in the field recordings…

Are you calling Derek a liar Nico? Where are you from anyway?

Posted .

Ok my post seemed pretty confrontational, apologies. I’m just curious when you say “It’s hardly popular over here” so I am wondering where over here is? It could mean anywhere, I haven’t heard this tune anywhere else except here in Ireland…

Posted .

Whew! I was so caught up in the music, and realizing I’d gotten lost in that order, that I’d missed the controversial bit, or took it as not intending conflict. But, that can, understandably, be taken raw ~

“I don’t think that’s really true, sorry. It’s hardly popular over here ~” - Nico

Didn’t Denis Murphy or his sister Julia record this, but in the order I’d be familiar with, not your transcriptions order D.J.F. No offence intended, but that’s what confused me. However, it’s not like that isn’t easy in my current lost sleep state of semi-consciousness… 😏

I’m glad it’s here, but I look forward to hearing more from your source, Derek Hickey… And, thanks for making the effort and giving me this distraction, and forcing me to get familiar again with this tune… It’s appreciated… I like the struggle of trying to sort out my own confusions and ignorance. 😉

A sequence of events ~

It’s not like others and ‘Chinese Whispers’ haven’t taken liberty with the order of a tune’s parts, including the effects of history, memory and altered states of mind…

Here’s a bit on D.J.F.’s source Derek Hickey ~

“Irish Music Magazine” - January 2010
Article: "De Dannan - Joining the De Danann story

December / January 1996 / 97

Date correction for the linked to back issue article…

DJF, you said Derek made it popular. I’m not calling Derek anything. But I do question the truth of your statement because:
1) It’s not really all that popular
2) No one I know learned it from Derek
3) John Williams recorded it in the early 90s (95 I think)
4) No offence intended, but Derek’s got it the wrong way around. That sort of thing happens. My fiddling partner misremembered the track names from the Williams recording and thought it was called the Night Larry was Stretched. Many tune names get the wrong name put on them due to being in a set with other tunes. And it’s easy to see why someone might put the second part last, since a majority of irish tunes go high(er) in the last part. Also, the order of humours of ballinamult (the parent version) could be described as ACB (of the proper order).

At any rate, it’s not that big of a deal, but you probably should fix your ABCs, since the majority of the sources disagree.

“Bill the Weaver’s Jig” - Terry Moylan’s transcription of the playing of Johnny O’Leary

X: 1
T: Bill the Weaver’s Jig
S: Johnny O’Leary
B: “Johnny O’Leary of Sliabh Luachra: Dance Music from the Cork-Kerry Border”
B: Edited by Terry Moylan, pages 34 & 35, tune #60
M: 12/8
L: 1/8
R: jig
K: Edor
|: BdB EFA | ~B2 A BAd | B2 E EFG | ~A2 G FED |
BEE EFA | ~B2 A BAd | AFA DEF | ~A2 G FED :|
|: g2 e fed | e2 B BAF | BAB EFG | ~A2 G FED |
gfe fed | edB ~d2 B | AFD DEF | ~A2 G FED :|
|: E3 E/G/ED | E/F/GE E/G/ED | EGE EFG | ~A2 G FED |
EGE ~E2 D | E/F/GE EFG | AGA DEF | ~A2 G FED :|

Correction to above, Terry’s transcription - M: 6/8

Ok Nico. But you still haven’t told me where you are from, this tune is played in Ireland. It may not be popular where you are, that’s all I am saying

Posted .


It could be a matter of perspective and definition ~ “popular”? Maybe the geographic scope of that is limited. ALL of Ireland would be a stretch I think, don’t you? And, maybe in the scope of the wake of this one influential musician it is ‘popular’ and played in this later ordering of parts? As already seen, however good he might be, we all have imperfections and mishaps with the memory, an our own store of ignorances, but whatever his talents, it still wouldn’t make it universally ‘popular, even within the borders of that island. At least that would be my suspicion. We lived in Ireland for a spell and even in Sliabh Luachra, though played, I’d have never called it ’popular’, though we liked it, but not in the order you’ve given it in D.J.F. But, hey, things change, evolve, who knows what an Adare squeezer might do with it, and under the influences of De Dannan… 😉

ABC is changed, for now

Posted .

and yes, point taken ceo, i keep forgetting how niche irish music is really!

Posted .

Thanks for the good cheer D.J.F., you usually bring a smile, and this time a welcomed laugh, to the point of tears… 😀

Just an update on the source, Derek told me that he may have learnt it from flute player Eamon Riordan (West Limerick) and that he has never heard it start on the second part of the original transcription.

Posted .

Then you should play him the video you linked to, and also John Williams’ recording.

Has Derek recorded this tune? West Limerick’s a bit closer to the source, but anyway, since it was Johnny O‘Leary and Denis Murphy who carried it on from an obviously Kerry source (aka Denis’ dad), then I would think that would take precedence.

It doesn’t matter where I’m from. The point is, it isn’t exactly “popular”, and so it’s incorrect to state that someone made it popular. (Especially when there’s another, recorded and readily available, source that’s likely a bit more likely to be the source of popularization, or an even older source that’s also likely to be a source of popularization)

In this form of music it is incorrect to say that someone got it in the ‘wrong’ order. That’s if you want to split hairs, which you seem adamant on doing.

Posted .

I don’t agree. You have to provide a reference point, but once done, it’s perfectly correct to say an order is wrong.

In other words: Derek got it wrong compared to Johnny O‘Leary’s playing of it (and Denis and his dad, John Williams, etc). Since you’ve labelled it Johnny O’Leary’s, I’ve been assuming that there’s knowledge (somewhere down the line of progression) that that’s the source, ultimately.

Ah well, I’ll continue to play it in the “right” order, and will look for Derek’s version on a cd or in a concert if he’s ever near.

You don’t need to look for Derek’s version in a CD or concert because I have given it to you here, free of charge, note for note. But I cannot recommend enough that you go and listen to his stuff or see him play live because he is a box maestro.

And where you came from started to mattered because stated that because the tune wasn’t played in your area, it wasn’t popular full stop. Now if you reside in Sliabh Luachra where slides are played then fair point, but if you reside in say Weston-super-Mare then it’s never going to be popular there and so your point that it is popular would be laid on very weak foundations. I actually find it odd that you refuse to say where you came from because it would provide at least some insight as to why you said it wasn’t popular.

Posted .

Sorry the first sentence of the second paragraph should read:

And where you came from started to matter because you stated that due to the tune not being played in your area, it wasn’t popular full stop.

Posted .

In the heat of passion… 😉

I would guess that Nico comes from Hamilton, Ontario, D.J.F.

It doesn’t take much detective work to arrive at that conclusion.

It’s a popular enough tune around here, and heard both ways. Though he’s not local, I often see Eamon around so he could well have it one way and not the other.

It’s very common here to swap tunes and their turns, or one part of a tune for another. We’re always had a strong dance tradition, never having lost the link between dance and music, and when it’s one in the morning, you’ve been playing almost nonstop since eight, drink has been taken and the dancers won’t go home, swapping parts around is part of the devilment.

As for names, musicians here tend not to bother with them much so when asked will tend to give the name of the musician they last heard it from or that of a well known local musician. Johnny was a good friend of mine and the family so I’m confident he’d dismiss with a joke any idea that the tune should be associated with his name above another.

Terry would be the first to say that his book was meant to be impressionistic rather than definitive; no trad musician plays a tune the exactly the same way each time. By it’s very nature trad isn’t well suited to codification; the idea that there is one true name, correct version or “”right“ order” is an anathema to trad musicians and a fundamental misunderstanding.

Posted .

Left to right or right to left - top to bottom or bottom to top

While I agree whole heartedly with most of that, the question of ‘order’ and varying that, while it happens, it’s the exception and rare. MOST tunes in this tradition, including the monstrous multi-parters, have a recognized and accepted order that is usually followed, even under the influence of intoxicants. And that was true of Johnny’s playing too… That doesn’t stop some from mixing it up, by accident or intent… There is also a ‘sense’ about most order, and that is likely why this one has been played both ways, trying to fit it to that ‘sense’, that ‘history’ and ‘norm’. Not everything fits easily, though most do…

Actually I’m neither from, nor living in, Hamilton, ON.

The reason I don’t think it matters is because you stated that Derek made it popular without qualifying where, or to what degree, you restrict that popularity.

The fact that it’s not all the popular here is enough to disprove the notion that Derek made it popular *everywhere*, which was the only point I was trying to make. That said, it is very popular in my house.

BTW, the point about looking for his version is that even though I disagree with his version, I’d still be willing to listen to him play. The ABCs aren’t really the same thing…

@ceolachan - agreed, which is why I posted what I did way up above about the most likely ancestor to this tune, something that seems to have gotten forgotten by some…

At the risk of too many posts, I wanted to add, thanks to Hurler for that background. But, I’m not saying it should be called Johnny O’Leary’s (I posted a couple alternate titles, and ceol posted another from the Goodman collection), but merely noting that it’s very likely that the tune came via JOL’s repetoire, and hence his version is apt to be the “most” correct.

“Actually I’m neither from, nor living in, Hamilton, ON.”

But you are not saying where though. I do note that you have posted sessions and events from that area:

So I’d be very surprised if you weren’t at least living in Canada.

Not that it matters that much. Just wondering why you evade the question.

Mostly to be contrary and because I think it’s irrelevent.

Maybe you’d like to post your information, now. I might note that you’re just as (if not more) evasive about it when questioned.

At any rate, I do not live in Canada.

I’ve not been questioned. I live in the North East of Scotland.
Because of that, I wouldn’t argue that something is popular in Ireland with someone who lives there.

Of course there’s a usual or common version but that doesn’t mean that versions that depart from that are “incorrect” or “wrong”. It’s the departure from the commonplace that keeps trad alive not the slavish adherence to past practices. There’s not a set on the “Liffey Banks” that isn’t “wrong” yet it’s the most beautiful and influential trad album ever produced.

As for switching parts being, what was it, “the exception and rare”! It’d be rare to play a session round here and not hear 2-3 tunes swapped over. And that’s these days, when the practice is far less common then it was in the past.

Posted .

Isn’t Kitchener, Ontario in Canada?

Oh sorry, you said you don’t live there. Don’t blame you 😉

My, that was an interesting thread to read and with lots of bruised egos. I can’t say I recall having heard the tune before but I may have done. Of course that doesn’t mean it isn’t popular. Clearly it is in Limerick. I also have Steam and, thanks to the reminder, will have a listen to it later on when I’m driving to the session.

For the avoidance of doubt, as my biog says I live in Perth and play in sessions in Glasgow, Dundee and Perth. I am sure if I lived in Ireland I am more likely to have heard the tune.

Another clip of Derek, this time playing with Cyril O’Donoghue, Caitlinn Nic Gabhann and the fantastic “Birkin Tree” from Northern Italy. If you haven’t heard Michel Balatti play the flute before then you really need to:

Don’t worry NCFA, no egos bruised on my part. Though I do find weejie to be creepily stalkerish. Ah well. Thanks for the videos!

“ Though I do find weejie to be creepily stalkerish. ”

You are entitled to your opinion - but when you were so evasive, I thought I’d cut a few corners - I was only following up your posts, where you clearly showed a Canadian presence - and gave your ID away. You continue to be evasive, but it’s clear you don’t live in Ireland, which was the point D.J.F. was making. Other than that, I really don’t care where you come from or live.

“Is he the ”Hickey“ referred to in by any chance? Or is that someone else altogether.”

From the sleeve notes of Liz Doherty’s “Last Orders”:

“Derek Hickey, a great player from Adare, Co. Limerick taught me this first jig. We never did find a name for it!”

Kind of answers the question.

With “creepily stalkerish”, you’ve come up with a suitable mnemonic for 6/8 rhythm, Nico. 🙂

Posted by .

Re: An Seanchai Muimhneach

Anglicised as the Munster Shanachie, I suppose. There’s a setting in Johnny O’Leary’s book #60 and in CRE Vol 1.54, collected from Donncha Ó Cróinín.

Re: Johnny O’Leary’s

Saw someone on fb today playing this, linked to here. I have played this for a few years. Surprised nobody has linked the clip of Johnny playing it.

14 minutes in, he says he got it from padraig o’keefe.
I had it from Dessie Kelliher though.