The Halting March barndance

Also known as My Father’s Story, The Pikeman’s March, The Pikeman’s, The Pikeman, Sgéal M’Athar.

There are 16 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Halting March has been added to 107 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: The Halting March
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
A2 B/c/d|e e2 d|e>d ef|ec A2|G2 Bc|d d2 e|dB GB|d2 cB|
A2 B/c/d|e e2 d|e>d ef|ec A2|a g2 e|d c2 B|A>B AG|1 A2E2:|2 A2z2||
a a2 g|e d2 e|g>a ge|dB G2|a a2 g|e d2 e|g>a ge|g2 a/g/e/g/|
a a2 g|e d2 e|g>a ge|dB G2|A>B cd|e2 dB|A>B cd|e2 e2|
a a2 g|e d2 e|g>a ge|dB G2|A>B cd|e2 dB|A>B AG|A2E2||
X: 2
T: The Halting March
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|: E |A2 B/c/d e2- e^d | e>^d ef e^c A2 | G2 G/A/B/c/ dd- d>e | dB GB de/d/ cB |
A2 A/B/c/d/ ee- e>^d | e>^d ef e^c A2 | ag- ge dc- cB | A>B A^G A2- A :|
e |aa- ag ed- de | g>a ge dB G2 | aa- ag ed- de | g>a ge g2 e/f/g/^g/ |
aa- aa/g/ ed- de | g>a ge dB G2 | A2 B/c/d e2 dB | A>B cd e2- e^g |
aa- ag ed- de | g>a ge dB GE | A>B cd e2 dB | AA- A^G A2- A |]
X: 3
T: The Halting March
R: barndance
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|: A2 (3Bcd e2 ed | e>d ef e^c A2 | G2 Bc d2 de | dB GB d2 cB |
A2 (3Bcd e2 ed | e>d ef e^c A2 | ag- ge dc- cB | A2 AG A2- A2 :|
|: aa- ag ed- de | g>a ge dB G2 | aa- ag ed- de | g>a ge g2 eg |
aa- ag ed- de | g>a ge dB GB | A>B cd e2 dB | A>B cd e2 e2 |
aa- ag ed- de | g>a ge dB GB | A>B cd e2 dB | A2 AG A2- A2 |]

Twenty comments


Rhythm: 2/4 MARCH ( not a polka! !)
Source: The Boys of the Lough: 1973 second album
Transcription: Gian Marco Pietrasanta (craniota)

Nice post, craniota! I learned this tune donkey’s years ago but not many people know it these days.
I would prefer to see this notated in 4/4. Also the final E in the first-time bar and at the end of the tune should IMHO be placed at the beginning of the tune as the upbeat (anacrusis, pick-up bar) where it belongs. The tune cannot end on an E as implied but must end on an A. In the B music when a quaver (1/8 note) is followed by a crotchet(1/4 note) on the same note (a), the "halting" effect is introduced by playing the quarter note very stacatto. This effect was meant to represent the thrust of the pike (hopefully into the practice dummy!).

Halting March

Do you really thinkthatthisisapolka?
Its a military drill march,sometimes called the Pikeman’s March. Does anyone knowmore about its origin.
Noel Jackson
Angels of the North

Polka??? !!!

It’s a march. And yes, it’s sometimes called the Pikeman which waht I know it as.

The Thatch Ceildh Band play this…FAST! Does that make it a polka?

Another transcription can be found here, in 4/4:

tune 38, page 15
"Irish Traditional Music: Session Tunes Book 3"
Anthony Sullivan - Halshaw Music

Nice tune

mayo trad group ceide have recorded this march but their cd has not been released yet

Posted by .

Origin of

This march was published in the Gems of Melody (Seóda Ceóil) books published by Pigott& Co Ltd Dublin as an original song called Sgéal M’Athar (My Fathers Story) with poetry by P.T, Mc Ginley (my grandfather) and music by Carl G Hardebeck .These two men men knew each other in Belfast in Gaelic League circles circa 1908-1912.
There are words in Irish and Englishi n the published version and we have another verse or two in Irish in the family.

Halting march origin

The band I play in does a great version of this tune as a military march. From what I understand it’s origins are with the pikemen of northern Ireland and it was used a training tool. The ordered set of breaks in it are indicitive of the insertion and removal of the pike. The cadence is definitely military. In general the feeling of the tune is one of the various military parades that were used to train with the various weapons.

Discussion: Name that March ! ~
# Posted on July 19th 2007 by Bannerman

ComhaltasLive #218 - 4: Ceoltóirí na Mainistreach - 2 Marches:

Two marches played beautifully by "Ceoltóirí na Mainistreach" from Ennis, County Clare, recorded at the Senior Céilí Band competition, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2006, Letterkenny, County Donegal…

1.) "The Pikeman’s March" / "The Halting March"

2.) "John O’Shea’s March"
Key signature: G, A & D Major
Submitted on July 24th 2005 by ceolachan.

Wrong Mode?

I tried flating the F# and this tune sounded better in A minor rather than Ador.

F natural? Shocking!! Make it as sharp as a pike!

It probably is best to use both f natural and f #t in different places actually, or, as a contrasting variation, in the same place. c/c# both come naturally when you play this march in E on flute or whistle.


Does anyone know the name of the Scottish version: Castle something or something dubh??

Open the Door for Three

Kieran O’Hare, Liz Knowles, and Pat Broaders (aka Open the Door for Three) play a crackin’ version of this tune on the closing track of their self-titled album.

X: 3 “The Pikeman’s March” ~ Bulmer & Sharpley

B: "Music From Ireland, Volume Two", Dave Bulmer & Neil Sharpley, 1974, page 21, tune #77
ISBN: 0-9503784-10

Some slight adjustments have been made to aid comparison ~ notes are grouped as 4/4 instead of 2/2, or:
| g>a ge dB GB | instead of | g>age dBGB |
And, possibly a mistake? ~ they notate the B-part as repeating? ~ ending it ~ | A2 AG A4 :|

Crooked B part or not?

HI all,

The way I learned this tune is pretty much as notated with the B part short the second time through. But I just listened to the Raw Bar Collective’s recording of it again (what a powerful sound!), and they play it even. Does anyone know about the crookedness vs um…well, not-crookedness?

tmg-I don’t think of this tune as "crooked." To me crooked is a section with 7 measures, or 9, or maybe 7and a half. This is more like a set dance with a longer B section. That being said, in my admittedly less-than-vast experience I’ve always heard it as notated above, with an 8 bar A section and a 12 bar B section

just slightly crooked

Mixing of 8-bar A section and a 12-bar B section is not unusual as a Set Dance; as in, say, St. Patrick’s Day, well-known set dance tune. FBOWorse, though this tune category is missing on ‘s tune lookup, set dances will still appear under "Jigs" and are submitted as such in 6/8 time, but with the extra bars.. no big deal.. unless you’re set dancing. ;-)

Lyrics to: The Halting March, The Pikeman’s March, The Pikeman, The Pikeman’s, My Father’s Story, Sgeal M Athar tune

Does anyone have any sort of lyrics to these tunes: The Halting March, The Pikeman’s March, The Pikeman, The Pikeman’s, My Father’s Story, Sgeal M Athar tune, which I believe are all the same tune, just different names.