Caracena jig

There are 3 recordings of this tune.

Caracena has been added to 28 tunebooks.

Download ABC

One setting

X: 1
T: Caracena
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
GBd gfd|cd Bc AB|GBd gfd|efg abc'|
bc'b agf|gfd ecA|Bcd efg|BcA G3:|
d^cd efg|afd bgd|afd ^cde|fAA AB^c|
dAA eAA|fAA gfg|aba gfe|fdd d^cB|
AB^c de/f/g|afd bgd|afd ^cde|fAA AB^c|
dAA eAA|fAA gfg|abc' bag|fed cBA|

Nineteen comments

A completely rocking tune

…composed by Bill Whelan. I found it on the Celtic Heartbeat Collection CD, and an accordion player and I are trying to get it into the local repertoire. It’s something of a challenge with the quirky little second bar of the A section, the key change into the B section, and the spirals way up beyond where flutes normally fear to tread.

On the CD, it begins as a pipes/fiddle/box trio, I think, and continues to build, adding a string section and sleighbells and tympani and the whole nine yards by the end. That arrangement isn’t for the hardcore traditionalists, but who cares? I think it’s completely inspiring, and even when you peel off all the orchestral extras and play it in a pub, it’s STILL a rockin’ tune.

I have an anecdote about the tune, but must save it for another time.

—-Michael B.

This tune is originally part of the Seville Suite, composed by Mr Whelan, which commemorates the Flight of the Earls to Spain. Incidentally, the lead musicians are Davy Spillane and M


OK, the tune was written by an Irishman, but it sounds much more like a galician tune. In Galicia the jigs are called ‘muneira’ and the splitting of 6/8 in 3groups is more common than in the irish celts.


Caracena was meant to sound Galician/Spanish, I think… they use it in Riverdance for a Spanish dancer, if I’m not confusing myself…

Caracena Chords?

I fell in love with Caracena and learned the tune on guitar and then fiddle. Taught it to my daughter who plays the fiddle, but then found myself perplexed when trying to figure out the chords. Usually I can figure out chords but this thing got my head all twisted round and I gave up. Maybe I just didn’t try hard enough. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to figure out what he was doing on the recording but just make up my own. But if anyone knows the chords, I think it would be a great service to share them.

How do you get to C ??

In the tune "Caracena" -search the tunes section- there is a C above B in the 4/5 bars. The version I heard was played on pipes and concertina/box. The C key gets you the 2nd octave C on my chanter, but how do you get there on fiddle?? Do you slide the first finger up to the B after the A????

Posted by .

Re: How do you get to C ??

Shifting to second position should get you there nice and handy. If you can, find an open string (like an open E) close to where the high C is. Use the break the open string gives you to shift your hand up the neck so that your index finger would play high G instead of high F. The C you’re looking for is right under your pinky (as if you were playing a normal high B - well B flat actually). In most tunes you’ll find a suitable place to do the shift.

Re: How do you get to C ??

Oh, some people have enough stretch in their pinky to just reach for the C. I don’t though.

Re: How do you get to C ??

You could do it like this:

| GBd gfd | e f g a b c’ |
shift 4 1 2 3 4

1=index finger
2=second finger
3=third finger
4=fourth finger (pinky)

Note: get the f with the pinky on the A string

But, I’d prefer to just slide up the 2nd finger (high g) to the high a position (after playing the g) and carry on from there. You just don’t have an open string this way, but that’s ok.

Re: How do you get to C ??

Bleh, the number/note spacings didn’t come out right. Second way is better anyway.

Re: How do you get to C ??

I don’t and always avoid tunes like Sean sa Cheo, Moving Cloud, etc. After all there are lots of other great tunes to play!

Re: How do you get to C ??

After 5 years of carrying around a mountain of shame regarding my lazy stupid pinky finger, and just plain refusing to play tunes featuring this note (or playing them in a different key so as to achieve the same end) - I am pleased to report that I magically became able to play this note with my pinky two days ago. Not just slidey slidey and sort of getting it. Actually picking the finger up and being able to clearly play a B, then play a C, and back and forth.

I have no idea why I couldn’t do it one day and then was able to the next. I have been spending alot of time lately playing tunes in different keys and working on slide rolls. My hand has probably learned how to move around a bit more freely and that might explain the newly acquired stretch.

Re: How do you get to C ??

Thanks for the advice, but it may be lift to the g and slide thing since it starts at e and goes to c. Also there is the pesky b-c-b in the next bar. I’ll write back in a bit when I can practice it.

Posted by .

Re: How do you get to C ??

There are a couple of ways to hit those high notes (in my own rough order of preference):

1) stretch
Pros: no shifting allows it to be faster and generally easier and cleaner.
Cons: 1) a little uncomfortable 2) sounds terrible (nasty slide) if you need to use your 4th finger on a different, adjacent note.

2) shift (to 2nd position) on an open string before:
Pros: sounds clean, allows you to hit that b with your 3rd finger
Cons: 1) needs an open string 2) you can’t do it cleanly if you need to play an f/f# between the open string and the c, 3) you need to be able to get back to 1st position cleanly as well. 4) requires advance planning

3) crawl/creep to 2nd position (one finger down, stretch other fingers into 2nd position)
Pros: allows for the aforementioned f/f#, doesn’t sound as mushy as a bad slide.
Cons: tricky to get used to and do cleanly, requires advance-planning, need to get back to 1st position too.

4) Variation! (play different notes, to allow for 1-3, or just leave out the c in a nice way)
Pros: sounds great if you can swing it
Cons: 1) it’s not *always* ok to vary the notes, 2) requires planning AND creativity AND good taste

5) Shift on another string, and play the f# with the 4th finger on the A string.
Pros: at least it’s cleaner than sliding
Cons: 1) gives away that you are a classically-trained violinist. 2) I personally dislike the muffled sound of that f# on the A-string

6) Slide the 4th finger (preferably separating bow strokes between notes)
pros: possible when all else fails, no advance planning reqired, can sound not-terrible if practiced enough
cons: 1) sounds uniformly sloppier than the above four methods, 2) requires much more work to sound clean than the above four, 3) should never really be necessary

Tunes like Sean Sa Ceo, Moving Cloud, etc are out there. It seems like a bit of a cop-out to refuse to play them just because of that one note. But that’s my $.02.

Re: How do you get to C ??

A tip on reaching that high C if you prefer to stretch or slide the 4th finger: bring the left thumb down the finger board a little towards you so that it is more or less level with the 2nd finger (which for most people is the longest finger). This gives more balance to the hand and will also make the high B easier to reach - some players have problems with that.
If you have the thumb right back against the nut, as I’ve seen some players do, it makes it just that little more difficult to reach the B, and more so if you need to play the C.
Try relaxing the left thumb so that you can move it where you want, and certainly avoid the dreaded "death grip" between the thumb and hand at all costs - that is a sure guarantee for tightening the hand and fingers and getting tired.
When you’ve got a relaxed thumb and hand you might start thinking about moving the hand up to the higher positions. I think it’s a little pejorative to say that it shows a classical training. It’s nothing of the sort; it’s just another useful tool in the player’s toolchest, and there are enough tunes that go a few notes beyond high B to make it worth while - we’re not talking about the dusty end of the fingerboard!
I haven’t had any classical violin lessons (although I’m a classically trained cellist) and I’ve taught myself to use those higher positions on the fiddle where necessary. The secret is slow steady practice, with a relaxed hand and a keen ear for intonation. It shouldn’t take too long, and when you’ve got it you’ll probably wonder what all the fuss was about 🙂 - after all, some people would say that good rolls and cuts are more difficult.
One further point, the higher up the string your left hand goes the closer your bow should be to the bridge, otherwise the tone can feel a bit too soft.

Re: How do you get to C ??

Gosh this is getting complex! At least on my chanter I can just run up to the c with the chanter key- assuming the reed makes it

Posted by .


I always loved this tune, but it is not a muiñeira (not munera). In Galiza, the correct name for Galicia, there are a lot of different kinds of tunes in 6/8 with different blends and feelings but Caraçena is a wonderful Whelan tune, not a muiñeira.
I also would like to say the correct and the only one name official is "A Coruña", without L.

Sweet tune.

I just heard this one on the local classical music station and I said to myself, "hey, what a sweet jig! A whole orchestra is behind it too!" then I came here to look it up after I looked up the name. I’ll get on learning it soon…

Now in regards to the comment "…and the spirals way up beyond where flutes normally fear to tread." From where do you hail that flutists don’t tread on high notes? ;)

As for the high c’, I might need a bit of practice sliding up to that second position to get the note in tune, but hey, it’s all the fun of playing, I guess.

I finally got it!

After several false starts and intermittently forgetting about this tune, pipes, reeds and fingers all came to together and I finally nailed this puppy. Next step is to get the wife to learn it on accordion.