Don’t let the length of the tune scare you; as usual, most parts are simply variations on a theme. Once you’ve mastered the recurring bits (like the end of each part) then it’s simply a matter of remembering the order of the different parts.
There is another (equally long) tune that goes by the same name as this tune but I believe this is the more common gold ring. This tune is also played sometimes with a seventh part.
A recording by Seamus Ennis has him telling a very amusing story as to how this tune came about. The gist of it is that this tune was composed by the fairies, or little people, of Ireland.
The version I learnt (and can be found on Conal O Grada’s Top of Coom) is a bit different.
It has seven parts, as Jeremy pointed out, and although the first part is identical to his, the other parts are either slightly or quite different.
As posting all the variations separetely would be a bit confusing. I just post the entire version here as a comment. Enjoy.
BAG ~A2d|cAG ~G2A|BAG A2d|cAG FGA|BAG A2d|cAG GBd|~g3 afd|cAF G2A:|
|:~B3 BAG|~A3 AGF|~G3 GFG|ADE FGA|~B3 BAG|~A3 AGF|FDE F2d|1 cAF G2A:|2 cAF G2g||
|:fdd edd|fdd edd|fdd edd|dcA GBd|fdd edd|fdd ed^c|dfa ged|1 cAF G2g:|2 cAF GBd||
fed|cAG FGA|~g3 fed|~g3 fed|~g3 afd|1 cAF GBd:|2 cAF G2E||
GBd|cAG FGA|DBB DBB|DAA DAA|~G3 GBd|1 cAF G2E:|2 cAF G2A||
GBd|cAG FGA|~B3 ~D3|~A3 ~D3|~G3 GBd|cAF G2A:|
A2G|cAG FGA|BAG AGF|GFD FGA|fag fed|1 cAF G2A:|2 cAF G3
Thanks for that, Toni! I’ve been thinking I really should learn this one, and it’ll be lovely to have Conal’s version. :)
I can’t quite makensense of Toni’s version above - I think something must have gone wrong in the posting. This is the setting I am most familiar with:
BAG A2d|cAG ~G3|BAG A2d|cAG FGA|BAG A2d|cAG GBd|gbg afd|cAG G2A:|
|:~B3 Bdc|~A3 dcA|~G3 GFG|ADE FGA|~B3 Bdc|A3 dAG|FDE F2d|1 cAG G2A:|2 c
|:fdd edd|fdd edd|fdd ed^c|d=cA GBd|fdd edd|fdd ed^c|dfa gfd|1 cAG G2z:|2
|:~g3 efd|cAG GBd|~g3 efd|cAG FGA|~g3 efd|~g3 fed|gfg afd|1 cAG GBd:|2 c
|:DBB DBB|DAA DAA|~G3 GBd|cAG FGA|DBB DBB|DAA DAA|G3 GBd|1 cAF G2E:|2 c
|:~B3 ~D3|~A3 ~D3|~G3 GBd|cAG FGA|~B3 ~D3|~A3 ~D3|~G3 GBd|cAF G2A:|
|:B2G A2G|d2G G2A|B2G A2G|cAG FGA|BAG AGF|GFD FGA|fag fed|cAF G2A:|
It differs most significantly from Jeremy’s version in the 4th and 5th parts, and in the addition of the 7th part. This is based on Henrik Norbeck’s transcription, although I have altered a few notes here and there, and reduced the ornamentation somewhat. I have left in all the ~ symbols in the 6th part as I feel the ornamentaion is integral to the tune. Coming from the piping repertoire, the ~D3s in the 6th part are best cranned on pipes, whistle or flute - and there are ways of imitating this on fiddle (listen to Frankie Gavin on De Danann’s 1st album) and mandolin/banjo.
There are at least two other jigs called The Gold Ring. One is an entirely different tune, in D, posted recently in The Session. The other appears in O’Neills, and although quite a distinct tune, is clearly of the same family as this one, the final parts of the two tunes being pretty much identical.
The Gold Ring Piping Version
T: Gold Ring, The
|:BAG A2d|cAF ~G2 A|BAG (3BcdB |cAG FGA|
BAG Add|cAD GBd|g3 afd|cAF G2A:|
|:B3 Bdc|A3 dcA|G3 GBd|cAG FGA|
B3 Bdc|A3 dAG|FDE F2d|1 cAF G2A:|
|:fdd edd|fdd edd|fdd ed^c|d=cA GBd|
fdd edd|fdd ed^c|dfa gfd|cAF G2z:|
|:d| g3 f2d|cAF GBd|g3 f2d|cAF G2d|
g3 f2d|g3 f2d|g3 afd|cAF G3:|
|:A|DBB DBB|DAA DAA|G3 GBd|cAG FGA|
DBB DBB|DAA DAA|G3 GBd|cAF G2:|
|:A| B3 D3|A3 D3|G3 GBd|cAG FGA|
B3 D3|A3 D3|G3 GBd|cAF G2A|
B3 D3 | D3 D3 |G3 GBd | cAG FGA|
B3 D3 | A3 D3 |G3 GBd | cAF G2A :|
|:B2G A2G|d2G G2A|B2G A2G|cAG FGA|
BAG AGF|GFD FGA|(3fgaf gfd|cAF G2A:|
A fantastic rendition
Last night I heard Nollaig Casey performing the Gold Ring. What was amazing is how she played pipes on the fiddle! You could even hear the regulators.
Flugel Horn version
Celtic Jazz man Neil Yates plays this on his flugel horn, sounds fantastic.
The Gold Ring
Cracking on the khaen……
Matt Molloys version is the other Gold ring on here
https://thesession.org/tunes/1351 is the one from the Pathway to the Well CD.
Gold Ring Piper Version
I think this is a mixture of the versions of Willie Clancy and Liam O’Flynn (two of my piping heros)
As played by “Craobh Rua”…..
Boys of the Lough Version
This is transcribed directly from "Music and Song from the Boys of the Lough" as played on their "Second Album.
According to the note from the book, "The story concerns a farmer who, on returning home late one night, surprised a fairy gathering. The fairies were dancing to the music of a fairy piper, but on hearing the intruder, they ran off. The farmer, about to continue on his way, found a gold fairy ring. He returned it to the fairies (naturally, he knew just where to find them). In exchange, they gave him the tune that the fairy piper had been playing."
9 part gold ring
I learnt a lovely 9 part version of the gold ring from uilleann piper dicky deegan which he calls an amalgemation of the willie clancy and o’neills 1850 versions, very nice, i have asked him to post it, hope he pulls his finger out.
The Gold Ring
Here it is being played by Niall and Cillian Vallely:
as played by Christy and Mickey Dunne: