The Anvil reel

By Will Smith

There are 7 recordings of this tune.

The Anvil appears in 1 other tune collection.

The Anvil has been added to 81 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: The Anvil
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
G2 Bc dcBc|dcBc dcBd|cBAB cBAB|cBAB cB A2:|
|:edcB ABcd|edcB ABAE|F2 AB cBAE|F2 AB cBAF|
G2 Bc dcBc|dcBc dcBd|cBAB cB AB|cBAB cB A2:|
|:eaed cBAe|eaed cBAE|F2 AB cBAE|F2 AB cBAF|
G2 Bc dcBc|dcBc dcBd|cBAB cBAB|cBAB cB A2:|

Sixteen comments

A can’t be bothered to learn tune?

This is a tune you’ll either love or hate. I actually got around to learning it in the end. It’s not a bad tune, actually, but in some sessions you’ll get musicians using it as a “show off” piece whereby they’ll play it several times and constantly speed up. I think it’s nicer played at a normal speed the usual 2 or 3 times.
The tune was originally composed by Will Smith from Shetland.


I can’t say I’ve ever heard this tune played. I can see how it might be fun, but I can also see how the novelty might wear off before long. Sometimes these kinds of tunes will get a strong reaction from the punters that will perpetuate and reinforce their inclusion during a night of tunes.

“…novelty might wear off before long.” Yeah, like your very first time halfway through the B part.

Nothing personal John, just not my cup of tea.

Posted .

Although I laughed at Will last I played with him because someone had started up Concertina (which is also on his “not my cup of tea” list), he’d be like, “what?” as he played along, not realizing what the tune was…so play the Anvil at him by all means, and I bet he’d pick it up to be agreeable anyway. 🙂


This happened multiple times over a weekend!

I wonder how far you could get through A. Highlanders w/o him realising what it was 🙂

*snort* He spots that on the first two notes!

I agree it’s not the best of tunes but it came to mind after the “Can’t be bothered to learn this tune” thread. I think this is a typical example, although I have learned it. As I said, I’ve often heard it played after “Tam Lin/Glasgow reel” but it’s never taken too seriously.

“The Anvil” ~ isn’t this a Ronnie Cooper composition?

As I undestand it, this was composed by Ronnie Cooper, rather than Will Smith?


There is another tune of the same name composed by Ronnie Cooper which, in fact, is the one on the Aly Bain album.

The tune submitted here has been credited elsewhere to Will Smith.

Re Will Smith

Having said that, I can’t find the reference just now. I’ll try again later. 🙂

Ronnie Cooper Week?!

Thanks John, appreciated… Hey, how about transcribing the Ronnie Cooper ‘Anvil’ for “Ronnie Cooper Week”? 🙂

It is an idea ~ to give a focus on the Shetlands through this composer, and thinking of a recent request for his waltzes, etc…

Re: The Anvil

Hi, Owen. What you’ve posted here as X:2 isn’t the same tune as X:1.

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Re: The Anvil

Er, isn’t that the whole point? It was mentioned above Owen’s post that there were 2 different tunes called “The Anvil”. So now, 9 years on, we have the second one. Thanks Owen, though possibly it could also be the subject of a new Tunes thread in its own right?

Re: The Anvil

Different tunes of the same title are meant to be posted separately on this site. What are supposed to be collected together are different versions of the same tune. So Owen’s submission should be its own entry, as it is not a version of the original tune.

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