Mylecharaine’s march

By Traditional

There are 3 recordings of this tune.

Mylecharaine’s has been added to 2 tune sets.

Mylecharaine's has been added to 48 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: Mylecharaine's
R: march
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
d>c|d2 A2 d>c|d2 A2 d>c|d2 A>G (3FED|E2 D2 (3def|g2 f2 e2|
d2c2 d2|e2 e>f g>f|e3 d c>d|e2 a2 g2|f2 e2 d>c|
d2 A>G (3FED|E4 F>G|A2 G>F E>D|E2 d2 c2|(d6|d4):|
|:(3ABc|d>c d>e (3fed|ed ef (3gfe|d>c d>e (3fed|e>c A2 c>d|
e2 a2 g2|f2 e2 d>c|d2 A>G (3FED|E4 F>G|A2 G>F E>D|E2 d2 c2|(d6|d4):|
# Added .
X: 2
T: Mylecharaine's
R: march
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
G>F|G2 D2 G2|G4 B>A|G2 F2 E2|D4 A>B|c2 B2 A2|G2 F2 G2|A4 F>G|
A2 D2 B2|A4 F>G|A2 A2 B2|c4 AA|d2 cB AG|D2 G2 F2|G4||
X: 3
T: Mylecharaine's
R: march
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
e2|d2 B2 e2|e4 e2|d2 B2 G2|F4 f2|
g2 f2 e2|e2 ^d2 e2|f5-|f4 f2|
g2 b2 g2|f2 g2 e2|d2 B2 G2|F4 GA|
B2 G2 E2|F2 e2 d2|e5-|e4||

Eight comments

Nice link, lovely tune and playing, but not the tempo for a decent bit of ‘sane’ marching. Still, enjoyable… 😉 My guess is the lads have never experienced a decent march in their short lives. 😀 I found myself doing the limp step from the Faroes to this, a ‘langdans’…

Used in English Country dance, too

Not as played in the video, but with a true waltz signature. I like the boys’ version too.

Mylecharaine’s - most popular Manx tune

Mylecharaine’s has been recognised as the most popular/well-known Manx melody, and was extremely popular in the Victorian period. There are more versions that have been collected of this tune than any other (I’ll try and get round to posting them all).

One role that fiddlers on the Isle of Man were expect to undertake during the Christmas period was to play for the stick dance that ‘Mylecharaine’s March’ was used to accompany. This was traditionally danced on January 6th by a group of men. As part of this dance, the dancers ‘cut off’ the fiddlers head. Here’s a description of what happened next:

‘the Fiddler lays his head in some one of the wenches’ laps, and a third person asks who such a maid or such a maid shall marry, naming the girls then present one after another, to which he answers according to his own whim, or agreeable to the intimacies he has taken notice of during this time of merriment… This they call Cutting off the Fiddler’s Head, for after this, he is dead for the whole year.’ (Waldron, 1731: 98-99).

Manx National Anthem

The first version I’ve posted above is the Manx National Anthem. It was adapted by W.H. Gill from Mylecharaine’s March, and was first performed in 1907. The lyrics of the first verse are:

O land of our birth,
O gem of God’s earth,
O Island so strong and so fair;
Built firm as Barrule,
Thy Throne of Home Rule
Makes us free as thy sweet mountain air.


The 2nd version that I’ve posted is a ballad, which deals with the subject of a father who struggles to pay his daughter’s dowry. It doesn’t have the B section that is found with Mylecharaine’s March.

The bit in the middle

Hi all, have discovered this tune recently and am really liking it, and have also come across this recording on youtube

I’m not great at figuring out tunes by ear, but would anyone be kind enough to look at ‘the bit in the middle’ c2:24 in the video and figure out what’s played?

Thanks in advance

Re: Mylecharaine’s March

What a lovely, spirited tune. I’ve just been listening to Barrule’s recording of it on YouTube, having heard it first on Radio 3.