Andy Davy’s reel

There are 2 recordings of this tune.

Andy Davy’s has been added to 1 tune set.

Andy Davy's has been added to 18 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Andy Davy's
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:Bd|edBA GABd|edBd g2fg|eBBA GABd|eBdB A2:|
|:(3Bcd|eddg eaag|gedB GABd|eaag eaag|gedB A2:|

Twenty-two comments

Andy Davy’s

I learnt this single reel from Pete Cooper at one of his workshops a few days ago. I believe Andy Davy is a fiddle player from South Galway.
This pentatonic reel is best played with plenty of swing. A useful tune to follow it is The Pullet and the Cock.


Nice tune!

I like this tune very much.Sounds more like Em to me though not Adorian.

Andy Davy’s

The rule is that the final note of the tune indicates the mode of the tune. In this case the final note is A, so it is one of the “A” modes. It also has an F#, and no other #’s or flats, so that tells us it is in A dorian.
This tune wanders into other keys ( G-major and E-minor, in this case) before it finishes in A dorian. This is quite normal, and every tune I’ve come across does it. Any tune that didn’t do this sort of thing (it’s called modulating) would almost certainly sound very dull or bland.

Sorry I don’t believe in rules.If you play an Amodal drone over the tune it doesn’t sound right to the ear,the Emodal drone sounds much more appropiate!!!PS I don’t need a lesson on theory!!

‘A’ mode??

I’ve just played this on my piano. Did not touch an ‘A’ chord once. I ended each music phrase on a ‘D’ thus holding the tune in the air awaiting a resolution back to a ‘G’ and infact I would put this in G anyway. Of course I could be musically illiterate Trevor even after over 40 years of playing piano, melodian, guitar etc

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Andy Davy’s

Rules, rules, where would we be without them - in utter chaos and confusion, for sure. I wouldn’t want to be treated by a surgeon who didn’t abide by the rules governing medical hygiene, or be a passenger in a car driven by someone who ignored the rules of the road.
The “rule” I referred to is a convenient device generally used to classify tunes according to their key or mode, bearing in mind that the key signature in modal music with half a dozen modes to choose from isn’t as specific as a key signature in classical music where the choice is usually only between major and minor, and so helps a chordal accompanist in the choice of chords appropriate to the tune.
This tune is pentatonic, i.e. only the 5 notes A-B-D-E-G in the scale instead of the usual full 7. The C and F# that occur one each in this tune are ornaments only and aren’t part of the pentatonic scale structure. It follows that any chords used have to be carefully chosen to fit in with the pentatonic feel of the tune. In particular, the notes C and F(# or nat) must be avoided in chords for this tune.
Hetty, the final note of the tune, “A”, is in fact the end of the tune in the dorian mode and doesn’t resolve to anything. If you’re using a D chord to finish this tune then that is the wrong chord for this modal tune - it should be the A chord without the 3rd (which doesn’t occur in this pentatonic scale).
Using chords to accompany traditional tunes, especially the modal ones, is a difficult exercise, basically because the tunes were composed as pure melody, to be played by fiddle, whistle, flute or pipes, without much, if any, thought of a harmonic accompaniment.

What mode?

Hey, I’ve got news for you all. You’re all right and you’re all wrong. Right with your chords, wrong to argue with each other. If unbacked, this tune is so vague and unstable in its pentatonicness, it’s impossible to pin down what the “correct” mode is. It depends what chords you end up putting to the tune. There are lots and lots of possibilities. You could have a Gmaj-based, Emin-based, A-dor based or even Clyd-based chord structure. If you don’t put chords to it, and just play the tune, what mode you think of it as being in depends largely on how you hear it in your head. For similar harmonically unstable tunes, check out “The Flowers Of The Red Mill” and “Paddy Fahy’s” in Gdor/F(?) (here in Ador). The difficulty with these tunes is that it’s not just a question of what note each part ends on, but also on how each small phrase spends as much time based in G as it does in A.

For purposes of a database, it’s convenient to call this one an Ador tune for the reasons that Trevor cites. However, that doesn’t mean that a drone on A will work throughout the tune. In fact, this tune moves too much for drones on any note. I disagree with Trevor’s suggestion that a D chord doesn’t work as the last chord of each part. On the contrary, because a lot of Ador tunes end on a note of A, a chord of D is appropriate to “lead” you into the next part. Try it with almost any Ador tune and you’ll find it works a lot of the time.

If you don’t believe what I’ve just said, open your mind to the possibilities and try these chords to the tune:


Looks more like Emin on paper doesn’t it? Maybe Meri is hearing it something like this. Try these:


Makes it more Ador - probably more like how Trevor’s hearing it in his head. You’ll find that when harmonizing, the first couple of chords establish the mode, so it’s nice to begin each part on a different chord so that you get the feeling of development in that each part is in a different mode. Beginning on or dwelling on a chord of C is a useful trick for these modeless tunes because it fits with the vague “unfinishedness” of the tune:


In fact, I’d be more inclined to want to emphasize this cyclic unfinishedness of the tune, and I’d probably start both parts on a chord of C, because I like the way the chord harmonizes the E at the start of the melody in both parts. You’ll find you just don’t want to stop playing it!


Or what about this for the end of the 2nd part so the bass runs down and leads you back into the A-part:


Maybe that one needs and extra G in the B-part for a bit of contrast and to set off that cascade down to G in the melody:


Must stop faffing and go and do some work!

Rules are made to be broken

Trevor, the “last note” sometimes doesn’t work. Case in point: I don’t think you’d disagree that that tune is in Dmix.

…especially since you yourself posted it as such 🙂

Trevor - you’re strictly incorrect about modulation - that’s a term for when the music moves completely to another key (usually in classical music with a cadence in the new key).

I find the whole mode thing REALLY unhelpful - mainly because 99% of people who use it really haven’t a clue about what they are. It would be so much simpler if people just used either i) the actual key signature they write the tune in (that’s what I do for ABC) or ii) just use a neutral description (in A, ends on A) without major, minor, modal etc.

A lot of people do find it helpful though *shrug*.

No - it’s got to be stupid when someone posts a tune which wanders around A, C with E dor. Let’s face it - how can something which most people screw up be helpful???

Ok yes, whatever, it’s stupid and unhelpful.

Andy Davy’s

Great name for a tune!

Andy Davey’s?

Andy Davey was a fine fiddler who farmed at Gurteen in Co. Sligo. He taught Rob Stafford/Zielinski and Declan Folan amongst others, and Junior Davey is his son. Is this tune named for him. do you think?

Andrew Davey is featured in the book ‘Trip to Sligo’…

…where it says he was born in 1928 in Cloonagh, Mullaghroe, Keash, Co. Sligo. To quote: “He is an acutely sensitive musician and his unique finger style and bowing are a fine example of the Sligo style.”

This tune is not included in Davey’s selection for Trip to Sligo; it would be good to have an original name for it, if it’s got one. The second part very closely resembles Jim Coleman’s


DavidT, this tune *is* included in Trip to Sligo, but in Noel Tansey’s section, as “Unknown” (page 96). (I’m trying to hunt down some of the Unknowns there this morning. Tunepal lead me to “Andy Dowy’s”, recorded by Lucy Farr on “Hearth and Home”; trying to track that down, I discovered there was a tune named Andy Davy’s on the album, and that lead me here.)

Junior Davey says…

I answered Junior Davey if this tune was a composition of his Dad. His answer is “… it was a tune my father used to play regularly many years ago and became associated with him, as there was no title/composer information to be had”.