The Bird’s hornpipe

Also known as The Birds, The Birds’, Daly’s, Jerry Daly’s.

There are 12 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

The Bird’s appears in 1 other tune collection.

The Bird’s has been added to 14 tune sets.

The Bird's has been added to 75 tunebooks.

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Six settings

X: 1
T: The Bird's
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
ce|:g2ga gecG|cega g2eg|azab ageg|ageg azba|
gage d2ed|cdeg azag|eged cAdc|1 AzGB ABce:|2 A2GB Azed||
|:cAAG AcBA|GEDE GzAB|cAAG ABcd|eg3 aged|
X: 2
T: The Bird's
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:e>d|c>AA>G A>cB>A|G>ED>E G2 A>B|c>AA>G A>Bc>d|e>g- g2 a>ge>d|
c>AA>G A2 B>A|G>ED>E G2 E>G|A2 A>c B>AG>B|A2 G>B A2:|
|:c>e|g2 g>a g>ec>G|c>eg>a g2 e>g|a2 a>b a>ge>g|a>ge>g a2 b>a|
g>ag>e d2 e>d|c>de>g a2 a>g|e>ge>d c>Ad>c|A2 G>B A2:|
X: 3
T: The Bird's
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:e>d|c>AA>G A>Bc>A|G>ED>E G2 e>d|c>AA>G A>Bc>d|e>fg>e d2 e>d|
c>AA>G A>Bc>A|G>ED>E G2- G>A|B2- B>A A>GE>G|1 A2 A2 A2:|2 A2 A2 A2 c>e||
|:g2- g>e g>ec>e|g2- g>e g2 e>g|a2- a>g a>ge>g|a2- a>b a2- a2|
g2 g>e d2 e>d|c>de>g a2 g>e|e>ge>d c>A (3BAG|1 A2 (3BAG A2- A2:|2 A2 (3BAG A2||
X: 4
T: The Bird's
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:e>d|c>AA>^G A>Bc>A|G>ED>E G2 e>d|c>AA>^G A2 (3Bcd|(3efg f>a g>e (3fed|
c>A-A>^G A2 B>A|G>ED>E G2- G>A|B2 B>A A>G (3EFG|A2 (3BAG A2:|
|:(3cde|g2 g>e g>ec>e|g2 g>e g2 d/e/f/g/|a2 a>^g a>=g (3efg|a2- a>b a2- a2|
g2 (3gfe d2- d2|c>de<g a2- a>g|e>ge>d c>A (3BA^G|A2- A2 A2:|
X: 5
T: The Bird's
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
ed|cAAG ABcA|GEDE A2ed|cAAG ABcd|efged2ed|
|:ce|g3e gece|g2ge g2eg|a2ag ageg|a2ab a2ag|
g2ge d2ed|cdeg aged|eged cAB2|A2BG A2:|
X: 6
T: The Bird's
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
ce|:"C": g2ga gecG|cega g2eg|"FM7"azab ageg|ageg az"G"ba|
"Am7"gage d2ed|"C" cdeg "FM7"azag|"G"eged "Em7"cAdc|1 "Am7"AzGB ABce:|2 "Am7"A2GB Azed||
|:"Am7"cAAG "D7"AcBA|"Em7"GEDE "G"GzAB|"Am7"cAAG ABcd|"Em7" eg3 aged|
"Am7"cAAG "D7"AzBA|"Em7" GEDE "G"G2EG|"FM7"AzAc "G"BAGB|1 "Am7"A2GB A2ed:|2 "Am7"A2 GBA||

Twenty-six comments

Presumably without the apostrophe?

“The Birds’ Hornpipe” - and an apparent ‘lift’ ~ credit to source?! 😏

See here:
“Cillian Vallely & Kevin Crawford: On Common Ground”

X: 1
T: The Birds’ Hornpipe
T: Grogan’s Hornpipe
B: Fliúit - Irish Traditional Flute Tutor (with 2 Companion CDs) by June McCormack
D: Toss the Feathers - Columbus Eclipse, track 7a
D: Cillian Vallely & Kevin Crawford - On Common Ground, track 7a
D: June McCormack - Fliúit - Irish Traditional Flute Tutor Disc 2, track 11
Z: June McCormack

# Posted on December 30th 2009 by Catail

“The Birds’ Hornpipe” ~ correction & clarification

The first and most obvious, the last bar, notated here as:

~ |1 A2GB A2ed :|2 A2 GBA || ~ & with timing correction based on the June McCormack transcription:

~ |[1 A2 GB A2 ed :[|2 A2 GB A2 |]

& for a little more clarity with bar 4 of the B-part, given as:

~ | eg3 aged | ~ and adjusted to ~ | eg ~g2 aged |

Hey! That’s nice! Who composed it?
I love the pentatonic flavor. It’s so unusual in hornpipes you’d think you’re dealing wit a reel.

To heighten the particular atmosphere of this tune (and wink in direction of its name) you can play it on the “air” instrument that is the Irish flute, and listen in the breathy sound of feathers!


I’m a fan of birds. Their shapes, their songs, their plumages, their habits and deportment, their jizz, their colourful names and the many stories they’ve inspired or made their way into. I like the fact they have remained familiar to us even though many other beasts, like the mammals, had to hide in the night or live in the shade or history books because of our impact on them.

To Paint the Portrait of a Bird
by Jacques Prévert (France 1900-1977)

A great performance!

Bird’s Hornpipe

He breathed in air, he breathed out light,
Charlie Parker was my delight.
(Adrian Mitchell)

Is this tune named after people or birds? (and does it matter?)

Or bird people? (once upon a time there lived bird-people from Sápmi to the Kaluli)

If One Wants that Bird

You know,
there was a king in Mongolia,
who once invaded some
distant kingdom, where
he heard a new bird singing,
and wanted the song for himself.
For the sake of the song, he wished to capture
the bird , with the bird its nest,
the branches that held the nest,
the trunk of the tree, the tree itself,
the roots, the earth that held the roots,
the village,
the water,
the surrounding land,
the country,
the entire kingdom…

Wanting to take them all
he gathered together all the remaining
elephants, horses, chariots
and soldiers,
conquered the entire kingdom,
annexed it to his empire

and never returned home.

by A.K.Ramanujan
(translated from the Kannada by S.K.Desai.)


What is all this rubbish and what’s it for?


It’s hard to know which contribution you’re rubbishing Minerva, I’m tempted to think it’s the Birdie Song link above and I would agree with you! On the other hand, I think my contribution (!) has everything to do with this site and the web: which is creating ‘relation’. You see, even the Weeeejiet (no offense in the context!) managed to get a laugh out of me with his/her humourous compliment! That’s what it’s for I guess.
Console yourself with this other pean to éan! ;- )

Even the Birdie Song is interesting compared with the rubbish you are spamming the tunes section with every day, Bird.

Lastly, and since you pride yourself on exact definitions
-and no kidding!-
here is a widely accepted definition of Spam:
“Send the same message indiscriminately to (large numbers of recipients) on the Internet”

This has nothing to do with what i do here, since i try to share ‘discriminate’ things I care about with people I have a specific, reasonable feeling will share it with me. Surely, not all the people at the session but potentially some of them.
In other words, I’m putting this in the ‘Inspiration’ section of the Tunes, I mean by that:
“Further reading” or further listening, ‘further musing’ if you like…
This is what people do all the time on this site, everyday. All in their own dear way.

Bird apostrophe s

From Terry Cuz Teahan who plays it on the LP Old Time Irish Music in America

“That’s another one I picked up from the older crowd. The “Bird” was a man named Murphy from Knocknagashel and some crowd heard him whistling this tune.”

Teahan plays a different setting than I usually hear, most notably in the penultimate bar of the low part, he plays B3A AFEF | A… I love that B to death.

The Bird’s

Upon listening more closely to the album, I’ve come to realize that Teahan is playing two different instruments, one of of which is pitched low. I’m guessing it is a single row melodeon in the key of C. When he plays this instrument, he uses the same fingering that he would on a D instrument. The Bird’s is one of the tunes he plays on this melodeon. Therefore, I posit that The Bird’s Hornpipe is actually meant to be in the key of Bm/D, and that its current incarnation as an Am/C tune is a result of Teahan recording it on this flat-pitched instrument. For the record, I think he’s playing this C box on tracks 7, 9, 10, 11, 20, and 24.

The Bird’s Hornpipe

I’m to blame for the reversed order of “The Birds Hornpipe” – B part first, then A part – I learned it from Cuz Teahan growing up here in Chicago (before he recorded it for Mick Moloney on the above mentioned album with AABB instead of my BBAA) and I played it in Fleadh’s here a few times. I always preferred starting on the high part because it was unexpected and I think made the unusual tune even more so. When I added it to the set of the three hornpipes (which I ended up recording with Mick Moloney on There Were Roses in 1984), it fit in even better. Kevin Crawford told me he had learned it from the Roses’ recording and am guessing that most others did as well or from their respective source. I sometimes also played it as a slow reel. The late Galway box player Sean McGlynn told me he liked me playing it as a reel versus a hornpipe. Anyway, hope that eases any confusion…
(Regarding the key, I learned it from Cuz in Am. He had a variety of boxes and concertina’s in various keys and if playing by himself, would play what was handiest or struck his fancy at that time)

Any which way you choose ~ 😉

Thanks Patrick & Jimmy, much appreciated. I’ve heard it played flat too, ‘as a reel’, and slowly. You wouldn’t be the first to turn a tune around, another aspect of tradition that can be fun, and sometimes done for devilish reasons. A lot of flings have gone the way of reels, and sometimes for a lark I love pulling them back down to a good swing and as highland flings. This, like any good melody, works all those ways ~ and in any key for whatever box or set of pipes you might have on hand. 😀 Great positive contributions lads, but I enjoyed the lark of ‘The Birdy Dance’ too.

The other problem with early boxes is that a C can be sharp enough to fall between concert pitch C and D. I’ve played a few old rows you’d have to call C#…

Re: The Bird’s

I’ve heard this being played in Sliabh Luachra as Daly’s Hornpipe, without the reversed parts. Comes up as Jerry Daly’s Hornpipe in O’Nealls 1907

Posted by .

Re: The Bird’s

Having just re-listened to Terry Teahan’s version it strikes me that the 2nd (high) part he plays is very close to the Scottish tune Awa’ Whigs Awa’

Re: The Bird’s

For comparison here is Awa’ Whigs Awa’, from 1760 (thanks to the Fiddler’s Companion site):

B:Oswald – Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 6 (1760, p. 19)
Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion
(Bc)|d4 d3B|d4 d2 Bd|e4 e3d|e4 e2g2|
{e}d2B2{B}A2G2|G3B B2 (AG)|(AB)(de) (dB)(AG)|E4 E2:|
|:AB|dBdg dgBg|d4 d2 gf|egdg egdg|e4 e2 ge|
dBde gabd|BdAB GABG|ABge dBAG|E4 D2:|]


The Birds with chords for guitar picking