The Piper In The Meadow Straying hornpipe

Also known as An Piobaire Ar Strae Sa Mhoinear, Piper In The Meadow, The Piper Through The Meadow Straying, The Piper Through The Meadows Straying.

There are 15 recordings of this tune.

The Piper In The Meadow Straying has been added to 2 tune sets.

The Piper In The Meadow Straying has been added to 81 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: The Piper In The Meadow Straying
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
Bc|dedc B2BA|GFGA B2Gd|ABcA GAFA|~G2B2 B2 A2|
dedc (3Bcd BA|~G3A B2Gd|ABcA GAFA|G2BA G2:|
|:G2|~A3B c2A2|BGBc d3B|cAcd e2A2|d2de f2fe|
dedc B2BA|GFGA B2Gd|ABcA GAFA|G2B2 B2 A2|
dedc B2 BA|~G3A B2Gd|ABcA GAFA|G2BA G2:|
X: 2
T: The Piper In The Meadow Straying
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
Bc|dedc B2BA|GFGA B2G2|ABcA G2F2|G2B2 B2 A2|
dedc B3A|GFGA B2G2|ABcA G2F2|G2B2 G2:|
|:D2|A3B c2A2|BABc d3B|cBcd e2g2|fed^c d2 (3AB=c|
dedc B3A|GFGA B2G2|ABcA G2F2|G2B2 B2 A2|
dedc B3A|G3A B2G2|ABcA GFEF|G2B2 G2:|
# Added by JACKB .

Fifteen comments

Not only is it a set dance, it’s also near as damn it ‘Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly’.

Play “Deck the Halls etc” at other than a Christmas session and I think eyebrows would raised, but this one, the resemblance probably wouldn’t be noticed all that much out of context.

hey, this was my set dance. Like i mean it was the tune i chose for my set dance. I can’t actually remember the dance i did to it though…hmmmmm….good tune but.

Er….a set dance can be a hornpipe. It can be both. Unless of course it’s a double jig, not a hornpipe. It can’t be both of those. *grin* But just because a hornpipe is a set dance doesn’t mean it’s not a hornpipe…


anyway this tune doesn’t seem to me a hornpipe, and it’s not played swung as a hornpipe.

Well, it’s on the list of An Coimisiun’s set dances as a hornpipe (which is how Fraser could dance his/her non-traditional set to it) -- I’ve never heard the Furey setting, but keep in mind that there are two ways to play hornpipes -- the swung way (dah dee dah dee dah dee dah) and the straight way (dit dit dit dit dit dit dit dit), and both are considered correct (or rather, both are not considered correct, depending upon whether you’re a glass-full or glass-empty kind of person).

I shall leave the argument as to which way is correct up to the ethnomusicologists -- insofar as I know, the swung way originated in England and spread it’s way into Ireland through Dublin in the mid-to-late 1700’s and is now the most common (but not necessarily only) way to play hornpipes.


Even accepting Zina’s points, it seems misleading to have this tune classified under hornpipes. I think few people looking for it would expect to find it in under this classification.

The structure of the tune is worth a comment. As given here, it is in the form AABABA (with A being 8 bars and B only 4). Note that A is actually a 4 bar phrase repeated, with only the last beat changing (B2 becomes G2).

This structure is not that of the usual hornpipe - “AABB” or “AABBCC” with A and B (and C) being 8 bars. Since this is a dance tune and the dance community classifies this as a set dance, it should probably be listed here as a set dance.

That being said, set dances that are not in triplet rhythm are played with a hornpipe rhythm, which (if we insist on transcribing them in 4/4 or 2/2) has TWO beats per measure, with essentially equal emphasis on each. To adopt Zina’s phrasing above, this would better be phrased (DAH dee dee dee DAH dee dee dee) or even better (DEE dah dah dah DEE dah dah dah).

Any “swing” feel of the hornpipe comes from the emphasis on each of the two beats.

Note that reels and double jigs also have 2 beats to the measure (despite the fact that they are traditionally transcribed in 4/4 or 6/8). In reels and double jigs, however, there is a light emphasis on beat 2 of the measure.

piper inthe meadow

there was a version of this tune on a Horslips album back in the 70s if anyone can find it - no idea what happened to my copy. I think the album was called ‘Drive the Cold Winter Away’

Re: The Piper In The Meadow Straying

I’d bet that “Deck The Halls With Boughs Of Holly” was born of this tune with lyrics added in the 19th Century.
Regarding HORNPIPES, There are multiple examples of tunes in various meters being called “Hornpipes” particular from tiunes of the Scots/English Borders There are Double and Triple hornpipes in 6/4 and 9/4 for example.

Re: The Piper In The Meadow Straying

The melody now known as ‘Deck the halls’ appears to date back to the 16th century and has Welsh words entitled ‘Nos Galan’ meaning ‘New Year’s Eve’. The English lyrics ‘Deck the hall with boughs of holly’ are by Thomas Oliphant and date to 1862. They are not a translation of the Welsh but have a similar sentiment.

“A piper on the meadows straying” was a duet in the musical play ‘Zorinski’ (1795), with music by Dr. Samuel Arnold although he seems to have based it on the older melody. The music was published in Walker’s Hibernian Magazine the following year and in ‘O’Farrell’s ‘Collection of National Music for the Union Pipes’ (c. 1800) as well as other early publications.