The Beauty Spot reel

Also known as An Ball Seirce, Colonel Taylor’s, Sean Maguires, Tempting Spot.

There are 41 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with The Cashmere Shawl (a few times), The Midnight (a few times), The Ravelled Hank Of Yarn (a few times) and The Sandymount (a few times).

The Beauty Spot has been added to 5 tune sets.

The Beauty Spot has been added to 199 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Ten settings

X: 1
T: The Beauty Spot
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|(3AAA GB A2 dB|cBcG EFGB|A2 GB ABdB|cBcG ED (3DDD|
|A2 GB (3AAA dB|cBcG EFGB|(3AAA Ad ~B3d|cBce ed(3ddd||
|ed (3B^cd edcd|ed^cd eaag|ed (3B^cd ed=cB|ABcd ed^cd|
|ed (3B^cd edcd|ed^cd eaag|fgdB =cABG|ABcd gedB||
# Added .
X: 2
T: The Beauty Spot
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
dB|A2 AF A2 dB|{d}cAAG EFGc|(3ABA AF A2 dB|
|cAGE ED D2|(3ABA AF A2 dB|{d}cAAG EFGc|
|(3ABA AF A2 dB|cAGE EDD2||
|e~d3 edcd|e~d3 eaag|e~d3 edcA|ABcd edd2|
|e~d3 edcd|e~d3 eaag|afge fde^c|Add^c dedc||
# Added .
X: 3
T: The Beauty Spot
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
B|A2 GB AddB|cBcG EFGB|A2 GB AddB|cBcG EDDB|
A2 GB AddB|cBcG EFGB|AGAd B3 d|cBcG EDDB||
eddd edcd|edcd eaag|edcd eddc|ABcd eddg|
eddd edcd|edcd eaag|fgdB c2 AB|ABcd edd||
X: 4
T: The Beauty Spot
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
F3E F2BA|F2EC A,B,CE|~F3E ~F2BA|FAEA, CB,CE|
~F3E F2BA|F2EC A,B,CE|~F3A ~G3B|AFEA, CB,CE||
cBAB cB~B2|ceAB cafe|cBAB cB~B2|EFAB cB~B2|
c2AB cB~B2|ceAB cafe|~c3A BcBA|EFAB cABA||
B3A B2ed|B2AF DEFA|~B3A ~B2ed|BdAD FEFA|
~B3A B2ed|B2AF DEFA|~B3d ~c3e|dBAD FEFA||
fede fe~e2|fade fbba|fede fe~e2|ABde fe~e2|
fede fe~e2|fade fbba|~f3d efed|ABde fded||
A3G A2dc|A2GE CDEG|~A3G ~A2dc|AcGC EDEG|
~A3G A2dc|A2GE CDEG|~A3c ~B3d|cAGC EDEG||
edcd ed~d2|egcd eaag|edcd ed~d2|GAcd ed~d2|
edcd ed~d2|egcd eaag|~e3c dedc|GAcd ecdc||
A3G A2dB|BccG DEGE|GA (3BAG AdcA|BAGd edBG|
A3G A2dB|BccG DEGE|GA (3BAG AdcA|BAGd edd2||
eddA ed~d2|edcd efgd|e2dA edcA|GAcd edd2|
e2dA edcd|edcd efg2|fgef decd|ABcA GA (3BAG||
Variations for the last bar are |BcAB GAEG| and |ABGA EFGE|
A3G A2dB|~c3G EFGE|A2AG AddB|cBcG EDDG|
A3G A2dB|~c3G EFGE|A3c ~B3d|cBcG EDD2||
ed~d2 edcd|ed~d2 eaag|ed~d2 edcA|GAcd ed~d2|
ed~d2 edcd|ed~d2 eaag|fgef decA|GAcd egdc||
X: 5
T: The Beauty Spot
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
~A3G AddB|~c3G E~G3|AAGB AAde|cBcG EDDB|
AAGB AAde|~c3G E~G3|AAGB AAde|cBcG EDDg||
eddg ed (3Bcd|eddg egag|eddg edcA|GG (3Bcd e2dg|
eddg ed (3Bcd|eddg e ~g3|aged dcAF|GA (3Bcd e2dB||
X: 6
T: The Beauty Spot
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|(3.A.c.A GB {d}A2 dB|{d}cB{d}cG EGGG|(3.A.c.A FB {d}A2dB|{d}cB{d}cG ED (3DDD|
|~A3d d^cAB|{d}cB{d}cG EGGG|~A3d A{d}B{A}Bd|{d}cB{d}cG ED (3DDD||
|{f}ed (3.d.^c.d edcd|ed .d/.^c/.d eeg2|{f}e.d .d/.^c/.d ed=cB|GAcd vedd2|
|{f}ed (3.B.^c.d edcd|ed (3.B.^c.d efge|f{a}ge.d .dcAG|GAcd (3.e.f.e d^c||
X: 7
T: The Beauty Spot
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
!fermata!dB|(3.A.c.A GB (3.A.c.A dB | (3.A.c.A GF EF ~G2 | (3.A.c.A GB (3.A.c.A dB | cAGE FDDB |
(3.A.c.A GB (3.A.c.A dB | (3.A.c.A GF EF ~G2 | (3.A.c.A GB (3.A.c.A dB | cAGE FDDf |
ec~c2 ecdf | edcd efgf | edcd edcA | G2 (3Bcd ecdf | ec~c2 ecdf | edcd ef~g2 | af (3g.f.e. decA | G2 (3Bcd ecdB |
X: 8
T: The Beauty Spot
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
c|ABGB Addc | ABGF EFG2 | ABGB AddB | cAGE FDDc | ABGB Addc | ABGF EFG2 | AGAE BABd | cAGE FDD |
g| edcd eddg | edcd eaag | edcd eddc | ABcd eddg | edcd eddg | edcd eaag | (3efg dB cAGB | ABcd edd |
X: 9
T: The Beauty Spot
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emix
B3A B2ec | dcdA FAA2 | B3A B2ec | dABd FEE2 |
B3A B2ec | dcdA FAA2 | B3B c2ec | dcdA FEEd ||
fee2 fede | fee2 faba | fee2 fedB | Bcde faed |
fee2 fede | fede faa2 | bff2 afed | ABde faed ||
# Added by duby .
X: 10
T: The Beauty Spot
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
.A.A GB A2 dB |.c2 .c GE ~G3 | .A.c.A GB A2 dB | cBcG EA D2|
A2 GB A2 dB | cBcG E ~G3 | G ~A2 dA ~B2 d | cBcG ED D2 |
ed (3.B.c.d edcd | ed (3.B.c.d e ~g3 | ed (3.B.c.d edcB | ABcd ed d2 |
ed (3.B.c.d edcd | ed (3.B.c.d e ~g3 | f.age .d.c~G | GAcd egdc :|

Eighteen comments

The Beauty Spot

Most printed sources give this as D mixolydian, but I’d tend to place it in A dorian—it’s the same key signature (one sharp), so I guess it boils down to whether you hear this tune as resolving to the A or D, if it ever resolves at all.

Some versions of the Beauty Spot stay in D mix/A dorian for the B part, keeping to the c naturals for those triplets. Breathnach gives another option, collected off of fiddler Tommy Potts, in Volume 1 of Ceol Rince na Eireann.

T:An Ball Seirce
L:1/8
M:4/4
K:A dorian
dB|A2 AF A2 dB|{d}cAAG EFGc|(3ABA AF A2 dB|
|cAGE ED D2|(3ABA AF A2 dB|{d}cAAG EFGc|
|(3ABA AF A2 dB|cAGE EDD2||
|e~d3 edcd|e~d3 eaag|e~d3 edcA|ABcd edd2|
|e~d3 edcd|e~d3 eaag|afge fde^c|Add^c dedc||

Posted .

Almost the same but without the ornamentation (quick transcribe from the Paddy Canny CD)
X:1
T:The Beauty Spot
M:4/4
L:1/8
Q:1/4=175
K:Dmix
B|A2 GB AddB|cBcG EFGB|A2 GB AddB|cBcG EDDB|
A2 GB AddB|cBcG EFGB|AGAd B3 d|cBcG EDDB||
eddd edcd|edcd eaag|edcd eddc|ABcd eddg|
eddd edcd|edcd eaag|fgdB c2 AB|ABcd edd||

Dmix or Ador

This is one of those tunes like "Jigging The Donkey" and "The Bank Of Ireland" where the backer sets the mode of the tune by the order the chords are played in, since both are implicit from the melody. Also you could mix the 2, playing a different mode each repetition of the tune. If I was using Ador I would resolve to D major chords at the end of phrases, and if Dmix then I’d resolve to G maj where the melody drops to the low D.

Recorded on wax cylinder by pipers Barney Delaney (who announced it as Colonel Taylor’s reel) and Patsy Touhey - transcribed in Mitchell and Small’s book Piping of P.T. - and recorded on 78 RPM disk in the 20’s by piper Sean O’Nolan, under the title The Tailor’s Thimble.

Posted by .

The Beauty Spot

Here’s a transcription of Maeve Donnelly’s very different minor version played on a fiddle tuned A.EAe:

X: 1
T: Beauty Spot, The
M: C|
L: 1/8
R: reel
D: Maeve Donnelly: Maeve Donnelly
Z: Dow
K: Bdor
F3E F2BA|F2EC A,B,CE|~F3E ~F2BA|FAEA, CB,CE|
~F3E F2BA|F2EC A,B,CE|~F3A ~G3B|AFEA, CB,CE||
cBAB cB~B2|ceAB cafe|cBAB cB~B2|EFAB cB~B2|
c2AB cB~B2|ceAB cafe|~c3A BcBA|EFAB cABA||

Here’s the same transcription for standard tuning (high D’s are omitted to make it more manageable on the fiddle):

X: 1
T: Beauty Spot, The
M: C|
L: 1/8
R: reel
D: Maeve Donnelly: Maeve Donnelly
Z: Dow
K: Edor
B3A B2ed|B2AF DEFA|~B3A ~B2ed|BdAD FEFA|
~B3A B2ed|B2AF DEFA|~B3d ~c3e|dBAD FEFA||
fede fe~e2|fade fbba|fede fe~e2|ABde fe~e2|
fede fe~e2|fade fbba|~f3d efed|ABde fded||

And here is the same version transposed down into the usual range for comparison with the standard setting:

X: 1
T: Beauty Spot, The
M: C|
L: 1/8
R: reel
D: Maeve Donnelly: Maeve Donnelly
Z: Dow
K: Ddor
A3G A2dc|A2GE CDEG|~A3G ~A2dc|AcGC EDEG|
~A3G A2dc|A2GE CDEG|~A3c ~B3d|cAGC EDEG||
edcd ed~d2|egcd eaag|edcd ed~d2|GAcd ed~d2|
edcd ed~d2|egcd eaag|~e3c dedc|GAcd ecdc||

Here’s an extremely groovy setting I got from James Fagan who said he’d learnt it from a piper:

X: 1
T: Beauty Spot, The
M: C|
L: 1/8
R: reel
Z: Dow
S: James Fagan
K: Dmix
A3G A2dB|BccG DEGE|GA (3BAG AdcA|BAGd edBG|
A3G A2dB|BccG DEGE|GA (3BAG AdcA|BAGd edd2||
eddA ed~d2|edcd efgd|e2dA edcA|GAcd edd2|
e2dA edcd|edcd efg2|fgef decd|ABcA GA (3BAG||

Variation for bar 4 is |EAGc edBG|
Variations for the last bar are |BcAB GAEG| and |ABGA EFGE|

Here’s a version that’s a bit more standard for comparison with the above:

X: 1
T: Beauty Spot, The
M: C|
L: 1/8
R: reel
Z: Dow
K: Dmix
A3G A2dB|~c3G EFGE|A2AG AddB|cBcG EDDG|
A3G A2dB|~c3G EFGE|A3c ~B3d|cBcG EDD2||
ed~d2 edcd|ed~d2 eaag|ed~d2 edcA|GAcd ed~d2|
ed~d2 edcd|ed~d2 eaag|fgef decA|GAcd egdc||

John Williams

John Williams plays what sounds like a very old version. I assume he got it from Mikilìn Conlin (RIP), an old box and concertina player from Lisdoonarna, Co Clare, who was much loved and is much missed.

I heard there was an interesting story behind the name of this tune, but no one ever told me. Does anyone know?

Story behind title of this tune

The title is a reference to the story of Diarmuid and Grainne. Diarmuid had a magical spot on his forehead that made him irresistible to any woman who saw it (I think it was either ususally invisible or he kept it covered up—it’s been a while since I read the story). Grainne was betrothed to Fionn mac Cumhaill; Diarmuid was one of the Fianna. Grainne saw the spot at her betrothal feast, fell in love with Diarmuid, and they eloped. Fionn pursued them with vengeance in mind; however, eventually they are reconciled and Diarmuid welcomed back into the Fianna. Years later, he joins Fionn and others in a boar hunt on Ben Bulben and is mortally wounded by the boar. Fionn has the power to heal Diarmuid by letting him drink water from his hands, but twice lets the water slip through his fingers. Fionn’s grandson threatens him with violence if he doesn’t help Diarmuid, so he goes back a third time for water, but when he returns, Diarmuid has died.

Mcsherry´s version

X: 1
T: Beauty Spot, The
M: C|
L: 1/8
R: reel
Z: M.Novo
K: Dmix
~A3G AddB|~c3G E~G3|AAGB AAde|cBcG EDDB|
AAGB AAde|~c3G E~G3|AAGB AAde|cBcG EDDg||
eddg ed (3Bcd|eddg egag|eddg edcA|GG (3Bcd e2dg|
eddg ed (3Bcd|eddg e ~g3|aged dcAF|GA (3Bcd e2dB||

X:6

Uilleann Pipes version learned from Sean Talty, Milltown Malbay, WCSS 1993.
The version is near to Liam O’Flynn’s.

Beauty Spot

X:7 from one of the greatest piping recordings ever, a cylinder of Francis (Chief) O’Neill’s brother-in-law, Barney Delaney. Only four recordings of him exist but pipers are wholly in awe of the swing, technique, and variation they display; Ronan Browne speaks of this on the Vol 3 Piper’s Choice DVD if you need more eulogizing. Sean Donnelly transcribed Delaney’s performanceof this reel in full for An Píobaire in the late 80s - not sure which issue. This is just a basic version of what he played. Note the rolls on C#, a tricky ornament on the chanter, which he plays as if they were no big deal at all; he varies this at times with four tipped C#s, which is even more difficult than the roll to play, again with nary a pause in his insistingly danceable rhythm. In a bit of private correspondence from 1920 O’Neill wrote of the only two pipers in his estimation worthy of being so-called, Delaney and Patsy Touhey; listening to their playing of this reel (which Touhey recorded as well), you can see why he wasn’t enamored with lesser musicians, as able as they may have been.

The recording of Delaney may be heard on the NPU Source website, too, along with his cylinder of the Cook in the Kitchen. The other two discs, or rather, tubes, may be heard at the Dunn Family website.

Beauty Spot

X:8 from O’Neill’s Irish Music 400 Choice Selections Arranged for Piano or Violin - title given is the "Tempting Spot." Barney Delaney called it Colonel Taylor’s; Patsy Touhey called it The Rising Sun.

Lúnasa’s version of “The Beauty Spot”

Taken from Lúnasa’s album "Lá Nua".
I’m not sure about the key of this tune : Emix or Bdor?
No matter about the exact key, this is a pretty good version. :)

Posted by .

The Beauty Spot, X:10

Taught to me by Brian McNamara at Willie Clancy 2016. This version doesn’t make a lot of sense without the stoccatto note being shown but sadly I can’t figure out how to put them in.

I play this with Top of the Cliff