The eagle’s Whistle (march)
Source: Michael Tubridy
Tune requested by Kath
MARCH, not polka.
MARCH, not polka.
Gian Marco, this tune is usually played as a 3/4 March which I know sounds like a contradiction unless you have 3 legs. There are several settings around but most often it is in my experience, encountered as a 3/4 March. There is one old setting from pre-1885 that was in 2/4. I don’t know if that proves that this was the authentic Marching version. There are a few other examples of 3/4/or 6/8 marches.
The punchline is that as an O’Donovan I have to point out that this is the O’Donovan Clan March so I have to be excused if the tune gets me a little fired up in sessions.
I have to support Odono on this one. This is a very special, very beautiful old march tune that dates back at least 300 years.
I have nothing against it being recycled as a Polka, but it’s worth learning as the grand old clan march.
I was at workshops with Cathal McConnell of Boys of the Lough and he taught this tune. He played it in 3/4 then 4/4. He had the class playing first time round the first part in 3/4 then the repeat in 4/4 and same with the second part. A wee bit of a challenge for the rhythm players.
I also know this tune learned from Peter Phelan, Dublin Piper
in his class many moons ago as a March and a quite lovely one at that.
“The Eagle’s Whistle”
Here’s a simple take on the tune in 3/4:
T: Eagle’s Whistle, The
|: ed |
B2 dB AG | B2 dB AG | B2 AA Bd | B2 AA GA |
B2 dB AG | B2 dB Ad | A2 GG Bd | A2 GG Bd |
g2 ed Bd | g2 ed BG | B2 AA Bd | B2 A2 (3Bcd |
gd ed (3Bcd | g2 ed BD | A2 G2 Bd | AG G2 :|
See other postings of this tune
Does any-one out there know if there is a particular story - folktale or legend - attached to this tune? Such an evocative title is worthy of one.
A version played by “The Boys Of The Lough”…
Not a Polka
This tune can be written in 3/4 or 9/8 not 2/4.
The Eagle’s Whistle
This tune CAN be written in 2/4 or 4/4 if you listen to the source recording (Michael Tubridy, The Eagle’s Whistle 1978). It may be more commonly heard as a 3/4 tune, but it exists in other forms as well.
I’ve edited my original post to 4/4 as this sounds better.
Beautiful treatment here.
Anyone happen to know what tuning Caoimhín uses on his hardanger fiddle for this tune (from his album "Where the One-eyed Man Is King)? It doesn’t seem to be the standard "B E B F#" nor normal violin tuning of "G D A E."
The Eagle’s Whistle, X:4
As played by Jenna Moynihan on her album Woven.
Re: The Eagle’s Whistle
Prefer the slower version, as in the video posted by Jason van Steenwyk above: they are playing in A which is the key I’ve most often heard it in. Sounds nice on Lowland pipes too.
3/4 marches (and even 9/8 and 5/4) : perfectly possible to march to them, albeit asymmetric: one pace per beat! (Or per dotted crotchet in the case of 9/8s).