Molly’s reel

Also known as The Three Sisters Reels #1, The Three Sisters Reels No. 1, The Three Sisters Reels, The Three Sisters.

There are 2 recordings of this tune.

Molly’s has been added to 17 tunebooks.

Download ABC

One setting

X: 1
T: Molly's
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
AD F/E/D ADFA|1 B2 EF GA B/c/d:|2 B2 EF GABc||
G2 EF GABc:|2 dB c/B/A BGAF|GABc d2||

Twenty-three comments

“The Three Sisters Reels #1” ~ “Molly’s Reel”

This is from the playing of Tom Doherty. I’ve been seeking ‘names’ for these three reels for a spell now, but while there’s much that is familiar nothing fits both parts of any of these three reels. So to share the load and the query I’ll add them here and see if anyone else would like to add comment or make connections.

To make just one, for starters, the A-part of “Molly’s Reel” bears similarities with “The Four Courts Reel” in O’Neill’s…

“Tom Doherty: Take the Bull by the Horns” ~ a short relevant extract

The Three Sisters Reels

"I learned ‘The Three Sisters’ from my father and mother. And the way I done it, I was very young at the time. And I had to take the accordion and steal it out of the house. And one night I took it out and went to the cowhouse. And by God the cows nearly jumped out through the roof with the noise of the accordion playing. So that’s the way I learned it.

Three sisters, Molly, Bridget, and Maggie. I was told they were playing at the crossroads and there was something of a contest on and Molly went up and played first, and then Bridget went up and played second, and Maggie went up and played third. And she made good because it was the turn of the tune she went into right away. And she won the contest. That’s the thing of that, anyway." ~ Tom Doherty

Sounds familiar, Altan??
Not Moneymusk, not Fermanagh, but somewhere around there….

A highland played as a reel? 😏

“ a variant of Moneymusk ”

It’s “Monymusk” - from “Monadh Musga”, apparently.

Musga - possibly from “musgach”, one translation being “filthy bog”.

That’s it! I should have caught that. There’s a tune that gets around, including as a highland fling and, in this case, a single reel… I haven’t yet found a place where it hadn’t at one time or another been part of the repertoire, at least on these islands, and in North America too. We’ve bumped into it elsewhere too…

Thanks for helping make the connection and adding the link…

I’ve got ‘Blue Idol’ too. I’ll have to pull it out for a listen… The other two reels in the set of three are also quite familiar, but I haven’t yet found anything ‘exact’ to link them to, though the parts could easily be linked to similar and basically same melodic lines. I’ll be adding those soon, hoping for more help the likes of this. Appreciated…

“Monymusk” / “Moneymusk” / etc…

Here’s the earliest submission or a relative, and as a reel:

“The Fermanagh Reel”
Submitted on April 22nd 2002 by Will Harmon.

Then there’s itself ~

“Moneymusk” / “Monymusk” / etc…
Submitted on January 28th 2003 by gian marco.

And then there’s yourself Dow and another reel take ~

“Leslie’s Reel”
Submitted on April 26th 2004 by Dr. Dow.

This tune is also allegedly a variant of the same tune, although the similarities are not as obvious:

“Michael Queally’s/Josephine Keegan’s/Connie O’Connell’s”
Submitted on April 8th 2004 by Dr. Dow.

“The Fermanagh Reel” above was not submitted as a ‘reel’ but as a ‘highland fling’ from Fermanagh…


Interesting. I didn’t know that was the origin of the name for Moneymusk, but now that you point out the “musgach” word Weejie, it puts me in mind of the word for peat bogs here in Northern Canada. The Cree word muskeg is used to describe peaty swampland.

Seems that the Gaelic word musgach means both “muddy peat moss” and “moldy or musty” and refers to the rheumy stuff that collects around the eyes (what we call “sleep” in our house).

Cool though…gives me a mind to put together a set of tunes that explores the circumpolar etymology of “musk-” used to describe bogs and swamps.

It’s just that spelling “Moneymusk”, Chris. When you live just a few miles up river of the place, it gets annoying when so many people misspell it. It has nothing to do with currency.
Monymusk - without the ‘e’.

Sorry, Weejie. Sorry I misspelt Moneymusk 😉

Moneymusk ~ Moneymusk ~ Moneymusk ~ I blame the English

You know, money does have a kind of musky quality about it, especially as it ages…

Maybe the misspelling was all in the plan, to take attention away from the area?

Where is it you are from, Ceol? Somewhere near Preiston?

I would imagine you’d get pee’d off if that misspelling continued for decades - especially when musicians seem to be the most guilty party.

Actually, Monymusk is quite a pleasant wee place - it has a village green and square, unlike the typical Scottish village.

I take the wean there in the autumn to gather cheggies (I’m sure you’ll know what they are, Ceol).

Priest’s town, but hey, we’ve got a place here named ‘hill’ three times ~ Pen-dle-Hill… Now there’s a history of getting it screwed up by various nationalities when passing through…

Weejie, you’re not even from there, your an ‘outsider’. It wouldn’t be the first lovely place to try to deflect attention to itself by devious means, such as a misspelling… 😀 I’ve even seen an ‘old’ Welsh fiddlers book where it was misspelled yonks ago… Folks just have got that problem, ‘money’ on their minds, like now…

‘Cheggies’? Now I’m feeling itchy.

“A game of cheggies!” There’s at least some flash of association taking place in the dark recesses of my mis-firing brain… 🙂

To top everything off, my poor wife is suffering OFSTED this week, and also had parents’ evenings too, and other maladies ~ so up early and back late and cantankerous… Bless her…

Tom Doherty!

From the playing of ~ …