I love the second part of this tune. You’ll need to be fairly nimble-fingered to play it at speed but the effect is lovely - a cascade of notes going from low to high.
Is this a Donegal tune?
As far as I know, it’s not particularly associated with Donegal more than anywhere else in Ireland.
Brian Conway setting
Here’s how Brian plays it, swingy and full of lift, on First Through the Gate (a great cd!):
FE|:D2 FE DFAc|dcde fdAF|GABG FADF|GFED CEA,C|
|D2 FE DFAc|dcde fdAF|GABG FADF|1 EA,CE D2 (3A,B,C:|2 EA,CE D2 CB,||
|:A,B,CD EFGF|~E3F GABc|dcdB ABde|fdgf eA (3BBc|
|defd ceAc|dcdB AFDF|GABG FADF|1EA,CE D2 CB,:|2EA,CE D2 (3A,B,C||
I like this setting’s simplicity—staying with the scale run in the 4th bar of Part A (instead of the more common |GEFD CEA,C|), and the first two bars of Part B, where the ~E3 is featured instead of the usual |A,B,CD EFGE|(3FED EF GABc|.
First tune has wrong name- not alternate- just wrong
The name of the first tune is really The Silver SPEAR. The Silver Spire is a different tune entirely.
I *believe* "spire" here is pronounced "spear", and I’ve always seen this tune titled The Silver Spire, apparently I’m not the only one, as someone posted this with that title.
You can’t play this tune on some instruments. :-(
The Silver Spear
Even now I get confused between those two names - Silver Spear and Silver Spire. If someone at a session asks what the tune is I usually end up mumbling something like "Silver Spuh…" (voice trailing off into silence).
The Silver SPIRE
Here’s this other great classic: The Silver SPEAR https://thesession.org/tunes/182.
You can tell this one-here is The Silver SPIRE because the second part spirals up towards the tip of the spire like running up a steeple or lighthouse’s stairway!
Talking of which…One regularly hears that there is no ‘programatic’ tunes in Irish music but that’s far from true. It’s a cliché you hear before people are about to launch into the ‘only such’ piece’: The Foxhunter’s Chase. But now and then you’ll encounter one.
Jennie’s Chickens for example (especially if piped well)
I’ll post more links at the next encounters…
Another onomatopeic tune: The Fat Cat (hornpipe) https://thesession.org/tunes/950 as played by the composer.
As far as "The Silver Spire" and "The Silver Spear" confusion goes, the tunes are different enough from one another they actually work well when paired together (in that order). Trust me - they sound great to start a set of reels.
X:3 Piping Version
might be good on any woodwind
x:5 ocarina version
Variation to fit 11 hole ocarina in D, based on x:1.
The Silver Spire, X:6 / Bennett’s Favorite
This setting appears in Clinton W. Bisbee’s MS (Maine, 1904), as Bennett’s Favorite Reel. The original score is in 2/4; I transcribed it into 2/2.
Here is the same setting in G major for those who don’t fancy the key of F major :
T:Bennett’s Favorite Reel
S:Clinton W. Bisbee MS (Maine, 1904)
D2|G2 BA GBdf|gfgb afdB|(c<e)A>c (B<d)G>B|cBAG FACF|
G2 BA GBdf|gfgb afdB|(c<e)A>c B<dG>B|AGFA G2:|
|:D2|DEFG ABcA|BGAB cdef|(gf).g.d efgb|(c’b).c’.a gfed|
gabg (f<a)d>f/2|gfge dBGB|(c<e)A>c (B<d)G>B|AGFA G2:|]
The Silver Spire, X:7
Another try to make this tune suitable for whistles an pipes.
Re: The Silver Spire
Here’s a video of the great Tommy Peoples playing the Silver Spire at the start of a set of reels: