Christmas Eve reel

Also known as Christmas Eve, The Christmas Eve, The Christmas, Oiche Nollag, Oiche Nollaig, Tommy Coen’s, Tommy Coen’s Christmas Eve.

There are 71 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with The Mountain Road (a few times), The Boogie (a few times), Farrel O’Gara’s (a few times), Greig’s Pipes (a few times) and Jackie Coleman’s (a few times).

Christmas Eve has been added to 36 tune sets.

Christmas Eve has been added to 793 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Eight settings

X: 1
T: Christmas Eve
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
GE|:DB,DE G2 GA|(3BBB dB ABGA|BAGE DB,DE|G2 BG ABGE|
|DB,DE GFGA|B2 dB ABGA|BAAB G~E3|1 ABGF G2 EG:|2 ABGF ~G3A||
|:BG (3Bcd edeg|a2 ge gfeg|a2 af ~g3e|dBgB BAGA|
|BG (3Bcd edeg|abge gfeg|abge dBGB|1 ABGF ~G3A:|2 ABGF GAdc||
|:BGGA BGBd|e~g3 egdc|BGEG DGBG|FAAG FADA|
|BGGA BGBd|e~g3 efga|bgaf gedB|1 ABGF GAdc:|2 ABGF G EG||
# Added .
X: 2
T: Christmas Eve
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
GE|D3E GEGA|B2dB ABGB |ABGE DB,DE|G2BG ABGE|
DB,DE GEGA|B2dB ABGA|B2AB GEBG|ABGE G2:|
GA|BABd edeg|abge g2eg|a2eg gage|dedB A2GA|
BABd edeg|abge g2eg|a2ge d2BG|ABGE G2:|
dB|BAG2 DGBd|egg2 egdB|BAG2 DGBG|EAA2 EAA2|
BGG2 DGBd|egg2 egdg|b2ag egdB|ABGE G2:||
X: 3
T: Christmas Eve
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:GE|D3E ~G3A|B2dB ABGA|BAGE DB,DE|GABG ABGE|
DB,DE ~G3A|B2dB ABGA|BAAB GE~E2|ABGE G2:|
|:GA|BA (3Bcd edeg|abge g2eg|a2ge ~g3e|dedB ABGA|
BA (3Bcd edeg|abge g2eg|abge d2BG|ABGE G2:|
|:dc|BG~G2 dG (3Bcd|eg~g2 egdc|BG~G2 DGBG|EAAG EAAc|
BG~G2 dG (3Bcd|eg~g2 egdg|bgag eddB|ABGE G2:|
X: 4
T: Christmas Eve
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
E|D3E G2GA|B2dB ABGA|BAGE DB,DE|G2BG ABGE|
D2DE ~G3A|B2dB ABGA|BA~A2 GAEG|ABGE G3:|
A|BABd e2eg|abge g2eg|abge ~g3e|dedB ABGA|
B2Bd ~e3g|abge g2eg|abge dB~B2|ABGE G3:|
A|BG~G2 DGBd|eg~g2 egdc|BG~G2 DGBd|cA~A2 EAcA|
BG~G2 DGBd|eg~g2 egdg|bg~g2 egdB|ABGE G3:|
X: 5
T: Christmas Eve
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
D2DE G2GA | B2dB ABGA | ABGE D2DE | GABG ABGE |
D2DE G2GA | B2dB ABGA | BAGE DEGB |1 ABGE G2GE :|2 ABGE G2GA ||
BGBd edeg | a2ge g2eg | a2ge g2ge | dedB ABGA |
BGBd edeg | a2ge g2eg | a2ge d2BG | ABGE G2GA :|
BG (3GGG DG(3GGG | eg (3ggg egdc | BG (3GGG DG(3GGG| EA (3AAA EAcA |
BG (3GGG DG(3GGG | eggf g2ga| bg (3ggg egdB |1 ABGE G2GA :|2 ABGE G4 ||
X: 6
T: Christmas Eve
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: E |DCDE GFGA | B2 dB A/^A/B GB | A/^A/B GE DCDE | GABG ABGE |
DCDE GFGA | B2 dB A/^A/B GA | BA A/^G/A =GEBG |[1 A/^A/B GE G3 :|[2 A/^A/B GE G2 ||
|: GA |BABd ed e/f/g | abge g/a/g eg | a/b/a/^g af =gage | dedB A/^A/B G=A |
B/c/B/A/ Bd ed e/f/g | abge g/a/g eg | a/b/a ge d/e/d BG | A/^A/B GE G2 :|
|: Gd |:BG G/F/G BGBd | eggf e/f/g dc | BG G/F/G BGAG | EA A/^G/A EA A/G/A |
BG G/F/G BGBd | eg g/f/g e/f/g dg | bgag e/f/g dB |[1 ABGE G3 d :|[2 ABGE G3 |]
X: 7
T: Christmas Eve
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|D3E G3A|B2dB ABGB |ABGE DBDE|G2BG ABGE|
DBDE G3A|B2dB ABGA|BA A2 GEBG|ABGE G3E:|
|BABd edeg|abge g2eg|a3f g3e|dedB A2GA|
BABd edeg|abge g2eg|a2ge d2BG|ABGE G3A:|
|BG G2 BGBd |egg2 egdc|BG G2 B2 AG|EA A2 EA A2|
BG G2 DGBd|egg2 egga|bgaf gedB|ABGE G3E:||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 8
T: Christmas Eve
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
G|~D3 E ~G3 A|~B2 dB ABGA|BAGE ~D2(3B,CD|GABG ABGE|
~D3 E ~G3 A|~B2 dB ABGA|BA ~A2 GEBG|ABGE ~G2 GE||
~D3 E ~G3 A|~B2 dB ABGA|BAGE DB,DE|GABG ABGE|
~D3 E ~G3 A|~B2 dB ABGA|BA ~A2 GEBG|ABGE ~G3 A||
BABd edeg|~a2 ge ~g2 eg|~a3 e gage|dedB ABGA|
BABd edeg|~a2 ge ~g2 eg|~a2 ge d2 BG|ABGE G3 A||
BABd ed (3efg|~a2 ge ~g2 eg|~a2 ge ~g2 ge|dedB ABGA|
BA (3Bcd ed (3efg|~a2 ge ~g2 (3efg|~a2 ge ~d2 BG|ABGE GBdc||
BABc dGBd|eg ~g2 egdc|BG ~G2 BGAG|EA ~A2 EAAc|
BABc dGBd|eg ~g2 egdg|~b2ag gedB|ABGE GBdc||
BABc dGBd|eg ~g2 egdc|BABc dGAG|EA ~A2 EAAc|
BG ~G2 DGBd|eg ~g2 egdg|~b2ag gedB|ABGE ~G2 GE|]

Thirty-five comments

Christmas Eve

Happy holidays all! I first played this three-part reel from the notes in David Taylor’s "Music for the Sets" blue book, but changed the setting a fair amount to fit better on my fiddle. It’s still one of those annual tunes for me—never played often enough to really stick in the memory.

The rocking back and forth from D to B, and back in the first part remind me of how Frankie Gavin swings similar phrases in Derry Craig Wood and other tunes, so I try to emulate that (with surprising success, after too much egg nog). Try to keep that swing going, particularly in the third part and its downhill run in measure 3.

So exactly what IS the connection between Santa’s elves and Eire’s little people? Another historical instance of the Irish having to leave home for seasonal work? :-)

Will

Posted .

Tommy Coen

I also know this tune as Tommy Coen’s - I belive he was a musician from Galway (not sure, though). Regardless of the title this one gets played year round in New England. This tune does not fit easily on the fiddle (esp. the third part), but is pretty natural for the flute, but my gut feeling is that it was written on a box. Just a guess.

Anybody have any info on Tommy Coen?

Shannon’s a fluter, so she couldn’t get that low note, and I can’t remember off hand what her setting sounds like, just that I love it when she plays it. So, no answer to your other question, Will! I suppose I’ll find out next time she’s out if we play it…

Zina

I’ve heard flutes play the first bar
GE | D3E G3A….

Christmas eve

This tune gets played quite a bit all year around, and I’m just in the process of learning it on the fiddle (I think it’s a great fiddle tune!) It’s nice played a bit slowish with a bit of a swing. I like it followed by Ed Reavy’s " Hunter’s House." Great tune!

Posted by .

Christmas eve

This tune gets played quite a bit all year around, and I’m just in the process of learning it on the fiddle (I think it’s a great fiddle tune!) It’s nice played a bit slowish with a bit of a swing. I like it followed by Ed Reavy’s " Hunter’s House." Great tune!

Posted by .

Christmas eve

This may or may not be true. I was told several years ago that "Christmas Eve" was a composition of the Galway -style fiddle player Tommy Coen, who did not have a name for the tune . It was broadcast on the Irish radio station RTE on a programme on Christmas eve in 1955, and so the name "Christmas Eve " was attached to the tune, and it has been known as that ever since.

Posted by .

Here is a version which is entirely pentatonic, i.e. no C’s or F#’s.
K:G
GE|D3E GEGA|B2dB ABGB |ABGE DB,DE|G2BG ABGE|
DB,DE GEGA|B2dB ABGA|B2AB GEBG|ABGE G2:|
GA|BABd edeg|abge g2eg|a2eg gage|dedB A2GA|
BABd edeg|abge g2eg|a2ge d2BG|ABGE G2:|
dB|BAG2 DGBd|egg2 egdB|BAG2 DGBG|EAA2 EAA2|
BGG2 DGBd|egg2 egdg|b2ag egdB|ABGE G2:||

trevor

ps I should have said, the pentatonic version is adapted from a version by Paul McNevin which is almost pentatonic.

trevor

Hey, Will, how session-acceptable is the setting of Christmas Eve that James Kelly plays on The Ring Sessions? (I think this one may finally have stuck, but in that setting because I listen to that recording so much).

Zina

Zina, I just gave it another listen and it would fit in most anywhere, I think. Of course, Julia Delaney (first tune on that track) isn’t commonly played in Gm….

Funny—James Kelly’s setting is simpler in some phrases and much more complex in others, relative to what I’ve heard others do with Christmas Eve. Time to revisit the tune myself.

Posted .

Thanks, Will. I listened to The Ring Sessions through most of Utah and Nevada, and do like that track a lot, even if the Julia Delaney’s is in the weirdo key of Gm. For some reason, I’ve never been able to get Christmas Eve to sound good when I played it, for well over a year and a half, but last night I hauled out the fiddle (having exhausted myself on wedding dress making) and gave it another go, inspired by James and Zan. James Kelly seems to have done the trick! (So to speak.)

Christmas Eve Midi File

Hey there folks… the site’s great… but I have to tell ya, I just shared the Midi file for Christmas Eve Reel with my Fiddler and both of us were a bit lost… really, this particular midi rendering of this particular tune should probably be unposted and rethought through… after all, novice players may listen to this and come away thinking this is how the tune should sound. It sounded as though the renderer of this Midi track was attempting to put in the 5 note rolls, yet they weren’t carrying the true spirit of the tune through to the listener, and in fact the consensius is that by not playing the basic tune through and leaving it at that, the renderer has actually thrown off the tempo and rhythm of this peice.
We look forward to seeing the site grow and flourish… let’s all keep to mind that, as stated in the sign up, there are many many people(s) of varying skill level viewing this site. Tunes that are posted perhaps should carry with them any side notes stating that this posting may be a variation, etc… it’s only fair to provide newbies as well as seasoned players with the absolute purest form of written sheet music as possible. Variations are great and keep a particular life-breath within the tradition but variations come second…
A rule of thumb we tend to follow in both our bands is: Learn the original first, learn it well… the original tune itself will then reveal to you the most auspiscious places to add grace-notes, pick-ups and variations if there be room at all. :-)

Midi file

Um… the midi file was made by a computer. Of course it’s going to sound soul-less.

I don’t believe that anybody is just relying on the midi file of any tune to learn from. It’s just another tool along with the sheetmusic and ABC file that can help when learning a tune.

I look forward to seeing your tune submissions, Doursean. It’s clear that you have strong feelings about how tunes should be notated and commented on.

Bye,

Jeremy

Um, yep, in my post at the top of this comment thread, I state that this is my version based on a written source. It includes the ornaments I might use, as one way of playing the tune.

The rolls come out funky in midi—the option is to not indicate where rolls can be used, and I sometimes post tunes that way too. I think there are valid arguments for posting basic (unornamented) settings, and settings with "natural" ornamentation (say, the "f" rolls in the B part of Last Night’s Fun) in place. We’ve hashed over this before, but maybe it’s time to revisit the issue. A topic for a discussion thread perhaps?

Posted .

On da fiddle

On the fiddle this tune, at least as it is posted here, is like a graded study: it goes from a relatively easy A part, through the moderately challenging B part to a C part that separates the men from the boys. I’m in the latter category so far.

Posted by .

Christmas Eve

Seeing as it’s Christmas Eve I thought it appropriate to submit my version of this. I like Will’s setting apart from the F#s. Much prefer it as a hexatonic:

K:G
|:GE|D3E ~G3A|B2dB ABGA|BAGE DB,DE|GABG ABGE|
DB,DE ~G3A|B2dB ABGA|BAAB GE~E2|ABGE G2:|
|:GA|BA (3Bcd edeg|abge g2eg|a2ge ~g3e|dedB ABGA|
BA (3Bcd edeg|abge g2eg|abge d2BG|ABGE G2:|
|:dc|BG~G2 dG (3Bcd|eg~g2 egdc|BG~G2 DGBG|EAAG EAAc|
BG~G2 dG (3Bcd|eg~g2 egdg|bgag eddB|ABGE G2:|

As for the post from Jan 20th of this year: my advice is, go to sessions, learn the tunes by ear, and you won’t be so lost.

A Flute Version

I came up with my own version of this common tune the other day. It’s still the first draft, but goes like this:

K: Gmaj
E|D3E G2GA|B2dB ABGA|BAGE DB,DE|G2BG ABGE|
D2DE ~G3A|B2dB ABGA|BA~A2 GAEG|ABGE G3:|
A|BABd e2eg|abge g2eg|abge ~g3e|dedB ABGA|
B2Bd ~e3g|abge g2eg|abge dB~B2|ABGE G3:|
A|BG~G2 DGBd|eg~g2 egdc|BG~G2 DGBd|cA~A2 EAcA|
BG~G2 DGBd|eg~g2 egdg|bg~g2 egdB|ABGE G3:|

Christmas Eve

Bail ó Dhia oraibh! Greetings one and all!

Christmas Eve…what a lovely time! What a lovely tune!

I’ve just had my first play of the day, it’s 7.30am here in Tasmania and I picked up my flute and off she went! And I thought, it is Christmas Eve.

It’s amazing how many memories can be associated with one tune.

For example the first time I was able to play it, with whom I’ve played it, that brings back some wonderful thoughts and memories of players now gone, special occasions…favourite versions.

Actually that has just jolted me! The best version I ever heard was by the recently late Tommy McManamon RIP.

And talking of favourite versions it was at The Favourite Pub! He just made that tune sing dance and laugh at the same time. God rest you Tommy and thanks for all your kindness!

Has anyone any special recollections of this tune, of others they’ve heard playing it, or perhaps another tune in particular?

I’ve been absent for a while, no access to a computer but that seems to be rectified now.

May you all be filled with peace, joy and light!

Nollaig shona,

Brian x

Christmas Eve on Flute

The first time I heard this tune was on Dan Gibson’s "A Celtic Christmas Story" played on an Irish Flute, and I pretty much fell in love with it. This tune actually was the tune that inspired me to take up the Irish Flute. Does anybody know a place where I could find sheet music or possibly a MIDI of this version?

Tommy Coen’s Inishbofin Ceili band setting

The hyperlink on the track listing at https://thesession.org/recordings/display/2659 points to a different tune altogether but this is a rough transcription of the version of this tune on the CD…

T: Tommy Coen’s
S: Inishbofin Ceili Band - The Dear Little Isle
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
D2DE G2GA | B2dB ABGA | ABGE D2DE | GABG ABGE |
D2DE G2GA | B2dB ABGA | BAGE DEGB |1 ABGE G2GE :|2 ABGE G2GA ||
BGBd edeg | a2ge g2eg | a2ge g2ge | dedB ABGA |
BGBd edeg | a2ge g2eg | a2ge d2BG | ABGE G2GA :|
BG (3GGG DG(3GGG | eg (3ggg egdc | BG (3GGG DG(3GGG| EA (3AAA EAcA |
BG (3GGG DG(3GGG | eggf g2ga| bg (3ggg egdB |1 ABGE G2GA :|2 ABGE G4 ||

Not just a Christmas tune!

I’ll be referring to this tune as "Tommy Coen’s" from now on… I tried to introduce this tune at the session as "Christmas Eve", but people made faces and griped that it was only November, what were we doing playing Christmas tunes? It’s too good a tune to only play one month out of the year!

Help!

Is there a different version of this tune? one that can be played on a d flute without any keys?

You don’t need any keys to play it.

Posted by .

Keys

Ah sure you do, if you’re using a Bb flute to play in G major!

Christmas eve or tommy coens reel

Tommy was my grand uncle, i remember him trying to play the fiddle after he had a stroke, i was a young lad, and ill never forget the tears coming down his eyes cause he couldnt play… my daughter just recently inherited his fiddle…what a gift… it sounds amazing… Matt cunningham had a play on it and couldnt get over its sound…

Just to stir it up a ‘litte’, I like this played as a single reel, just 24 bars worth rather than 48, minus the repeats. 8-)

I well understand the tears eamonn…

Fluters!

This has probably already been said, but this is a whopping flute tune! Especially the last part with those jumps down to that D. Just a tad of over-blowing there just tops it off. :D

X: 6 “Christmas Eve” ~ A/^A/B ~ ‘tis the season! 8-)

S: transcribed from the box playing of Johnny Reidy
CD: "Johnny Reidy & The Sliabh Luachra Ceili Band: Music for Set Dancing Volume II"
Track 20, the 3rd reel of 3…
https://thesession.org/recordings/4797

Tommy Coen’s - aka Christmas Eve

From Fiddler’s Companion:
A popular session tune composed by Urrachree, Aughrim, East County Galway, fiddler Tommy Coen (1910-1974). Coen, who later lived in Salthill, was a conductor for Connemara buses during the day. A story about the title that has been circulating is that Coen’s tune was called “Christmas Eve” by the leader of a ceilidh band from Coen’s area who had been having a fight or dispute with the fiddler. He was invited with his band to play for a radio show in Dublin just before the Yule, and when introducing the tune names they were to play he choose not to mention Coen, but said the name of the reel was “Christmas Eve” because of the proximity of the holiday and to irk Coen. No one seems to know if the composer himself had a title for it.

Tommy Coen - aka “Tonnie” Coen

I just returned from a visit to Galway, where (by happy accident) I met and spoke at length with a woman, Kathleen (I didn’t get her last name), who told me that her uncle had written the Christmas Eve Reel and that, among his friends and family, he was called "Tonnie"—not "Tommy."

Re: Christmas Eve

Is aoibhinn liom an ceann seo. Ní féidir é a shárú! One rather fancies this reel!