The Handsome Ploughboy reel

Also known as The Handsome Plough Boy.

The Handsome Ploughboy has been added to 11 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: The Handsome Ploughboy
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
D2|:G2 G2 GB AG|F2 A2 Ac BA|G2 G2 GB dg|fe dc BA GF|
G2 G2 GB AG|F2 A2 Ac BA|GB dg fe dc|B2 G2 G2 ((3def)|
gd Bd gd Bd|ge ce ge ce|af df af df|gf ed cB AG|
Bd Gd Bd Gd|ce Ae ce Ae|dg fe dc BA|G2 G2 G2 z2:|
X: 2
T: The Handsome Ploughboy
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: E2 |"A" A2 A2 AcBA | "E7" G2 B2 BdcB | "A" A2 A2 Acea | "E7" gfed cBAG |
"A" A2 A2 AcBA | "E7" G2 B2 BdcB | "A" Acea "E7" gfed | "A" c2 A2 A2 :|
|: e2 |"A" aece aece | "D" afdf afdf | "E7" bgeg bgeg | "A" agfe "E7" dcBA |
"A" ceAe ceAe | "Bm" dfBf dfBf | "E7" cegf edcB | "A" A2 c2 A2 :|

Five comments

The Handsome Ploughboy

This tune is found in the old tune-books in the key of A Major, but for session use it works nicely in G — a concession for whistle and flute players.

It’s quite a rousing tune and works well in medleys.

What old tune books is it found in? Is it of English origin?

In A

The tune is in O’Neill’s, Cole’s One Thousand Tunes, and in one of the Peter Kennedy tune-books. Scottish? English? Who can say? Here’s a transcription in A from John Chambers:

X: 1
T: the Handsome Ploughboy
%T: the Handsome Plowboy
C: Trad
O: England, Scotland
M: C|
L: 1/8
R: hornpipe, reel
Z: 2006 John Chambers <>
K: A
E2 \
| "A"A2A2 AcBA | "E7"G2B2 BdcB | "A"A2A2 Acea | "E7"gfed cBAG |
y2 \
| "A"A2A2 AcBA | "E7"G2B2 BdcB | "A"Acea "E7"gfed | "A"c2A2 A2 :|
|: e2 \
| "A"aece aece | "D"afdf afdf | "E7"bgeg bgeg | "A"agfe "E7"dcBA |
y3 \
| "A"ceAe ceAe | "Bm"dfBf dfBf | "E7"cegf edcB | "A"A2c2 A2y2 :|

X: 2 "The Handsome Ploughboy"

The John Chambers transcription given above by Larry Ayers. I have an identical transcription, same chords, from Nigel Gatherer, where he has only one difference, the lead-in to the B-part ~
|: (3efg |\
"A" aece aece | - - -

I have an interesting and quite different way with this melody which I’ll have to think on, as it is that different, recently reminded of it by Nigel, that it might need to be entered separately and linked to here? I also would like to try to remember where and who I picked up this curious version…