The Twelve Pins reel

Also known as 12 Pins, Charlie Lennon’s, Twelves Pins, The Twelves Pins.

There are 19 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with Ril An Spideal (a few times), The Leitrim Lilter (a few times) and Kilty Town (a few times).

The Twelve Pins has been added to 24 tune sets.

The Twelve Pins has been added to 164 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Six settings

X: 1
T: The Twelve Pins
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
dB~B2 dBGB|dA~A2 dAFA|DEFG ABcA|defg abge|
dB~B2 dBgB|dA~A2 fdAF|DEFG ABcA|1 d2cd AGGB:|2 d2cd AGGg||
~f3e defg|adfd cAAB|cA~A2 DFAB|cedB cAA2|
~f2ef defg|(3agf ga fdAB|c2cB cBAB|~c2dc AGG2|
fd~d2 ad~d2|fded cAAB|cedB cdeg|abga fdde|
~f3g ~a3g|~f2ed cAAB|cBcB cBAB|~c2dc AGGB||
X: 2
T: The Twelve Pins
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
f3e defg|a2fd cAAB|c2cB cBAB|cedB cAA2|
f3e defg|a2fd cAAB|c2cB cBAB|cedc BGG2|
f3e defg|a2fd cAAB|c2cB cdeg|a2ga fdde|
f3g a3g|f3e dcAB|c2cB cBAB|cedc BGG2||
X: 3
T: The Twelve Pins
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
B||:dBB2 dBGB|dAA2 dAFA|DEFG ABcA|defg afge|
dBB2 dBGB|dAA2 dAFA|DEFG ABcA|1 dBcA G3B:||2 dBcA G3e|
||:f2fe defg|addc dcAB|c2cB cdeg|aged caae|
f2fe defg|addc dcAB|c2cB cBAB|1 cAFA G3e:||2 cAFA G3|
X: 4
T: The Twelve Pins
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:dB B2 dBGB|dA A2 dAFA|DEFG ABcA|defg abge|
dB B2 dBGB|dA A2 dAFA|DEFG ABcA|1 d2cA AGGB:|2 d2cA AGGg||
|:f3e defg|adfd dcAB|cA A2 DFAB|cedB cAA2|
f3e defg|adfd dcAG|DEFG ABcA|1 d2cA AGGB:|2 d2cA AGGg||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 5
T: The Twelve Pins
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:dB~B2 dBGB|dA~A2 dAFA|DEFG ABcA|defg afge|
dB~B2 dBGB|dA~A2 dAFA|DEFG ABcA|d2cd AGG2:|
~f3e defg|adfd cAAB|cBAF DFAB|cedB cAA2|
~f3e defg|adfd cAAB|c2cB cBAB|cAdc AGG2|
~f3e defg|adfd cAAB|cBAB cdeg|abga fdde|
fefg ~a3g|f2ed cBAB|c2cB cBAB|cedc AGG2||
X: 6
T: The Twelve Pins
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
dB3 dBGB | dA3 dAFA | DEFG ABcA | defg a2fe |
dB3 dBGB | dA3 dAFA | D2 FG ABcA | d2cd AGG2 :|
f3e d2fg | adfd cAAB | cA3 D2FA | cedB cA3 |
f3e defg | adfd cAAB | cBcB cBAB | ccdc BGGg ||
fd3 a2dd | fded cAAB | c2cB cdeg | a2ga fdde |
f3g a3g | fefd cAAB | cBcB cBAB | c2dc ABce |]

Twenty-four comments

A Charlie Lennon tune. The "Twelve Pins" refers to a mountain range in Connemara. I like this tune because it doesn’t seem to be able to decide whether it wants to be in Gmaj or Dmix, and just sort of "hangs there" until the next tune kicks in. It can be a difficult one to back if you haven’t come across it before. This gets played practically every week at my local session. This version is transcribed direct from a minidisc recording thereof. There are a few variations in certain bars each time through, e.g.
bar 1: |d3B dBGB|
bar 4: |defg afge|
bar 6: |dA~A2 fAFE|
bars 11,15 etc in 2nd part |cA~A2 DFAB|
Some of these variations and more can be found in a transcription on JC’s (#181), and there’s a different version again on Norbeck’s index.

For a harmonization that’s a bit different you can substitute some of the G major chords for E min to avoid repetition, e.g.

1st part (G or Em)
|:Em7 | Am7 | D | D7 | Em7 | Am7 | D | D7 G :|

2nd part (Dmix)
|:D | D | C | Am7 | D | Bm7 | Am7 | D7 G :|

Whoops I forgot to say this is dedicated to Brad

"Come back wherever you are!"

One last thing: my transcription is fiddle-orientated, but if you’re playing flute or something like a zouk in open D where you can trill or cran easily on a high "d", then you could vary the last line to e.g.
|effg ga{b}ag|fd (3ded {e}dcAB|c…

Good Post!

What a good tune! Thanks Dow!
-Troy

Posted by .

I have more often heard the B part played:

f3e defg|a2fd cAAB|c2cB cBAB|cedB cAA2|
f3e defg|a2fd cAAB|c2cB cBAB|cedc BGG2|
f3e defg|a2fd cAAB|c2cB cdeg|a2ga fdde|
f3g a3g|f3e dcAB|c2cB cBAB|cedc BGG2||

I think this is the way Charlie Lennon plays it on his ‘Musical Memories Vol I’.

Oh well, sorry Charlie :-)

Dow, I’m sure Mr. Lennon is delighted that his tune has been embraced and personalised by traditional players.

The Twelve Pins (reel)

The Lord of the Dance were in Bristol last week, and their fiddlers Orla and Daniel very kindly came to the Hibernia Irish music workshop on their Saturday morning off to teach us some tunes. After the LotD’s Saturday evening performance Orla and Daniel, together with a number of the dancers in the company, came along to our session at the Plume of Feathers for a stupendous late evening of music.
This is the version of The Twelve Pins that Orla (who I believe comes from Co. Clare) taught us on the Saturday morning, a version that differs in many respects from what has already been posted:

B||:dBB2 dBGB|dAA2 dAFA|DEFG ABcA|defg afge|
dBB2 dBGB|dAA2 dAFA|DEFG ABcA|1 dBcA G3B:||2 dBcA G3e|
||:f2fe defg|addc dcAB|c2cB cdeg|aged caae|
f2fe defg|addc dcAB|c2cB cBAB|1 cAFA G3e:||2 cAFA G3|

In the first half the B2’s were played as rolls, and the A2’s were played as very fast open-string rolls, the fingers barely touching the strings.

12 pins

I’m not so sure about the 4th measure of the B part Trevor. It sounds strange to me. The version posted here at The Session is the setting I’ve heard played most often. It is a bit different, or shall I say more session friendly, than what Charlie Lennon has written in his book of tunes. Some of the variations in his book are very difficult. Many of Charlie’s tunes that are played in sessions have changed slightly. Such is the process of this tradition.

Posted by .

~CK, the fragment "aged caa" in the 4th measure of the B part will sound quite familiar to many players. This is because it is a motif that occurs in a lot of tunes, two well-known ones being The Galtee and Return to Camden Town.

The Twelve Pins was initially not known to us before Orla taught it. I believe she mentioned that it was common in Clare, and she probably chose it because it is a technically fairly simple tune that would suit teaching to a dozen or so players of varying abilities in a limited amount of time - barely an hour in this instance because she and Daniel had to get back to Bristol for sound tests at the Hippodrome before the afternoon performance of the Lord of the Dance.

What I posted is of course the bare bones of the tune Orla played, and I haven’t attempted to put in the ornamentation that she used. My personal preference is to play the B2s and A2s in the A part as triples rather than rolls, and there is plenty of opportunity in this tune for cuts and other ornaments for the adventurous player.

None of the above …

If you care to play it the way Charlie Lennon plays it then you should listen to how he plays it on Musical Memories V1. Brian Lennon is playing flute. It is very different - and lovelier — than any transcription given here.
This conversation shows the problem with learning from the dots rather than going to the source. I’d be happy to send a clip of Charlie playing the tune to anybody who wants it.

This conversation *would* show the problem with learning from the dots if anyone involved in the conversation had learnt the tune from the dots!

Learning the tune - none of the above is the correct answer

The point is that we have here several different versions— none of which is appropriate for learning the second part. It’s obvious that nobody who has transcribed the tune here has learned it from Charlie’s playing. The De Dannan setting, on Anthem, is in a different key and lovely as it is to listen to, it is not as Charlie wrote it or played it.
Michael O’Hynes, on Ceoil Siodh, plays it beautifully, near enough as Charlie wrote it and plays it. It’s a gorgeous, stately tune and it’s a shame to wreck it or treat it casually.

Hi David. I appreciate that and I agree with you regarding fidelity to the original. I am always keen to be as authentic as possible when I transcribe tunes to post online, especially when it comes to the compositions of people who are still alive. In the case of this particular tune, I happen to have Charlie Lennon’s book "Musical Memories" to hand. I could easily edit the ABC to follow exactly how he wrote it. It would take me probably about 5 minutes. Anyone learning the tune from this website (which I would hope they don’t!!) would then be able to play the notes exactly as they were composed originally. I find myself thinking, though, that if people want the original version they can easily just buy the book themselves or even better get Charlie’s recording and learn it off that. If I leave my transcription as is, I’m leaving it as a poor representation of a living, breathing tune that came from one of my favourite fiddlers who I really enjoy playing with, and who gave this tune such life in a pub session in 2003 that it made me want to transcribe it and share it and I can still remember exactly how it sounded without listening to my minidisc recording of the session. If I delete this now, then I’ll be deleting that extra bit of session information that could be used to triangulate for a "sessionable" setting of the tune, and all we’d have would be a copy of what’s in Charlie’s book. Isn’t it better to have the best of both worlds and keep it as is? Let me know, because I’d be happy to change it if you think it’s just too way out. I am in favour of fidelity to the original as I said, but I have inner conflict over this.

Right you are!!

That’s it. The pure drop. Just perfect. Thanks for posting the clip. I revisited this issue today because a very good piper played the tune a zillion miles an hour last night, on his whistle, after many pints had come and gone. The turn was sufficiently different that we couldn’t play it together. He said he’d learned it from a De Danann recording (Anthem, as it turns out). I couldn’t imagine that Frankie would change such a lovely tune. But De Danann had changed the key and also changed the second part. Because of the key change, which significantly alters the character of the tune, they probably felt it was legitimate to change the notes and drop the variation the second time through the turn.
Their playing is lovely but not something that translates well back into the original key. They were playing with the tune. It shouldn’t serve as a model for learning. Of course we might disagree about the best model for learning. As the composer wrote it? As De Danann play it? As the strongest player in the local session plays it?
There are lots of people who don’t have access either to the book or to Charlie’s CD. For many people this site — and these transcriptions — are all they have to give them a tune they might only have heard played (inadequately) at a session. Somebody earlier thanked you for such a lovely tune. Rightly or wrongly, he did learn it from this site. So if ever a tune needed a faithful transcription, this is it.
I think you should offer it as Charlie plays it, which is nearly identical to the version in Musical Memories. I know it would be appreciated by many. When I spoke with Chris about it earlier today he said he knew what you’d do. You’d learn both versions. But I don’t know what you play other than the way Charlie plays it on the clip.
Is your setting at the top the way you heard it played at a session with Charlie in Spiddal? I think we’d agree that the way to learn a tune is from a master. Especially one who wrote the tune. I have only heard him play it the one way. While somebody said Charlie would be delighted to hear trad musicians changing his tune, I wonder how happy he’d be if he were in a session with somebody who played a significantly different version than he did.

OK no worries. I’ve altered my transcription. I’ve even written bars 5, 6 and 11 of the B-part according to what is in his book of compositions as he plays them differently in the YouTube recording, but then I guess he’s allowed to change his own tune but nobody else is???

For some reason I don’t feel very good about making the changes.

I don’t know why you’d feel bad about posting a better version of a tune. You should feel better.
Is this a real question? "I guess he’s allowed to change his own tune but nobody else is???" It isn’t an issue of allowing or not allowing. It’s an issue that involves helping a session along and relating to other musicians rather than being a soloist when it isn’t appropriate. It’s about being supportive by playing a setting that involves other people and by being aware that what you are playing might make it difficult for other people to play with you in a session. Posting a "bad" setting — which some people learn — makes things worse for the community.
The setting that you posted now is better because it better reflects the composer’s intentions and it will help to make the tune more accessible to more people than a post of an idiosyncratic version.

Helping whose session along? We can’t all go to Charlie Lennon’s session. The version I originally posted was from the session I go to. I don’t think that that was necessarily a "bad" setting just because it wasn’t the composer’s original. There was nothing inherently "bad" about it (e.g. untraditional accidentals that don’t work or typos making notes in the wrong part of the stave). "Bad" is subjective. Having a tune "right" is also subjective.

Did you notice how, in the video, what Liz Carroll was playing was quite different to what Charlie Lennon was playing? First time through the B-part, she totally missed the variation for the 3rd line while CL didn’t miss it. Was she making it hard for CL to play with her? Was she being unsupportive and making things worse for the community? Was she showing a lack of ability to relate to CL?

Did you notice how, in the video, what Liz Carroll was playing was quite different to what Charlie Lennon was playing? NO.
First time through the B-part, she totally missed the variation for the 3rd line while CL didn’t miss it. DID SHE GET IT THE SECOND TIME THROUGH?
Was she making it hard for CL to play with her? PROBABLY
Was she being unsupportive and making things worse for the community? PROBABLY
Was she showing a lack of ability to relate to CL? DON’T KNOW.

I am delighted after many years to have found out what this tune was called….sort of learned to play it but now can listen to the master.

re the you tube as posted by the good Dr. Dow

Shock, horror; dare I suggest that Liz Carroll was, oh my, (whispers) ‘noodling’? :-P

The Twelve Pins, X:5

As closed as possible to the youtube clip above.

The Twelve Pins, X:6

This is what I hear while listening to Charlie and Brian Lennon’s playing (1st time) on Musical Memories album.