The Curlew jig

There are 9 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Curlew has been added to 5 tune sets.

The Curlew has been added to 66 tunebooks.

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Six settings

X: 1
T: The Curlew
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|: d3 A2 d B2 A dBA | d3 A2 d B2 A aef | d3 A2 d B2 A dBA | g2f efd cAA aef:|
|: d3 fee aef cBA | d3 fee aAa fef | d3 fee aea cBA | g2 f efd cAA aef :|
|: d3 GBA dBd ecA | d3 GAB dBG aef | d3 GBA dBG ecA | g2 f efd cAA aef :|
|: d3 a2 f dfd ecA | d3 afd fdA aef | d3 a2 f dfd ecA | gfe f2 d cAA aef :|
| gfg ege GBd edc | gfe gdc BAA a3 ||
X: 2
T: The Curlew
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
d3 A2 d | BAA dBA | d3 A2 d | BAA aef |
d3 A2 d | BAA dBA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
d3 f2 d | aef dBA | d3 f2 d | a2 a fef |
d3 f2 d | aef dBA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
d3 GBA | dBd ecA | d3 GBB | Ace aef |
d3 GBA | dBd ecA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
d3 a2 f | dfd ecA | d3 a2 f | dfd aef |
1 d3 a2 f | dfd ecA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
2 gfg efd | GBd ecA | g2 f efd | cAA aef ||
# Added by Kenny .
X: 3
T: The Curlew
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
d3 A2 d | B>AA d>BA | d3 A2 d | B>AA a>ef |
d3 A2 d | B>AA d>BA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
|: d3 f2 d | a>ef d>BA | d3 f2 d | a>Aa f>ef |
d3 f2 d | a>ef d>BA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
|: d3 G>BA | d>Bd e>cA | d3 G>BB | A>ce a>ef |
d3 G>BA | d>Bd e>cA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
|: d3 a2 f | d>fd e>cA | d3 a2 f | d>fd a>ef |
[1 d3 a2 f | d>fd e>cA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
[2 g2 f e>fd | G>Bd e>cA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a2 |]
X: 4
T: The Curlew
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|: d3 A2 d | BAA dBA | d3 A2 d | BAA aef |
d3 A2 d | BAA dBA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
|: d3 f2 d | aef dBA | d3 f2 d | a2 a fef |
d3 f2 d | aef dBA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
|: d3 GBA | dBd ecA | d3 GBB | Ace aef |
d3 GBA | dBd ecA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
|: d3 a2 f | dfd ecA | d3 a2 f | dfd aef |
[1 d3 a2 f | dfd ecA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
[2 gfg efd | GBd ecA | g2 f efd | cAA aef |]
X: 5
T: The Curlew
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|: d3 A2 d | B>AA d>BA | d3 A2 d | B>AA a>ef |
d3 A2 d | B>AA d>BA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
|: d3 f2 d | a>ef d>BA | d3 f2 d | a>aa f>ef |
d3 f2 d | a>ef d>BA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
|: d3 G>BA | d>Bd e>cA | d3 G>BB | A>ce a>ef |
d3 G>BA | d>Bd e>cA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
|: d3 a2 f | d>dd e>cA | d3 a2 f | d>dd a>ef |
[1 d3 a2 f | d>dd e>cA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
[2 g>fg efd | G>Bd e>cA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef |]
X: 6
T: The Curlew
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
d3 A2d|BAA dBA|d3 A2d|BAA aef|
d3 A2d|BAA dBA|g2f efd| cAA aef:|
|:ddd fff|aba afe|d2f aed|cAA aef|
ddd fff|aba afe|g2f efd|1cAA aef:|2cAA az2|
|:d3 GBA|dcd ecA|d2d GBA|Ace aef|
d3 GBA|dcd ecA|g2f efd|cAA aef:|
|:ddd fff|aba afe|d2f aed|cAA aef|
|1ddd fff|aba afe|g2f efd|cAA aef:|2d3 GBA|dcd ecA|g2f efd|cAA aef||

Twenty comments

The making of….

I caught this tune while listening to ‘Return to Kintail’ and i really liked it, so after much pencilwork and rewinding, I give you this: a direct translation of ‘The Curlew’ from ‘Return to Kintail’

Slide???

This is no slide - it’s a Highland bagpipe jig composed by Donald McPherson. I’m sorry, Jez, but the notation for this is very inaccurate.

Posted by .

Apology

NZ Jez - I’ve just seen that this is your first contribution to the session, and I would hate to think that the tone of my previous comment would dissuade you from contributing to this website in the future. No offence was intended, and if any was taken I humbly apologise. Zina Lee is usually the first to welcome newcomers, but I seem to have got here first, so - welcome !!! Your choice of tune for a first posting is excellent, the "Curlew" is a very popular pipe jig all over Scotland, but probably not all that well-known in Ireland. I am familiar with the Fraser/McManus recording of it, but if your transcription of it is accurate, they do seem to have changed the tune somewhat - ie from the composer’s version. Scottish music, and bagpipe music in particular, is much less prone to melodic variation than Irish music, and it would be quite unusual for Scottish musicians to change a tune so much. The best thing I can do is to post the ABCs as written by Donald McPherson so you can see the differences for yourself. But, I can’t think of such a thing as a Scottish slide! All the best!

Posted by .

Not on the tune side, I’m not! But welcome, Jez and a nice job of the posting! I’ll have to go find my copy of Return now and re-listen.

Kenny, seems to me I saw The Curlew of someone’s list of session favs, but can’t remember if it was a Scottish player or not — I think perhaps it’s hitting sessions with more regularity now…so the poor tune will probably get tinkered with more regularity from here on out! :)

Great tune but I agree that’s not how it’s normally played. The version I know and the predominant one(I think) is actually slightly simpler. It’s not too difficult a tune but you have to watch the last part. I imagine that it will get altered a bit if it gets absorbed into the Irish tradition but I think the purpose of the tunes section here is just to transcribe tunes "as played in your local session" rather than have definitive versions. It’s not always possible to identify them except sometimes, as here, when the composer is known.

John

John, I’m not so sure that a composer’s setting is any more "definitive" than any other setting. I don’t play many of my own tunes the way I originally wrote them—they evolve with the playing, and from exposure to other people playing them. And I can think of any number of Ed Reavy or Paddy Fahey tunes that started out good but really blossomed into beautiful tunes only after being passed around among lots of players over pints for a decade or so.

Posted .

Composer’s versions — definitive or not?

I asked Charlie Lennon about this when I met him. I asked him how he felt about his tune, "Road to Cashel" being recorded differently than his original version on the Daly/Burke LP, and then being learned by the multitudes that way. He said he didn’t mind, and that he was glad they credited him as the composer, but he was more upset that they gave it the wrong title (Cabin Hunter). Charlie said that once you release a tune into the tradition, it becomes part of that tradition and is no longer just yours — it belongs to the music. He added that it was the reason he was compelled to publish his book of tunes — he wanted to put his original settings out for anyone that might be interested.

Subject to variation

comment i’ve noticed from people seem to suggest that this version of the Curlew is not one that they recognise, but then there are many different versions of the same ture out there, subject to the variation different people put on the tune when they played it or handed it down to siblings or other such people (drowsy maggie being one example). I admit that when going through the ABC of the tune again i did notice some of my own mistakes that i must have made while either writing it in ABC or copying it down from the audio (im not trying to make any excuses here but i had to learn how to write ABC to put this tune up, and is as such the first time i have ever used the format to write music). I shall try to alter the ABC soon so that the translation is more accurate.

also, i’m not very lerned on the subject of what a particular tune is cotergorized as (im not very hardcore in that respect). I didn’t even know what to call it before i was told by Jeremy that it was, in fact, a slide because the time signature was 12/8. Perhaps someone could fill me in on the different types of tune and how i can tell one from another?

Unfortunately, there’s not a category here for every type of tune e.g slow airs, Scottish pipe marches and jigs etc because of technical considerations. You have to pick the correct time signature and explain in the comments that the tune is a slow air, pipe march or whatever. Hope this helps.

John

By my observations, Scottish music and Irish music are not the same; they have different cultural norms within the genres. Kenny and John are right, taking a Scottish tune and changing it up like Irish players do isn’t usually considered "on", from what I can see, especially when the composer is known/living and the composed version is still very extant. Of course, Will and Jack are also right; now that The Curlew has hit the Irish sessions, it’ll probably never be quite the same again, at least under our fingers.

The Curlew - abc

As promised, but please, this is a 6/8 jig - not a slide.

d3 A2 d | BAA dBA | d3 A2 d | BAA aef |
d3 A2 d | BAA dBA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
d3 f2 d | aef dBA | d3 f2 d | a2 a fef |
d3 f2 d | aef dBA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
d3 GBA | dBd ecA | d3 GBB | Ace aef |
d3 GBA | dBd ecA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
d3 a2 f | dfd ecA | d3 a2 f | dfd aef |
1 d3 a2 f | dfd ecA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
2 gfg efd | GBd ecA | g2 f efd | cAA aef ||

Posted by .

“The Curlew” ~ C: Donald MacPherson

X: 1
T: Curlew, The
C: Donald MacPherson
S: “Alasdair Fraser & Tony McManus: Return to Kintail”, track 11, 2nd of 4
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
R: jig
K: DMaj
c |:\
d3 A2 d | B>AA d>BA | d3 A2 d | B>AA a>ef |
d3 A2 d | B>AA d>BA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
|: d3 f2 d | a>ef d>BA | d3 f2 d | a>Aa f>ef |
d3 f2 d | a>ef d>BA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
|: d3 G>BA | d>Bd e>cA | d3 G>BB | A>ce a>ef |
d3 G>BA | d>Bd e>cA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
|: d3 a2 f | d>fd e>cA | d3 a2 f | d>fd a>ef |
[1 d3 a2 f | d>fd e>cA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
[2 g2 f e>fd | G>Bd e>cA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a2 |]

“The Curlew” ~ C: Donald MacPherson - adding the headers

X: 2
T: Curlew, The
C: Donald MacPherson
Z: Kenny
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
R: jig
K: DMaj
|: d3 A2 d | BAA dBA | d3 A2 d | BAA aef |
d3 A2 d | BAA dBA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
|: d3 f2 d | aef dBA | d3 f2 d | a2 a fef |
d3 f2 d | aef dBA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
|: d3 GBA | dBd ecA | d3 GBB | Ace aef |
d3 GBA | dBd ecA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
|: d3 a2 f | dfd ecA | d3 a2 f | dfd aef |
[1 d3 a2 f | dfd ecA | g2 f efd | cAA aef :|
[2 gfg efd | GBd ecA | g2 f efd | cAA aef |]

# Posted on April 21st 2004 by Kenny

“The Curlew” ~ C: Donald MacPherson - Z: Nigel Gatherer X: 999

With minor adjustments to aid comparisons - for which there areonly a few differences…

X: 3
T: Curlew, The
C: Donald MacPherson
S: "Angus Grant: Highland Fiddle", track 5, 2nd of 2
Z: Nigel Gatherer
L: 1/8
M: 6/8
K: DMaj
|: d3 A2 d | B>AA d>BA | d3 A2 d | B>AA a>ef |
d3 A2 d | B>AA d>BA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
|: d3 f2 d | a>ef d>BA | d3 f2 d | a>aa f>ef |
d3 f2 d | a>ef d>BA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
|: d3 G>BA | d>Bd e>cA | d3 G>BB | A>ce a>ef |
d3 G>BA | d>Bd e>cA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
|: d3 a2 f | d>dd e>cA | d3 a2 f | d>dd a>ef |
[1 d3 a2 f | d>dd e>cA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef :|
[2 g>fg efd | G>Bd e>cA | g2 f e>fd | c>AA a>ef |]

# Posted on October 27th 2012 by Nigel Gatherer

Posted in the following discussion: I’d like to identify a tune, can anyone help?
# Posted on October 27th 2012 by Fred Holden
https://thesession.org/discussions/30760

The pipe setting for the tune can be found in Donald MacLeod’s book 1, p.41. Donald MacPherson was born in 1922 and passed away earlier this year.

Weejie, do you have any further background on Donald MacPherson?

P.s. …

First tune is "The Duck", by P.M. Donald MacLeod. "The Curlew" starts at 52 secs. 2 of the musicians there are sadly not with us any more - RIP Tony Cuffe [ guitar ], and George Jackson [ whistle ].

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