The Winster Gallop polka

Also known as The Black Cat Piddled In The White Cat’s Eye, The Morris Reel.

There are 2 recordings of this tune.

The Winster Gallop has been added to 10 tune sets.

The Winster Gallop has been added to 85 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: The Winster Gallop
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:GB/B/ GB|GB d2|AB/c/ BA|GB d2|
c e g e|d B d2|A>c BA|G2 G2:|
|:gf ed|gf ed|gf/f/ ed|cB A2|
fe d2|fe d2|d2 A>c|BA G2:|

Thirty comments

Roast Beef and Mustard

In light of Will Harmon’s comments on The Hesleyside Reel, posted a few days ago, I thought this tune deserved to be posted, in order to show just how pedestrian, ‘dagnified’, downright embarrassing English tunes can get. This is one of those tunes that makes me proud to be Jewish. It makes The Rakes of Mallow (of which it could conceivably be a cousin) seem positively… profound - funky, even.

Will - I dare you to strike up this one at your local session.


Did this come off of Sesame Street? Or Barney?

Oil Beef Hooked!

Och, dis here tis a mighty tchune, none better.

Let’s see…I know I’ve heard the A part sung by one of the Telly Tubbies, and the B part--got it! It’s the jingle for Meow Mix cat food!

|g f e d|g f e d|g f g ^g|a f e d|

Posted .

David, I’ve never thought of playing those fast semiquaver bits before. I’ll have to practise those. Glad to see that Will is finally able to appreciate good tunes like this.

I even know the words. To the B part, sing:

“I love chicken, I love liver, Meow Mix, Meow Mix please deliver.”

I’ve added this one to my tunebook.

Posted .

Dia help us all.


the daggy above all others

do you watch the teletubbies Will?

I can so beat this for dag. Just you wait and see.

A few points:

Firstly, I confess to contravening The Session guidelines by posting a tune that I have lifted straight from a tune collection (Richard Robinson’s Tunebook) rather than from my repertoire;

Secondly, in the above tune collection, this tune is categorised as a reel, not a polka (I originally posted it as a reel, but Jeremy apparently thought it was a mistake and changed it);

Thirdly, and somewhat surprisingly, this tune appears as a polka in Henrik Norbeck’s collection of ‘Irish’ tunes. Try to imagine it played by Johnny O’Leary or Jacky Daly - it’s dag factor could suddenly drop away and be replaced by an unprecedented surge of street cred.

I used to play this tune in a Newcastle band for a dance called Cheviot Rant. The set also included the infamous Turkey in the Straw (normally associated with the Virginia Reel). I know Winster Galop is hardly a tune with any merit - but hey, it’s designed for dance purposes and not for the session, and although it’s “daggy central” it works very well. Let’s not forget that when we take the proverbial piss. 🙂

Snowyowl, does Will watch the Teletubbies? He could be a script adviser for all we know 🙂

“Script adviser” LOL. Do you think they actually let one of the Teletubbies give advice on the script?

Ooops…did I say that out loud? My secret’s out.

Posted .

All the teletubbies ever say is not understandable to humans. I wonder what it does to children

This is a classic tune

The Winster is an all time classic English Dance tunes. Listen to the Old Swan Band “No Reels” Album, Tufty Swift played it on How to make a bakewell tard (or so), Flowers and Frolics on their first album as well. No matter what you say, I love the tune.

Posted by .

Winster Gallop is definitely a reel, an English style reel, NOT a polka.

It’s also a very well known tune, and that leads to a bit of snobbery about it with some musicians, but the reason that it has survived so long is because it is a fantastic dance tune.

Also, as with many English dance tunes, it’s style is very different to Irish reels (hence the confusion about it being a “polka”), it exists to be danced to. It also has room in it to dance to, and for rhythmic/melodic variations by the musician.

That’s one of the big points, these English dance tunes are never played “straight”. If the musician cannot make it interesting then that’s down to the musician and their experience/competence with this style of tune.

The person who entered Winster Gallop freely admits to not playing it (see above) and seems to have done it to try to make fun of the tune and English tunes generally. I’m sorry, but the joke’s on you, go away and learn a bit, listen to good musicians, and think before you do this again.

Oh, and I suspect I’ll be playing Winster Gallop tonight in my local session (English, Scottish and Irish etc) and there will not be a single complaint 🙂

Winster Gallop

I’ve played this a few times in the English session I go to. It occurs to me that if this tune had come to the attention of Beethoven he would have done something wonderful with it.

I reckon if Beethoven had been subjected to this tune he would have been glad he was deaf 😀

Winster Gallop

Ah, but Beethoven did all his best stuff when he was absolutely stone deaf. That enabled him to explore new soundscapes and textures, particularly in his later chamber music, which might have been more difficult if he had had the distraction of good hearing.

Winster Gallop is a great tune for what it is- a Morris tune. I come from Winster (or there abouts) and the Gallop one of several very old, skippy, fun Morris dances from Winster. Other dances (each with their own tunes) include Winster Processional, Winster Reel and The Blue-Eyed Stranger.

the first part sounds like the French children rhyme (perhaps recent) ‘violette à bicyclette’ the second part, especially, sounds like La Pitoune (sung by French singing Canadian La Bolduc) and a host of other tunes.

The Black Cat Piddled in the White Cat’s Eye

A variation of this tune (The Black Cat Piddled in the White Cat’s Eye) is a very popular tune in both sessions and in dance tune repertoires (as a reel/set tune) in Australia.

It was collected from Les Brown (an aboriginal dance musician from Cape Baron Island) and transcribed by Alan Musgrove

Sliabh Luachra Polka

This tune can be played as a Sliabh Luachra polka if you like. If you can’t make it sound good, that’s your limitation, not the tune’s.

Winter gallop

This is one of the best tunes I can play🙂 If this tune was not on here I would never call it a THE session🙂.
sorry all:P

Winster gallop

This it a reel:D

Re: The Winster Gallop

Wow! Such snobbery. Great beginners tune. I love it.

Re: The Winster Gallop

It is a simple tune, but that’s no reason to decry it: as other’s have said, it’s how you play it, and also, please see it in context. It is neither a polka nor a reel. Ok, it’s not Irish, but it is deeply rooted in the English tradition.
Just enjoy it as it is:


You’ve really got to admire those musicians for turning out on a windy, cold February Sunday morning! (the videographer thought it was all about the dancing, hence the rather distant music!)
We also play the same tune for the various processions at Sidmouth Folk Week, including the final night.

Re: The Winster Gallop

It is a great tune for beginners. And as somebody says it is how you play and what you put into it. I like it!

Re: The Winster Gallop

To all who think this tune is beneath them, think back to when it was above them and they could not at that stage play it. If it helps people get started on their instrument it is a great tune and being simple it gives ample scope for variation, for example try it in Emin. ( No notation, you’ll be clever enough to work it out!). Polka, reel or anything else, play it how you like- which instantly makes it more interesting.