Da Slockit Light reel

Also known as Da Slocket Light, Da Slokit Light, The Slocket Light, Slockit Light, The Slockit Light.

There are 22 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with Da Grocer (a few times) and Smith O’ Couster (a few times).

Da Slockit Light has been added to 12 tune sets.

Da Slockit Light has been added to 376 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Three settings

X: 1
T: Da Slockit Light
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
FE|D3F A2d2|fedc d2A2|B2d2 A2d2|BAGF EGFE|
D3F A2d2|fedc d2A2|B2G2 AGFE|D4- D2:|
g2|f2a2 e3c|d3e dcBA|f2a2 e2^g2|a4- a2=g2|
f2a2 e3c|d3e dcBA|B2G2 AGFE|D4- D3g|
f2a2 e3c|d3e dcBA|B2d2 A2d2|BAGF EGFE|
D3F A2d2|fedc d2A2|B2G2 AGFE|D4- D2|]
X: 2
T: Da Slockit Light
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
FE|"D"D3F A2d2|fedc d2A2|"G"B2d2 "D/F#"A2d2|"G"BAGF "A"EGFE|
"D"D3F A2d2|fedc "Bm"d2A2|"G"B2G2 "A"AGFE|"D"D4- D2:|
g2|"D"f2a2 "A"e3c|"Bm"d3e "A"dcBA|"D"f2a2 "E"e2^g2|"A"a4- a2=g2|
"D"f2a2 "A"e3c|"G"d3e "D/F#"dcBA|"G"B2G2 "A"AGFE|"D"D4- D3g|
"D"f2a2 "A"e3c|"Bm"d3e "G"dc"D/F#"BA|"G"B2d2 A2d2|BAGF "A"EGFE|
"D"D3F A2d2|"A"fedc "Bm"d2A2|"G"B2G2 "A"AGFE|"D"D4- D2|]
X: 3
T: Da Slockit Light
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
P: 2nd
FE |"D" A,3 D F2 A2 | dc AG "Bm7" F2 D2 | "G" G2 B2 "D" F2 A2 | "Em" GF ED "A7" A,4 |
"D" A,3 D F2 A2 | dc AG F2 D2 | "Em" G,4 "A7" A,3 C | "D" [A,6D6] :|
g |"D"d2 A2 "A7"c3 E | "Em" G4 "A7" FE DC | "D" D4 "E7" ^G3 E | "A7" C2 A,2 B,2 C2 |
"D" D4 "A7" A4 | "Em" G6 GF | "G" G2 B,2 "A7" A,B, A,C | "D" DA, B,G, A,4 |
"D" D4 "A7" C4 | "Em" B,6 GF | "G" G2 B2 "D" F2 A2 | "Em" GF ED "A7" A,4 |
"D" A,3 D F2 A2 | "D+" ^A4 "Bm7" F2 D2 | "Em" G,4 "A7" A,3 C | "D" [A,4D4]- [A,3D3] |]

Thirty comments

Da Slockit Light

A Shetland tune that was a favourite of the concertina player and singer Alan Cormack of Bristol (UK), a well-known musician in local sessions and bands, who died recently at the age of 60. This tune was played at Alan’s funeral by one of his pupils on Alan’s own concertina which was then placed on the coffin for the rest of the service. The tune is played regularly in Bristol sessions.

I downloaded the abc from J-C’s website.

Here is the abc transcription by Mary Lou Knack with added chords:

FE|"D"D3F A2d2|fedc d2A2|"G"B2d2 "D/F#"A2d2|"G"BAGF "A"EGFE|
"D"D3F A2d2|fedc "Bm"d2A2|"G"B2G2 "A"AGFE|"D"D4- D2:|
g2|"D"f2a2 "A"e3c|"Bm"d3e "A"dcBA|"D"f2a2 "E"e2^g2|"A"a4- a2=g2|
"D"f2a2 "A"e3c|"G"d3e "D/F#"dcBA|"G"B2G2 "A"AGFE|"D"D4- D3g|
"D"f2a2 "A"e3c|"Bm"d3e "G"dc"D/F#"BA|"G"B2d2 A2d2|BAGF "A"EGFE|
"D"D3F A2d2|"A"fedc "Bm"d2A2|"G"B2G2 "A"AGFE|"D"D4- D2|]

Sounds weird as a reel. I’ve only ever heard it as a slow air(?), played in many sessions all over England and Scotland.

Da Slockit Light

I agree. It’s hardly a tune for dancing, but the fact that it is in 4-4 automatically gets it listed as a reel for the purposes of this site’s tune database.

Perhaps Jeremy should add a section for slow airs. It seems ridiculous that they are listed in other categories e.g. reels although, admittedly. some tunes like the Hills of Glenorchy have slow and fast versions.


Da Slockit Light

John, I expect Jeremy has seriously considered this, but there may be deep technical difficulties to do with the structure of the database why it has not happened (yet).
So we are left with the situation that if you want to submit a genuine slow air, which are so often metrically free form, that clearly isn’t, and can never be, a dance form, then you have to write it as a waltz, reel or whatever. Anyway, something that is the closest fit to the tune you’re working with.

Da Slockit Light :by Tom Anderson

AFAIK this nice tune was composed by the great old Shetland fiddler Tom Anderson in the sixties.

Tunes origin?

I remember a tale of where the tune came from, that Tom had driven out into the country at night and could see his village in the distance. Feeling sad after the death of his wife, he stopped and watched the lights going out one by one, and thinking that there weren’t as many lights as there used to be in his youth as people were leaving the Island.
I always thought it was a lighthouse, but found out a "Slockit" light is a "broken" one.


According to most of the sources I’ve been able to find, "slockit" means "extinguished", rather than "broken". One source claims it is the glowing tip at the end of an extinguished candle.

—-Michael B.


As with so many other words in Shetland this is a Scandinavian word and as Michael suggests it means a light that is turned out, quenched or extinguished. I have never ever thought about the fact that there is no synonymous word in Standard English.
For me, as a Swede, it’s always funny with the Shetland tongue, ‘cos it is most often self explanatory, from a Scandinavian point of view (and as a fact there are many words in Scots as well that are closer to Scandinavian tongues than to Standard English)

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Da Slockit Light

We heard this tune played by Walt Michael - a hmmer dulcimer player from the States - at Sidmouth at couple of years back. He toldusthat when Tom Anderson died this tune was played at his funeral and now if you play this tune in the Shetland Islands people stand. I don’t know if this is true but it struck a chord wih us and our friend turned to us and said "you can play that at my funeral". A year later when he died suddenly at the age of 48 his son remembered this and it was played on Uillean pipes during the service. It’s nce to hear that other people held this tune in the same way as the first comment shows.

Da Slockit Light

I’ve heard it was also played at Tom Anderson’s own funeral —- quite fitting.

Da Slockit Light

Does anyone have the sheet music for the counter melody for Da Slockit Light? I played it once from a friend’s music, and it was beautiful, but haven’t been able to find it since, other than the regular melody. Thanks.

I think you can find it in JC’s tune database. Just enter "slockit," and click "Da Slockit Light - 2nd part" or "Da Slockit Light - Harmony."

To add some more info of the tune, I heard this tune was also written just after the death of the composer’s wife. So, "the extinguished light" has another meaning.

Though this is a beautiful tune, it’s somewhat irrelevant in the Irish music session.

Da Slockit Light

Thanks very much. I’m brand new to this site, so please forgive my ignorance, but what is JC’s database? If it’s the Session, it’s not in here, but if you can instruct me to get to JC’s database (if not this one), I would appreciate it. Again, sorry for the ignorance.

I realize it isn’t strictly Irish, but we have a small very un-strict group that plays a bit of everything just for fun, so any help is appreciated. Thanks!

JC’s database

A thousand thanks! Yet another really great site!

The gifts of Tom Anderson ~

Rather than the idea of this as a reel or a ‘slow air’, though the latter is closer, I have always heard it, including the playing of the composer, as more like a slow march. As you can imagine, "The Slockit Light", and the meaning, a light extinguished or turned out, it has also featured at funerals. It is a beautiful tune and I’ve been known to shed a few tears playing it… Tom Anderson was a musician and a magician…

On second parts, one of the publications featuring Tom’s tunes has a second part written out. I’ll see if I can find it. I also remember a second part by that fine American fiddler and fiddle teacher Pam Swing. I’ll see if I can find these things here and return with the specifics.

Irrelevance? ~

Slainte ~ it’s not irrelevant old buddy if Irish musicians sometimes choose to play it… our respect extends to other traditions and players, even the occassional Japanese bloke who chooses to do us the honour of giving it a go ~ only a rare few of us are jingoistic over music… It doesn’t surprise me that those who are have usually taken it on secondhand, such as second generation Irish, and later, as well as other ‘foreigners’…


“Ringing Strings:Traditional Shetland Music and Dance”

Tom Anderson
Shetland Times Ltd., 1983
ISBN: 0 900662 40 9

20 - Da Slockit Light
21 - Da Slockit Light Second Fiddle

"Traditional Shetland music and dance. Tunes old and new collected together by the late Tom Anderson, the well respected fiddle player and teacher from Shetland. Published in 1983 it has become an important collection of Shetland tunes and dances."


The Edinburgh Shetland Fiddler’s Society

Shetland Music ~ Written Tune Sources

“The Ringing Strings” ~ Tom Anderson

~ from a tape recorded interview with Tom by a student in 1970:

"I was coming out of Eshaness in late January, 1969, the time was after 11pm and as I looked back at the top of the hill leading out of the district I saw so few lights compared to what I remembered when I was young. As I watched, the lights started going out one by one. That, coupled with the recent death of my late wife, made me think of the old word ‘Slockit’, meaning, a light that has gone out, and I think that was what inspired the tune."

A Second part & “Haand me doon da fiddle’ ~ will yuh?

http://mmcconeghy.com/ ~ the homepage out of respect
http://mmcconeghy.com/RIMUSIC/ ~ and then, finally:

Da Slockit Light

Second part by Ellen Thomas ~ the one known by most…

Ellen, like the previously mentioned Pam Swing, were friends of and studied under Tom Anderson. Pam with Tom produced another excellent little volume of music from the Shetlands, also highly recommended:

"Haand me doonda fiddle"
Tom Anderson & Pam Swing
The University of Sterling, 1979
ISBN: 0 901636 25 8

If you ever get the opportunity to learn from Pam, she’s a charm, gifted ~ take it. You’d be a fool to pass it up… She’s a great dance musician too…

“Da Slockit Light” ~ Second Part

C: Ellen Thomas
FE |
"D" A,3D F2 A2 | dc AG "Bm7" F2 D2 | "G" G2 B2 "D" F2 A2 | "Em" GF ED "A7" A,4 |
"D" A,3D F2 A2 | dc AG F2 D2 | "Em" G,4 "A7" A,3 C | "D" [A,6D6] :|
g |
"D"d2 A2 "A7"c3E | "Em" G4 "A7" FE DC | "D" D4 "E7" ^G3 E | "A7" C2 A,2 B,2 C2 |
"D" D4 "A7" A4 | "Em" G6 GF | "G" G2 B,2 "A7" A,B, A,C | "D" DA, B,G, A,4 |
"D" D4 "A7" C4 | "Em" B,6 GF | "G" G2 B2 "D" F2 A2 | "Em" GF ED "A7" A,4 |
"D" A,3 D F2 A2 | "D+" ^A4 "Bm7" F2 D2 | "Em" G,4 "A7" A,3 C | "D" [A,7D7] ||

Norwegian word slukke:
verb. extinguish, quench, put out, turn off, dowse, switch off

verb. [om ild] put out (f.eks. put out a candle, a cigarette or the fire

verb. [kontakt] turn off

verb. (elektrisitet) switch off, put off
verb. [lys(light)] switch off

verb. [stille f.eks tørst, også fig] quench, satisfy

slukket :

adj. extinct

adj. out (fx the lights are out

I wonder if slockit has an etymological link to the word ‘slaked’ which is most often applied to thirst but I think can be applied more generally to dousing or throwing liquid onto things.

As I understand it, the Shetland tradition is that what would be more baldly called "Lament to or for So-and-so" in the Irish tradition, is instead named after some object that reminds one of the deceased.
I believe there’s another one called "Old Swarra", the old shirt, which I remember a friend of mine playing in memory of another friend.

""Old Swarra", the old shirt" A "swarra" is a woollen garment (and the wool used for it), and in this case (jupie or joopie), it refers to a vest (worn underneath), rather than a shirt.

Da Slockit Light

very similar to The Hills of Lorne by Charlie Hunter, did one inspire the other?