The Wild Geese waltz

Also known as Gye Fiane, Na Geanna Fiaine, Na Géanna Fiáine.

There are 28 recordings of this tune.

The Wild Geese appears in 1 other tune collection.

The Wild Geese has been added to 1 tune set.

The Wild Geese has been added to 44 tunebooks.

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Six settings

X: 1
T: The Wild Geese
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
"_vb"(A3/2B/)|c2(c/4B/4A3/2) (A/4B/4c3/2)|B2(c/B/A/F/) E2|F2A2(A3/2B/)|A4(B3/2c/)|
d2d2(d/4c/4B3/2)|c2c2(c/4B/4A3/2)|(B3/2c/) (.d.c.B.A)|F4(A3/2B/)|
c2(c/4B/4A3/2) (A/4B/4c3/2)|B2(c/B/A/F/) E2|(#~F3/2G/)(A3/2B/c3/2B/)|A4"_pp"(A3/2B/)|
"_p"(d3/2c/B3/2c/d3/2B/)|({d}c3/2B/A3/2B/c3/2A/)|B3/2c/ .d.c.B.A|F4"_pp"A3/2B/|
({d}c3/2B/A3/2B/c3/2A/)|({c}B3/2A/F3/2A/B3/2F/)|({B}A3/2F/E3/2F/A3/2B/)|A7/f/ ({ef}e3/2c/)|
"_ff"(A7/"^Chorus."f/) ({ef}e3/2c/)|(A7/f/) ({ef}e3/2c/)|(d2d'3/2f/ e3/2c/)|(d2d'3/2f/ {ef}e3/2d/)|
(c2c'3/2f/ {ef}e3/2d/)|(c2c'3/2f/ {ef}e3/2c/)|(B2b3/2f/ {ef}e3/2c/)|(B2b3/2f/ {ef}e3/2c/)|
(d2d'3/2f/ {ef}e3/2d/)|(c2c'3/2f/ {ef}e3/2c/)|(B2b3/2d/ {cd}c3/2A/)|F4"_pp"(A3/2B/)|
c2(c/4B/4A3/2) (A/4B/4c3/2)|B2(c/B/A/F/) E2|F3/2G/A3/2c/B3/2c/|A2"^H"A2||
X: 2
T: The Wild Geese
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
GA|(B2 B)>B B/A/G/E/|(A2 A)>B B/A/G/E/|D2 DE/F/ GA/B/|A>B (G2 G)A/B/|
(c2 c)>B A>B|c<A BB/A/ G>A|B<G A2 e2|d>B (A2 A)A/B/|
(c2 c)>B A>B|c<A BB/A/ G>A|B<G A2 A>B|c/B/A/G/ (E2 E)G/A/|
(B2 B)>B B/A/G/E/|(A2 A)>B B/A/G/E/|(D2 D)E/F/ GA/B/|A>B (G2 G)G/A/||
B>A G>A B>G|A>G E>G A>E|G>E D>E G>A|(G4 G)A/B/|
c>B A>B c>A|B>A G>A B>G|A2 ef/e/ d>B|(A4 A)A/B/|
c>B A>B c>A|B>A G>A B>G|A>B c/B/A/G/ EG/A/|
(B2 B)>B B/A/G/E/|(A2 A)>B B/A/G/E/|D2 DE/F/ GA/B/|A>B (G2 G)>e||
d>B G3e|d>B G3e|d>B c3e|d>B c3e|
d>c B3e|d>c B3e|d>B A3e|d>B A3e|
d>B c3e|d>c B3e|d>B A2 AA/B/|c/B/A/G/ (E2 E)G/A/|
(B2 B)>B B/A/G/E/|(A2 A)>B B/A/G/E/|(D2 D)E/F/ GA/B/|A>B (G2 G2)||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 3
T: The Wild Geese
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
c(B/A/) (A/4B/4c/)|BGB|Ae(d/B/)|A2(A/B/)|
c(B/A/) (A/4B/4c/)|BGB|AB (A/G/)|E2(G/A/)|
B(A/G/)B|A(G/E/) (B/A/)|G(E/D/)(E/F/)|G3:|
X: 4
T: The Wild Geese
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
GA|"G"B2 AG B2|"Am"A2 GE BA|"C"G2 ED EF|"G"G4 AB|
"Am"c2 BA A/B/c|"Em"B2 G2 B2|"Am"A2 e2 dB|A4 AB|
"Am"c2 BA A/B/c|"G"B2 G2 G/A/B/G/|"Am"A2 B2 AG|"C"E4 GA|
"G"B2 AG B2|"Am"A2 GE BA|"C"G2 ED EF|"G"G4:|
GA|"G"B>A G>A B>G|"Am"A>G E>F G>E|"C"G>E D>E G>A|"G"G4 AB|
"Am"c>B A>B c>A|"G"B>A G>A B>G|"F"A2 e2 cB|A4 AB|
"Am"c>B A>B c>A|"G"B>A G>A B>A|"Em"G2 B2 AG|"C"E4 DE|
"G"G4 ed|"C"c4 ed|"Am"c4 ed|"Em"B4 ed|"Bm"B4 ed|"Am"A4 ed|"D"A4 G>A|
"G"B>A G>A B>G|"Am"A>G E>F G>E|"C"G>E D>E G>A|G4||
X: 5
T: The Wild Geese
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
"_va"(G3/2A/)|B2(B/4A/4G3/2) (G/4A/4B3/2)|A2(B/A/G/E/) D2|E2G2(G3/2A/)|G4(A3/2B/)|
c2c2(c/4B/4A3/2)|B2B2(B/4A/4G3/2)|(A3/2B/) (.c.B.A.G)|E4(G3/2A/)|
B2(B/4A/4G3/2) (G/4A/4B3/2)|A2(B/A/G/E/) D2|(#~E3/2F/)(G3/2A/B3/2A/)|G4"_pp"(G3/2A/)|
"_p"(c3/2B/A3/2B/c3/2A/)|({c}B3/2A/G3/2A/B3/2G/)|A3/2B/ .c.B.A.G|E4"_pp"G3/2A/|
({c}B3/2A/G3/2A/B3/2G/)|({B}A3/2G/E3/2G/A3/2E/)|({A}G3/2E/D3/2E/G3/2A/)|G7/e/ ({de}d3/2B/)|
"_ee"(G7/"^Bhorus."e/) ({de}d3/2B/)|(G7/e/) ({de}d3/2B/)|(c2c'3/2e/ d3/2B/)|(c2c'3/2e/ {de}d3/2c/)|
(B2b3/2e/ {de}d3/2c/)|(B2b3/2e/ {de}d3/2B/)|(A2a3/2e/ {de}d3/2B/)|(A2a3/2e/ {de}d3/2B/)|
(c2c'3/2e/ {de}d3/2c/)|(B2b3/2e/ {de}d3/2B/)|(A2a3/2c/ {Bc}B3/2G/)|E4"_pp"(G3/2A/)|
B2(B/4A/4G3/2) (G/4A/4B3/2)|A2(B/A/G/E/) D2|E3/2F/G3/2B/A3/2B/|G2"^H"G2||
X: 6
T: The Wild Geese
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
G3/2A/|B2 A/4G3/2 G/4A/4B3/2|A2 B2 (3AGE|D3 E3 G/G/|G4G/4A/4B3/2|
c4 A3/B/c|B4 A/4G3/2|G/4A/4B3/2 Ae3d3/2B/|A4(/A/4B3/2|
c2 BA c/4B/A3/2|B2B2 4A/G3/2 G/4A/4B3/2|A2 G/4A/4B3/2 c/B/A/G/|E4 G3/2A/|
B2B2 4A/4G3/2 G/4A/4B3/2|A2B/A/G/E/ D2|E3 G2G|G4 G3/2A/|
B3/2A/G3/2A/B3/2G/|A3/2G/E3/2G/A3/2E/|G3/2E/D3/2E/G3/2G/|G4 G3/2A/|
Bc3/2B/A3/2B/c3/2A/|B3/2A/G3/2A/B3/2G/|A e3 d3/2B/|A4 G3/2A|
c3/B2/A2/4G3/2A/|B3/2A/G3/2A/B3/2G/|A2 G/4A/4B3/2 c/B/A/G/|E4 G3/2A/|
B2B2/4A/G3/2 G/4A/4B3/2|A2 B/A/G/E/ D2|E3G2G|G2 ze d3/B2/|
G2 z e d3/2B/|G2 ze d3/2B/|c2 ze d3/2B/|c2 ze d3/c2/|
B2 ze d3/2c/|B2 ze d3/2B/|A2 a3/e2// d3/2B/|A2 a3/e2/ / e/ d3/2B/|
c2 ze d3/2c/|B2 ze d3/2B|A2 G/4A/B3/2 c/B/A/G/|E4G3/2A/|
B2 B/4A/4G3/2) (G/4A/4B3/2)|A2(B/A/G/E/) D2|E3 G G2|G4||

Twenty-three comments

The Wild Geese

This is an air, not a waltz. Also, I probably have the mode listed wrong. Sorry, but ‘three sharps’ is the level I am currently operating on. If you know, please correct the entry.

I heard the tune for the first time in this video for a book launch, where a beautiful version is given around the 24 minute mark. I realized that I don’t have any airs yet, and decided that this one would make a great first victim.

This is the version given in O’Neill’s.

Thank you JACKB!

Thanks a bunch, I love this tune and have been looking for a pipe-friendly setting or recording.

Gye Fiane (The Wild Geese)

I first heard it I think on YouTube played by a very traditional solo fiddler; then listened to the Jean Redpath version. The plaintive tune and the odd repeated bars in the chorus caught my imagination as did the (to my ear) peculiar phrasing throughout. I found it again on “The Mad Buckgoat” by the Baltimore Consort -- really liked this version -- and was determined to learn it. I’ve now memorised the fiddle part, but am hoping to find someone who can contribute the chords (as heard on the Buckgoat album). If no one steps up I’ll puzzle them out myself and add an updated abc file. The file I posted here is from the Bruce Olson collection.


I’m not sure I would call it a waltz -- a “lament” maybe? -- and I’m sorry about overriding the tags, but L:8 produced rather disturbing notation 🙂 I’m not an abc wizard so correcting it to Olson’s original L:4 was the easiest way to fix the problem.

Gye Fiane, X:2

I think this is more like what I hear from the recording in question.


I pointed out in your discussion about this tune that there were already 2 versions posted here in the last year, so your submission is a duplication.
You say you listened to Jean Redpath’s “version”. Did you really ? Because I just listened to a clip of her singing “The Wild Geese” on “iTunes”, and also on “Youtube”, and as I thought yesterday , she’s singing the song “The Wild Geese” which was a poem by the Angus poet Violet Jacob and set to music by the late Jim Reid of Arbroath. It has absolutely nothing to do with the tune played by “The Baltimore Consort”, and also recorded by “The Chieftains”.
I suggest you go back and listen a bit closer.

Jean Redpath - singing “The Wild Geese” [ Violet Jacob / Jim Reid ]

“Baltimore Consort” - playing “Gye Faine”, from the “Neal Collection” of 1724.

Posted by .

Sorry, Kenny, was just trying to correct a pretty poor transcription.

no worries….

No apology required from you, “DonaldK”, the above wasn’t aimed at you, but the OP, who started a discussion on the tune yesterday.

Posted by .

Man, these comments can sure get confusing when these submissions get merged.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that these comments are referring to me as the OP or to my original transcription? Otherwise thanks, sorry, and huh? 🙂

For what it’s worth, I never really had much luck with this tune, but I’m looking forward to playing through this new setting.

I loved Eilís Lavelle’s phrasing in the book review video that you originally posted Cheeky Elf. I used JACKB’s setting (X: 2) to get the basic notes, and the video for her (Eilís’s) phrasing. I had it worked up just in time to play it at my dad’s funeral last month; it fit my feelings well and I got lots of compliments on it.



Thank you for sharing, An Draighean. I’m sorry for your loss, but glad you at least had a tune to share. Is that your Geoff Wooff set in the photograph?

Thanks Cheeky Elf; he had severe dementia and was 95-1/2 years old so it was a blessing and a release for him to go.

That is my new Martin Preshaw B set in the photo.

The Wild Geese, X:5

Thanks a lot Cheeky Elf.

Just transposed your transcription into whistle friendly version. It’s easier to read the dots and listen carefully to the beautiful harp.

It’s nice to see this tune getting some attention. I’ve been playing it on the whistle and flute for the last couple of days and I have just tried it again on the fiddle. I’m much happier with my results now than when I first tried playing it a year or so ago.

@ Cheeky Elf played it last evening for hours and hours, couldn’t stop. It’s one of the most haunting airs I ever came across and also one of the most difficult to interprete. Eilís Lavelle’s phrasing is indeed marvelous but next to impossible to achieve on a whistle. I’m sure it will take me a hell of a lot more of those evenings before I can fit in every emotion it deserves. After succeeding with this first big step, I’m convinced the air will evolve with me while aging and it will be different each time I play it depending on my own mood. The air breaths perfect intimate beauty.

Re: The Wild Geese

The video Cheeky Elf linked (for Eilís Lavelle), although interesting, is quite long, so if you want to go straight to the tune in question, note that it’s introduced at right about the 23:45 mark.

Re: The Wild Geese

I’m a little late to the party, but that was a nice version, Dick!

The Wild Geese, X:6

This is a nice version played by Michael O’hEidhin on his CD Ceol Sidhe -Shee music. The link above does not seem to work but you can find it on youtube with a bit of a search.

Re: The Wild Geese

Wild Geese X6
The code for the video is correct but it wont load here. It is on, not ordinary yutube, as I found out.
There are 2 mistakes in the abc’s . Line 3 ,2nd bar and line 5 ,1st bar have 2 B2 ’s where there should only be one. This is because the system will not register the first one on the sheet music so I had to hit it twice to register one B2.This is the first time that this has happened in all the years using this site. Maybe someone can help??