The Paper Bird reel

By Diarmaid Moynihan

Also known as PaperBird, The Paperbird.

There are 8 recordings of this tune.

The Paper Bird has been added to 12 tune sets.

The Paper Bird has been added to 151 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: The Paper Bird
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
|:EFGA ~B2AB|EFGB d/d/d cB|EFGA ~B2cB|1 ABFG E2zB:|2 ABFG E2z2||
|:GEGA ~B2Bd|GEBc {(BcB)} cBA2|GEGA ~B2de|1 BAGA ~B2z2:|2 BAGA B3z||
|:e2de BABd|(3ABd ed BABd|e2de BAGA|1 BcBA (^A~B3):|2 BcBG E4||
X: 2
T: The Paper Bird
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Bmin
|:Bcde f2ef|Bcde afgf|Bcde fegf|1 efcd ~B3F:|2 efcd B3d||
|:dBde f2e/f/a|dBfg f2ec|dBde feab|1 fede ~f3d:|2 fede ~f3a||
|:b2ab fefa|fabf edef|b2ab fede|1 fgfe ~f3a:|2 fgfd cdcA||
X: 3
T: The Paper Bird
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Bmin
|:Bcde f2ef|Bcde afgf|Bcde fegf|1 efcd B2Bf:|2 efcd B2Bd||
|:dBde f2 (3efe|dBde ~g2fe|dBde feag|1 fede f2fd:|2 fede f2fa||
|:b2ab fefa|fabf edef|b2ab fede|1 fgfe f2fa:|2 fgfe fgfe||

Fourteen comments


I have finally learned this tune that is played Michael McGoldrick,Brian Finnagan, and Dezi Donnely this tune is the best and it would be better to learn the tune before this one..Ridee. If you want to see this tune in action buy the CD Fused or go to and watch a video of McGoldrick and Dezi playing this tune.IT"S AWESOME!!!

Neat tune, but which of the many clips on kerrywhistles is it on?


This is a tune penned by Diarmaid Moynihan, great composer and piper from Cork. I love the Breton feel of this tune.

On the kerrywhistle site Mike M. plays this tune and the others in the set on an Eb whistle. He fingers it as if it were in the key of Bdor. Here is an exact transcription of the melody as played:

X: 4
T:no. 4, Paper Bird, 3:02
C:Diarmaid Moynihan (video clips)
Z:John Norvell
|: Bcde f2 ef | Bcde afgf | Bcde fegf |1 efcd ~B3 F :|2 efcd B3 d |!
|: dBde f2 e/2f/2a | dBfg f2 ec | dBde fe ab |1 fede ~f3 d :|2 fede ~f3a
|: b2 ab fefa | fabf edef |1 b2 ab fede | fgfe ~f3 a :|2 b2 ab fede | fg
fd cdcA :|!


Love this tune, it sets you in kind of a transe once you get started!

Doesn’t do much for me, I’m afraid, altho’ I have to admit some other tunes of DM’s are nice enough.

The version on Flook’s Flatfish cd is in F minor - you can play it on as transcribed here on an Eb whistle with Em fingers. I think they play it on flutes though.

Correction: I think Brian Finnegan plays it on a low Ab whistle with Bm fingers - like the alternative version transcribed above.

This is an awesome tune. One of my big favourites, especially how McGoldrick does it.

When I listen to the first track on Flook’s “Flatfish”, I repeat this tune constantly, it’s so awesome. I also love the Breton feel to this tune, as well as the, IMO, jazzy-quality of it.

Oh god - Josepho did you just say Jazzy in relation to trad? Quick - run!

PS - great tune, i love it too. Diarmaid Moynihan writes class tunes.

Posted by .


Not too late ?!…
click “movies and music”, then “Mick McGoldrick” and in the box under the player select “London 2004”.
The set (ridée + paper bird) is at 00:17:32 and paperbird at 00:21:41
Hope that helps !
I haven’t heard in that video, nor in the cd, the (strange to my old ears) A# noted in the transcription of miniwhistler.