Johnny Allen’s reel

Also known as An Bhean Tincéara, An Bhean Tinceare, Ban Tinceiri, Bean A’ Tinc, Bean Tinceara, The Tinker’s Wife, The Tinkerman’s Wife.

There are 33 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

Johnny Allen’s appears in 4 other tune collections.

Johnny Allen’s has been added to 29 tune sets.

Johnny Allen's has been added to 179 tunebooks.

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Five settings

X: 1
T: Johnny Allen's
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
A3B AGFG|Adde f3g|afge fded|dcAF G2:|
|:FG|A3g fded|Add^c dAFG|A3g fded|dcAF G2FG|
A3g fded|Add^c defg|afge fded|dcAF G2:|
X: 2
T: Johnny Allen's
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
A2BG AGFG|Adde f3g|afge (3fga e^c|dcAF G2FG:|
|:Addc AGFG|Adde fde^c|Addc AGFA|DG (3GGG DGBG|
Addc AGFG|Adde f3g|afge (3fga e^c|dcAF G2FG:|
|:A3g fd=fe|dcAB cedc|A3g fd=fe|dcAF G2FG|
A3g fd=fe|dcAB cdeg|fdec (3ded cA|dBcA G2FG:|
# Added by tbag .
X: 3
T: Johnny Allen's
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
ADBD AGFE|Ddde ~f3g|afge fded|dcAF ~G2FG:|
|:A3g fdec|Ad~d2 Ad~d2|A3g fdec|dcAF G2FG|
A3g fdec|Addc defg|afge fded|dcAF G2FG:|
X: 4
T: Johnny Allen's
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
AGBG AGFG|Add^c defg|afge fded|dcAF G2 FG:|
|:Addc AGFG|Addg fdec|Addc AGFG|DGGG DGGG|
Addc AGFG|Addg fffg|afge fded|dcAF G2 FG:|
|:AAAg fded|dcAB cedc|AAAg fded|dcAF G2 FG|
AAAg fded|dcAB cdeg|afge fded|dcAF G2 FG:|
X: 5
T: Johnny Allen's
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|:A3B AGFA|DccB cedc|(3AcA BG AGFA|DG G2 DGBG|
(3AF/G/A B2 AGFG|Adde f3g|afge (3fga e^c|dcAF G2FG:|
|:Addc AGFG|Adde fde^c|Addc AGFA|DG G2 DGBG|
AD D2 AGFG|Adde f3g|afge fde^c|dcAF G2FG:|
|:A3g fd=fe|dcAB cedc|A3g fd=fe|dcAF G2FG|
A3g fd=fe|dcAB cdeg|fdec (3ded cA|dBcA G2FG:|
# Added by JACKB .

Nineteen comments

Johnny Allen’s

I heard this tune in a session at Pepper’s pub, Feakle, E.Clare this August and it was one of those which sent a shiver down my spine. It’s got a steely blue-grey feel to it, if you’ll excuse the obscure analogy. Fortunately I managed to pick up a tape of ‘Music and Songs from East Clare’ in Scariff, which had this tune on it (recorded in the very same pub, incidentally), so I was able to get down the notes properly, and find out a name for it (there’s no point asking a musician for the name of a tune.

I don’t know if it is actually an E. Clare tune, but it is certainly popular in that area.

Whatever you do, don’t rush it. Savour every note of it.

I think this is the same tune as Within a Mile of Dublin – Will has a variation of this already posted – but what a serendipitous thing, I was listening to Na Connerys Part II today, and was wondering what tune it was that they played with the Bobby Casey’s that I posted a while back – and this is it!


Within a Mile of Within a Mile of Dublin

I hadn’t nothiced that. It’s not actually the same tune that I know as ‘Within a Mile of Dublin’, but it’s certainly not a mile away from it.

Let’s not forget, even reputable artistes sometimes get names wrong. It’s people such as myself, with a limited repertoire of tunes, who still have the surplus brain capacity to remember precisely what name goes with what tune.


There’s a 3 part version of this tune (with an extra part in the middle). Also, Mrs. Crotty, the legendary Clare concertina player, recorded a significantly different 2-part version, under the name of “Bean a’ Tinc

An Bean a’ tinc

…is the gaelic for “the tinker’s wife”, i think.

Related tunes

This has long been one of my favorite tunes. As an accompanist as well as a fiddler, I find it exemplary of a certain style of D Mixolydian tune which alternates between C natural and C sharp on ascending and descending melodic passages, choices which may vary across different players’ settings or even as variations in one player’s rendition. (For example, I will often play the C in the last bar of both A and B parts as C# rather than C natural.) Also, the strong phrase endings on the G note give the tune a sweeping grandeur (especially, I believe, when accompanied by a G and not just a repeated C chord) which makes it a gem of the traditional repertoire.

I know a closely related tune, which I learned from the playing of Tim Britton, called “The Tinker’s Daughter.” I haven’t heard Ms. Crotty’s version; it would be very interesting to know if they are related tunes.

The B part is exactly the same as the B part of Within a Mile of Dublin. The rest is completely different. Nice reel. Do you know what the name means?

The name means The Tinkerman’s Wife (or woman, but I think it’s normally translated in this context as wife!)

In the Bpart here I emphasise the weak (2nd and 4th) beats much more than I do in Within a Mile of Dublin, so it does come out sounding slightly different. Also, I play a different fourth bar in the Bpart of Within a Mile of Dublin… I think… I just played it but of course having thought about its similarities with this tune I may well have ended up getting a mixed-up version of the two ;o)

Posted by .

More accurately “An Bhean Tincéara” with an “a” at the end rather than an“e“.

Mark, do you also play the C in the 4th bar of the B part as C#?

I also love the effect of the major 7 sound that the descending notes have. I play around with the Cs on tunes like The Old Gooseberry Bush for the same reason. Of course there are many other tunes where this adds dimension as well.

This tune has the potential to irritate me. I’m not sure why. Or has it started to ‘wear’?


This setting and the misspelled title come from Mick McGoldrick’s “Fused”

X:2 is the setting I’ve heard in sessions. Seems to be identical to the one off Seamus Creagh and Aidan Coffey’s album.

Johnny Allen’s

Some background to this tune, from
“Peter Wood (The Living Note: the Heartbeat of Irish Music, 1996) gives that Johnny Allen was a legendary fiddle player from “beyond Feakle (Co. Clare), and he’s still talked about even though nobody can remember directly playing with him.” Francis O’Neill, writing in his Irish Folk Music: A Fascinating Hobby (1910, p. 122) explains he collected the tune on a trip to East Clare in 1906, where, in the Sliabh Aughty area, he had several tunes from fiddler Johnny Allen, a dance musician and contemporary of Pat Canny and a blind fiddler named Paddy MacNamara (“Paddy Mack”). The latter taught music in the region in the early part of the 20th century, and had been Allen’s teacher. “Johnny Allen’s Reel” was an untitled piece played by Allen for O’Neill, who then named it in honor of his source. O’Neill said it became a great favorite among Irish musicians in Chicago after he brought it home.”

Johnny Allen’s, X:4

This version comes from, always a good spot for interesting variations and ornamentation selections.

Sorry, that should read

Re: The Tinker’s Wife

aidriano’s three-part version is more or less the one that’s played on Will Woodson’s and Caitlin Finley’s album, “The Glory Reel”.