Liberty reel

Also known as Liberty Hornpipe, The Liberty Hornpipe, Liberty Two-Step, The Liberty Two-Step, The Liberty, The Preacher And The Racoon, Racoon And Possum, Racoon And Preacher, The Racoon And The Parson, Racoon And The Possum, The Racoon And The Posum, Racoon And The Preacher, The Racoon And The Preacher, Reel De Ti-Jean, Ti-Jean, Tipsy Parson, The Tipsy Parson.

There are 19 recordings of this tune.
This tune has been recorded together with

Liberty appears in 1 other tune collection.

Liberty has been added to 19 tune sets.

Liberty has been added to 191 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Four settings

Sheet Music
Sheet Music
Sheet Music
Sheet Music
Sheet MusicDG
Sheet MusicDGAD
Sheet MusicDA
Sheet MusicDGAD
Sheet Music
Sheet Music12
Sheet Music
Sheet Music12
Sheet Music
Sheet Music12
Sheet Music
Sheet Music

Twenty-three comments

Ti-jean (reel)

Submitted in response to a request by Fiddlehead.
Also known as “Reel de Ti-Jean”.
Note the double stops in the last bar of the first half.
This version comes from the “New England Fiddler’s Repertoire” collection.


This is the American civil war tune,“Liberty”.


We play this tune in the bluegrass band, and I know a lot of people throughout the Southeastern US (specifically the Blue Ridge mountains) who know it as part of the standard American fiddler’s repertoire. My understanding is that it is very old, in one form or another, as I know a slightly different B part. I think my banjo player learned it off “Strictly Instrumental,” an old Columbia LP by Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt. Any notes on the history would be great, I’ll see what I can dig up. Always liked this one, I have…

“Liberty” ~ skipping back from the future ~

Submitted on June 15th 2006 by rzaikoski.

T: Liberty
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: D Major
“D” f2 A2 f2 A2 | fgfe d2 ef | “G” g2 B2 g2 B2 | gagf e2 de |
“D” f2 A2 f2 A2 | fgfe d2 ef | “G” gfed “A” cABc | “D” d2 f2 d4 :|
|: “D” A2 AB AGFE | DFAd f2 d2 | A2 AB AG F2 | “A” E3 F E2 FG |
“D” A2 AB AGFE | DFAd f2 ef | “G” gfed “A” cABc | “D” d2 f2 d4 :|

“New England Fiddler’s Repertoire” ~ Randy Miller

by Randy Miller and Jack Perron
New revised 2003 edition:
Second Edition by Randy Miller and Robert Bley-Vroman

“What’s new about NEFR2? Easier-to-read music typesetting, chords added, index by key, list of alternate titles, sturdy plastic coil binding, and decorated with over two dozen Randy Miller wood engravings, including ”A Time to Dance."

What’s NOT new about NEFR2? Still the same 168 classic traditional contra dance melodies, from Batchelder’s Reel to Money Musk to Portland Fancy and beyond -- the standard contra tunes in one source, with an introduction by Newt Tolman. The second edition of NEFR is produced with assistance from the Gadd/Merrill Fund of the Country Dance and Song Society." ~ Randy Miller


I remember playing this when I was at school under the title “Liberty”, but haven’t played it since. It might have been labelled as a two-step on my sheetmusic, which I don’t have to hand, but I have a feeling we played it with reels. The way we played it was more like rzaikoski’s setting posted above by ceolachan, but our part endings went down low, which was perhaps why we played it after the Merry Blacksmith. The setting we played was as follows:

X: 1
T: Liberty
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel (two-step?)
K: D Major
f2A2 f2A2|fgfe d2ef|g2B2 g2B2|gagf efge|
f2A2 f2A2|fgfe d2ef|gfed cABc|1 dBAF D2de:|2 dBAF D2FG||
|:A2AB AGFE|DFAd f2d2|A2AB AFED|A,2C2 E2G2|
A2AB AGFE|DFAd fdef|gfed cABc|1 dBAF D2FG:|2 dBAF D2de||

To be honest I was never particularly liked the B-part bar 4 I’d been given, and prefer the alternative suggested by rzaikoski.

Damn Dow, you kept your submission at hand to replace it here… You haven’t mine by any chance have you? ~ or Hetty’s? I can probably find something of it somewhere here in the mess, but I would prefer it be easier… I did ask Jeremy but got the usual answer, something like “tough luck!” Well, I should have known better… It’s not like I haven’t been there before ~

I know I know. No, I just wrote out again what I still have in my head from when we used to play it when I was a kid.

Check your e-mail.

I just remembered we might have played the Shetland tune Willafjord after it.

“Liberty Hornpipe” / “Tipsy Parson” ~ a contra dance standard

This tune is one of the many ‘chestnuts’ of New England contra dance music, and wherever that form of dancing has taken hold ~ all across North America, the U.S.A. and Canada, and over here in Europe ~ that tune has usually travelled with it.

Like with the genereal treatment by old time musicians in all those places, it is more usually played straight, not swung, as ‘hornpipes’, despite the name, are handled by these same musicians, in general… This tune under various names has also been in the repertoire of the various traditions that fall under the collective ‘The Canadian Maritimes’, which includes Quebec and the islands of Cape Breton, Prince Edward and Newfoundland…

I have also known this tune with the swing of a hornpipe / barndance / schottische to it, and I’ve played and danced to it that way too… And, there are a few places where a ‘snap’ could be snuk in…

Yeah yeah go on, squeeze that swingy schottische setting out, ‘c’. I know it’s in there. You just have to push harder. Just be careful not to pop a vein.

Not me ~ you’re thinking of ‘phantom button’ there. The lad’s unhinged… 😉

Tipsey Parson

Here’s my ABC for Tipsey Parson. Very similar to rzaikski’s but the differences are, I feel, well worth noting, in particular the upward movement in ‘A’ music bar 2 and the run of notes in bar 4.
||: f2A2 f2A2 | fgfe dd^ef | g2B2 g2B2 | gagf ecde | f2A2 f2A2 | fafe d2cd | efed cABc | 1 dfec d2de :|| 2 dfec d2FG ||
||: A2AB AGFE | DFAD FDAF | A2AB AGFD | E3E E2FG | A2AB AGFE | DFAd f2ef | gfed cABc | dfec d2 :||

The ‘B’ music of Ti-Jean is reminiscent of another American oldie but I will have to look into that.

Captain McGuire

The ‘A’ music of Captain McGuire is similar to the ‘B’ music of Ti-Jean in bars 1 & 2, 5 & 6. Am not sure that Capt. McG is american though. Can anyone enlighten me? I have not done a search here yet.

Tom Doherty’s

I play this tune with ’Leather away the Wattle - O


Where I live (California) this is played as a horpipe.

Liberty reel

The way I’ve heard this played, it’s really a polka, isn’ it? Despite its name an despite the way it’s written.

Re: Liberty

A Cajun version of this lovely tune can be found on the cd En Bas Du Chene Vert (Under a Green Oak Tree) by Dewey Balfa, Marc Savoy and D.L. Menard (Arhoolie CD 312).

Re: Liberty

I learned “Liberty” from performing as a backup musician playing bass with a local fiddler who liked to play this tune straight with no swinging unlike a hornpipe or a schottische. The version he liked to play is similar to the second one from the top. This fiddler was one of the founding members of the local folk music group whom I have been playing bass with for the past twenty-five years. This fiddler was ninety years old when he died in 2011 and I don’t know where or when he learned to play “Liberty”. However, before he died he did teach his youngest daughter how to play the fiddle and this is one of the tunes he taught her. Yes she likes to play fiddle with the local folk music group and “Liberty” is one of the tunes she likes to play.