The Piper On Horseback reel

Also known as Aislinn’s Fancy, O’Connell’s, Owney Davey’s.

There are 29 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

The Piper On Horseback appears in 2 other tune collections.

The Piper On Horseback has been added to 11 tune sets.

The Piper On Horseback has been added to 85 tunebooks.

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Four settings

X: 1
T: The Piper On Horseback
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
~F3d cAAB|cAdB cAGE|~F3d cAAB|1 cAGE EDDE:|2 cAGE EDDA||
defg afdB|efed cA~A2|defg afdB|ABAG FDDA|
defg afdB|efed cAAe|~f3d efed|cAGE EDDE||
X: 2
T: The Piper On Horseback
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
F3 d cAAB|cAdB cAGE|F3 d cAAB|cAGE EDDE|
F3 d cAAB|cAdB cAGE|F3 d cAAB|cAGE EDCE|
D3 d cAAB|cAdB cAGE|F3 d cAAB|cAGE EDCE|
D3 d cAAB|cAdB cAGE|F3 d cAAB|c2 AG EDDA||
defg afdf|efdB cAAc|d2 e/f/g a2 dB|ABGE EDDA|
defg afdf|efdB cAAf|affe fded|A/B/A GE EDDA|
defg a3 f|e3 d cAAc|defg afdB|A/B/A GE EDCE|
Defg afdf|efdB cA a2-|af g/f/e fded|A/B/A GE EDDE||
X: 3
T: The Piper On Horseback
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
D3d cA3|cded cAGE|D3d cA3|cAGE EDDE|
FGAd cA3|cded cA3|f2ed cA3|cAGE EDD2||
ABde f3g|afge d3B|ABde f2ed|cAGE EDD2|
A2de fefg|af (3gfe defg|(3agf (3gfe f3d|cAGE EDD2||
X: 4
T: The Piper On Horseback
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:~F3d cAAB|cAdB cAGE|F2Fd cAAB|cAGE FDD2:|
defg afdf|efed cAA2|defg afdB|ABAG FDD2|
defg afdf|efed cAAe|f2fd e2ed|cAGE FDD2||

Thirty-five comments

Transcribed from the playing of a fiddler in Sydney. She played the second to last bar lower pitches than I’ve seen transcribed from other sources, which most often go:

e|~a3g efed|cAGE FDD||

…or similar. I can only find 2 names for this on JC’s. One is “The Piper On Horseback” - a name also (mistakenly?) given to “The Fair-haired Lass”, and the other is “Jig Away The Donkey”. Both are slightly different settings from the one posted here.
Has anyone come across this tune, and what do people tend to call it?

Piper on horseback

This tune I have always associated with players from the North of Ireland. I have never heard it called by any other name than “The Piper On Horseback”. It used to be played after “Jig Away The Donkey” (which is an entirely different tune) and followed by “The Three Scones Of Boxty/Baxty”.

Posted by .

Cheers for the info Kenny. By the way: I transcribed this from a minidisc of this fiddler’s playing. She followed this reel with “The Little Bag of Spuds” in G. I thought it was a really nice change of key.

Same Tune, Same Title

I first learned this tune with this title from flute-player (Reverend) Gary Hastings around 1979 and it was a long time before I heard anybody except us wee northerners playing it. I have forgotten where Gary got it but it was most likely Cathal McConnell or the late Eddie Duffy (flute) or the late Mick Hoy (fiddle), all Fermanagh men. The reels “Jig Away the Donkey” and “The Three Scones of Boxty” are also tunes I associate with Mick and Eddie.

I had a feeling that “Jig Away The Donkey” was another title for “Jigging The Donkey”; it looks like someone transcribing this for the net got confused somewhere along the line. At least that title directs you to another setting of this tune on JC’s index tho’.

Other settings

If anyone can be bothered to post different settings of this tune (e.g. the version you play Long Note), it would be very much appreciated. It’s not often I hear it played at sessions…

More or Less the Same

Both “Piper on H” and “Jig Away the D” (also learned from Gary) posted here are the same as I play them, give or take a few notes here and there. I rarely hear these tunes except at sessions in the north.

Aka. O’Connell’s Reel

You can find this tune as “O’Connell’s Reel” on page 97 of Hidden Fermanagh Book. And of course, it’s recorded by Laurence Nugent on “Hidden Fermanagh Vol.1.” According to the notes, Eddie Duffy learned it from another Fermanagh flute player William Carroll.

This is *not* Jig Away the Donkey.

If you read all the comments above carefully, you’ll find nobody calls this reel “Jig Away the Donkey.” I wonder who was the idiot who added the wrong alternative title.

Eileen Ivers, I believe - not an idiot, just a genuine mistake. Happens all the time.

Posted by .

Actually, the idiot was me - I added it as an alternative title. As for reason, see Kenny’s post.

I wasn’t referring to here on this site. Eileen Ivers recorded “Jig Away The Donkey” and called it “The Piper On Horseback”, and I doubt very much whether it was generally called that before she made that recording, but everyone seems to have learned it from her CD, or second-hand from someone who did, and the wrong name has stuck. Thanks for removing it, Dow - maybe we can reverse history !

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What did I remove? Oh god I’m confused 🙂

Sorry Dow - it’s still there. I was sure it had gone. Ignore me. If you want to, as the person who posted the tune, you can remove “JATD” from the alternative titles list on the details page.

Posted by .

You’re talking about tune #1231, right? And saying that I should remove its alternative title of Piper On Horseback?

And Slainte is talking about this tune, #1247, saying I should remove its alternative title of Jig Away The Donkey.

The issue being that:

#1231 was recorded by Eileen Ivers under the incorrect title, and:
#1247 was recorded by some other musicians* under the incorrect title, probably also because of confusion arising from Eileen Ivers’ recording (“well if that other one was the POHB, then this one must be JATD”).

Or am I just totally confused?

* Not sure about this, but off the top of my head, Cherish The Ladies and Far From Home???

So, we all agree that “The Piper on the Horseback” is the title for this tune, #1247, and probably not the original title for the tune #1231.

I just wanted to make it clear that neither Kenny nor LongNote suggest that “Jig Away the Donkey” is the title for this tune, #1247. And Hidden Fermanagh Book doesn’t list this tune #1247 as “Jig Away the Donkey,” either.

Jig Away the Donkey, or not?

A bit of research shows “Far from Home” recorded this as “Jig Away the Donkey.” See:

Sorry Dow for calling you an idiot!

I’m really sorry. Hope it’s not as insulting as calling the Australian troops Austrian.

Not the same tune…

As interesting as this discussion is, the notation here is not that of whatever Trouble in the Kitchen call Piper on Horseback on their album - if they do call it that at all, I haven’t checked the sleeve 😏

Just sayin’

Of course I know that this is due to database matching but just sayin’ in case anyone comes across it via Trouble in the Kitchen search.

After transcribing this I realise that there is a transcription under another name - Piper On horseback:
Anyway there are some differences in this setting though its obviously the same tune

Apologies dr Dow, but I was just going on the album listing under the above mentioned entry. At least if someone goes looking for that tune off that track it will be listed /linked

Re: The Piper On Horseback

I remember teaching this tune to Eileen Ivers (check the liner notes) back before the Ground Plan band formation, and I learned it from a piper from Northern Ireland named Mickey Horgan currently of Shantalla, who did indeed call it by this name.
Cheers! Andi

Re: The Piper On Horseback

Michael Cooney recorded this tune in a medley with Bonny Anne. He didn’t have a name for it.

Re: The Piper On Horseback

What are the names of the tunes on the recording “The Butterfly” from Celtic woman. The first tune is clear: it’s the butterfly jig, very known tune. I transcribed the fallowing tunes. it’s definitely not an improvisation. There are all the time the same tunes/parts. On the it’s called “piper on hoseback”. But what the fiddle plays, it’s not simular with“ the piper on horseback”. Thx for your help.

Re: The Piper On Horseback

I presume you mean this recording :

The tune she is playing [ 3rd tune, 2nd reel ] is called “Jig Away The Donkey”, not “The Piper On Horseback”. The 2 tune names have become confused after a certain fiddler getting the names wrong on a recording.

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