Take No Prisoners slip jig

There are 2 recordings of this tune.

Take No Prisoners has been added to 3 tune sets.

Take No Prisoners has been added to 28 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Take No Prisoners
R: slip jig
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Amin
|:ABc dAeA|g2f e2cd|ABc dAeA|g2f e2ed|
edc ecGA|g2f e2d2|fed (3efg de|cdB (3ABA AG:|
|:AGA aAgA|fed (3efe cd|fed (3efg de|gag e2ed|
(3BAGA a2g2|fed e2cd|fed (3efg de|cdB A2AG:|
|:Acd (3BcB G2|EFG AGAG|BEE d2c2|BAG A2FG|
Acd (3BcB G2|EFG AGAG|BEE d2c2|BAG A2AG:|
EGA cGB2|FAG EFDC|1 A,B,C (3DEF GA|EFG D4:|2 A,B,C (3DEF GA|Bce d4||

Seventeen comments

Thanks Kieron

Kieron (of China to Galway fame) sent me his transcription of this tune. I decided to go through the tune at 65% speed checking it all out. The occasional minor differences of hearing the tune emerged, as one woudl expect. But nothing important. This is simpler than Kieron’s trancription (and also dropped down to Amin to match the version on ‘Rain on the Roof’). I have dropped out quite a few notes that I think are apparent pedal notes from the rythym section. They can be easily added back as ornamentation. I also listed closely to the version recorded by the Greek band Melisma. So I think what is here is the simple essence of the tune on those two tracks. A nice, reasonably simple tune for a 7/8.

“long-short-short” ~

Just to fit with the form, 7/8, it would be more clearly transcribed as three beats per bar so:

|: ABc dA eA | ~

7/8 tunes are generally a repeating rhythm of ~
|: long (3) - short (2) - short (2) |

This can be shown in the ABCs and would have been picked up when they were converted to the dots, to show the structure of the tune / melody more clearly… This rhythm is also carried forward into the dancing that mate up with such meters…

Setting a rhythm like that with your foot tapping while learning a tune like this is also a good way to get into the flow and structure of the meter, helping to make it physical, second nature. That then quickly moves into the way you swing a 7/8 melody, with that pulse to it… Of course, learning to dance to 7/8 tunes is even better… Learn a Syrtos… “Hoppa!”

I love this tune, difficult at first, but I find it easy enough to play and to experiment with

Take no prisoners

Can you give any sources (recordings) and copyright information?

Notating rythym and tune history

Showing the rythym is a matter of preference. I purposefully show this form of 7 as a 3 and 4. It helps me to see 7 as a 3 4 when I try and read mixed meter tunes like smeseno horo. In an ideal world abc format would provide dashed bar lines to subdivide the sub meters in these complex tunes. Without that, I find 3 4 easy to pick up quickly than 3 2 2. But other might be different. Bartok produced a set of 5 enormous volumes of Rumanian music, and in there are quite a few bulgarised tunes with compound meters. I photocopied all of them (bulgarised tunes, not the whole volumes). He is more explicit in his meters, sometimes indicating his 7 tunes in the meter at the start as 4+3/16 and sometimes 2+2+3/16. I can’t see the pattern, but maybe there is a reason. But in the dots on the stave generally he links his two short beats a a group of 4. On the other hand, a wonderful 1950s book ‘Bulgarian-Macedonian Folk Music’ by Kremenliev general notates 7 as 3+2+2. So either will do.
Re the tune. Written by Andy Irvine for a group of Melbourne Greek musicians who play in a group called Apodimi Compania. These have become pretty famous musicians in Greece. So, although my home town Melbourne is the second largest greek city in the world, the group has moved to the largest Greek city, Athens, taking authentic Rebetica music back to its homeland. I believe the tune was first recorded on the Apodimi Compania album Melisma, with Andy sitting in on the recording. As is stated on the notes on the ‘Rain on the Roof’ album, it has a much more greek feel on Melisma. Very good listening.

Laying the rhythm in beats ~

Whew?! Bartok eh? I like some of his stuff. Anyway, the ‘accompanist’ for these forms of music, in the case of 3-2-2 as suggested by the melody here, beats it out that way, long-short-short, and that rhythm is usually carried forward by the musicians too, whether or not there is a percussionist. I wasn’t being random with trying to offer some small insight to the knowledge and feel others have given me, ‘others’ meaning, in the main, from the Balkans, musicians and dancers. Like with so many ‘dance’ rhythms, the structure usually speaks to the same divisions as the dancer steps and consequently also any banged, bowed, plucked tradition… It is a classic Balkan rhythm, Greece included. But if you’re just playing it for a listening piece? Maybe someone else will find these points of use… It wasn’t meant as a ‘criticism’, no need for all the references…

I used to earn one free meal a week dancing in what was then Dublin’s only Greek restaurant, upstairs, a small group of us, four. The Greeks who would come there were always an inspiration, mostly fantastic and expressive dancers, and on rare occassion we were blessed with musicians or a singer.

Almost forgot to ask, any references to Bartok dancing?

I understand you’re looking for the similarly minded?:

Someone who is more than likely to know more than either of us…

Linsey Polla - Gajda player & Australian

~ his book “Macedonian Folk Music” contains 91 Macedonian tunes. He studied with ‘Mile Kolarov’ (I studied with Atanas) and has collected tunes in Macedonia and in Australia from its resident Macedonian community…
The cost of this collection is a mere $20 Australian, from:
Linsey Pollak, Kin Kin Rd, Kin Kin, Queensland, 4571 Australia ~ or ~

More in this subject close to your heart ~



More than 60 folkdance tunes from Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia. Standard notation with chords, 36 pp.

313-5 .. list $11.00 ours $10.45


In addition to the usual countries represented: Croatia, Serbia, Greece, more, fully 1/3 of the book covers the music of the Vlachs. Also includes the former USSR, Hungary, Slovakia, France and more. 20 pp.

313-6 .. list $11.00 ours $10.45

Miamon had the most amazing annual camp going, his “Balkan Music Camp”, on the East Coast of the U.S.A., with people attending from all over the world. I’ve done a search but couldn’t find any proof that it was still happening. I’ve been luck to have spent time and humour with Miamon too, a wonderful man and dance musician, priceless…

Richard Geisler’s Balkan collections:

* Bulgarian Collection (35 tunes, $25)
* Yugoslav Collection (40 tunes from Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia- $25)
* Balkanalian Collection (40 tunes from Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Romania - $25)

Richard Geisler, 15181 Ballantree Lane, Grass Valley, CA 95949; phone (916) 477-2293.
To send e-mail to Richard,
enter < richgeis (at) jps (dot) net >

“Gajda Tunes of Macedonia: Transcriptions of Gajda Playing from Northern Greece”

~ 52 dance tunes from Serres, Florina and other retions as played on the Macedonian bagpipe ~ collected and transcribed by Rob Bester & Anne Hildyard of Xenos.

UK: http://www.dance.demon.co.uk/andy/shop/

They have a nice selection of other items as well…

Lucky Man

You are either a prolific poster or a man of may afterthoughts.!
No, didn’t take it as criticism. The question of how to notate Balkan tunes seems to come up regularly. I haven’t tried Greek dancing. Bits of Macedonian occasionally, but thats all. So I am envious of your fun in that greek resturant. Most autentic experience I have had was turning up to a Macedonian social night in Kew, melbourne. Apparently all the villagers from 5 villages migrated to Melbourne (well all except the oldest), so they transferred village dances to the new location. But it was a bit hard to break in to the dances. Not really for newcomers. Never turned up again. And after midnight the younger people put disco on the turntable (yes, the 70s) so we went home.
I’ve never met Lindsay , but have heard a few of his recordings. I’m transcribing one at the moment. But as there is no Irish link in it, it won’t turn up on this site.
As to the Bartok reference. I think the books would be hard to buy and expensive. I spent time reading in the local uni conservatorium library. Each volume is massive, making O’Neill’s collection look small. I think one volume alone is devoted to Xmas tunes.. memory might be failing me though. The tunes are notated in total detail and its sometimes hard to find the tune amongst the ornamentation. I was amazed the man could do his collecting by ear with no recording devices.


My own afterthought.
Bulgarised is how Bartoks bulgarian influenced rumanian tunes are described in that tome. Nice phrase, eh?


That can be a dustbin of a word, but it refers to a gypsy population based mainly in Romania but who travelled between there and the former Jugoslavia. Their music and dance warms my soul, to the point of a heavy sweat. I’ve no doubt you’d love it. There are some tunes in Miamon’s second book, but I haven’t a copy here to see what’s there. In a generous mood, before I was married, I gave up the bulk of my Balkan recordings to a Balkan friend who was forming a band and to a folk dance group that included a band and a Balkan choir.

I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing and handling all that is supposed to be in the Bartok collection. Other folklorists told me about them, tempted me as you have. I have some of the commercial pieces. Many people have told me also about the Greeks and Macedonians down your way ~ good food, music and dance… I love Balkan food.

I did come back from my sojourn that way, damage to the back, with a hell of a lot of books on dance and music ~ the music I could read and recognize, much of it, but the languages, several type faces, are not something I ever mastered, and what I managed is mostly gone now. Those resources are at the moment out of my reach, in the care of friends with that interest shared between us.

What I do remember is how tradition so drastically changed, from collections made before World War II to those after, and including the ‘costumes’. With the music and dance most vilages had only a few basic dances, steps and tunes. As a possible reflection of it all, there was hand embroidery and natural fabrics before, machine embroidery and synthetic fabrics afterwards… There are parallels with Eire / Ireland…

One of my most favourite dances from that large region was one called, in English, a ‘Silent Kolo’. It wasn’t silent, but all sound was just the footwork, no singing, no musical instruments, all joined together in a line. This was from Bosnia-Herzigovina. I thought about it all during that awful war…