King Of The Pipers jig

Also known as The King Of Pipers, The King Of The Pipers, King Of The Pipes, The King Of The Pipes, Ri Na Bpiobairi, Turlough McSweeney.

There are 57 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

King Of The Pipers appears in 1 other tune collection.

King Of The Pipers has been added to 17 tune sets.

King Of The Pipers has been added to 454 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Five settings

X: 1
T: King Of The Pipers
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Ador
d2e faf|ecA ABc|dcd efg|faf gfe|
d2e faf|ecA AGE|F2F E2E|DEF GED:|
B2G A2G|BGE E2c|dcd ABG|FDD D3:|
X: 2
T: King Of The Pipers
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:cAG A3|D3 A2B|cAG A3|D3 GED|
|:d2e faf|ecA ABc|dcd efg|fg/a/f gfe|
d2e faf|ecA AGE|F3 E3|DEF GED:|
|:B2G A2G|BGE E2=c|B2G AGE|GED D3|
B2G A2G|BGE E2c|dB/c/d ABG|FDD D3:|
# Added by JACKB .
X: 3
T: King Of The Pipers
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Cdor
|:ecB cFF|FGF cAF|ecB cFF|FGF BGB|
ecB cFF|FGF cAF|~A3 ~G3|1 FGA BGB:|2 FGA B2e||
K: Fmaj
|:f2g agf|gcc cde|~f2g agf|ac'a bag|
f2g agf|gcc cdc|~A3 ~G3|1 FGA B2e:|2 FGA B2c||
|:~d3 cBc|d2G G2c|d_ed c2B|A2F FAc|
~d3 cBc|d2G GBd|fef c2B|1 A2F FAc:|2 A2F F2c||
X: 4
T: King Of The Pipers
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Cdor
|:ecA ~c3|FGF cAF|ecA ~c3|~G3 ~B3|
ecA ~c3|FGF cAF|~A3 ~G3|1 FGA B2c:|2 FGA B2e||
K: Fmaj
|:f2g agf|gec cde|f2g agf|ac'a bag|
f2g agf|gec cdc|~A3 ~G3|1 FGA B2e:|2 FGA B2c||
|:d_ed cBc|dBG G2c|d_ed ~c2B|AGF FAc|
d_ed cBc|dBG GBd|fef dcB|1 AGF FAc:|2 AGF F2c||
X: 5
T: King Of The Pipers
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Cdor
|:ecB c2F|FAB c2f|ecB c2F|FGA BGF|
|:Acf agf|gec cde|fef agf|ac'a bag|
fef agf|gec cBG|AFA GEG|FAc BGF:|
|:d2B c2B|dBG GFF|dBB cBG|BGF F2d|
d2B c2B|dBG Gf=e|f=ef c2B|AFF F3:|

Nineteen comments

This tune changes key, not just between parts, but also, in the last part, from phrase to phrase. This last part finishes with a melodic flourish in D, even though the rest of this part is in G.

The first part, which strikes me as being like a minor key version of The Gold Ring, can be played with more notes to give it a jumpier sound.

The second part is quite straightforward, but confusingly similar to the second part of The Rambling Pitchfork and The Frieze Breeches. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself playing King of the Rambling Breeches.

There are quite a few tunes that go by the name of "King Of The Pipers" as Zina Lee investigated:

"I wrote Kevin Glackin of Scoiltrad ( about this, as he teaches a class on Scoiltrad on King of the Pipers, asking him about the mystery of the names and asking which version was the one he teaches. His reply:

‘I have just put the phone down to my friend Tom Sherlock (Altan’s manager) where we played the two versions on the different albums over the phone.
The answer to your question is neither.
The version I am teaching was recorded indeed by Altan on an earlier album called the Red Crow and the title they gave the tune was Hudai Gallaghers jig.
This is not unusual for a tune to have several titles, it happens all the time. However the title King of the Pipers refers to about five different jigs all from the Donegal area.
The one on the Blackwater album is a three part jig that I will be teaching at Scoiltrad, I have recorded it on an album with my brother (Seamus) called Northern Lights on the Gael Linn label. The tune that is up on the site at the moment is one I got from James Byrne from Glenclomcille, Co Donegal.’

So there, that’s likely the most definitive answer we’re ever going to get, if one can call anything about Irish music definitive. I’ve often heard of a tune with lots of names, but I’d never realized that there was a title with so many tunes! (Sounds like Kipling’s Cat. Or Pooh!)"

Transcription error?

I believe the figure here transcribed as GED in the 6th bar should be AGE.

The King of the Pipers

Not sure, but I’ve been thinking this is the nortern version of The Battering Ram.

Battering Ram

There’s a definite connection, isn’t there? That last part especially.

I think they’re two distinct tunes but I wouldn’t be surprised if they turned out to be related somehow.

Recorded by…

This tune is on one of Sean Keane’s solo albums, tho as usual, can’t remember which one. Tommy Peoples also plays it somewhere, but I can’t remember if it’s on a bootleg live tape or a studio recording. I guess this isn’t much help, but it is definitely this tune they’re playing.

I don’t really see much resemblance to Battering Ram myself. This last part is a little similar, but, hmm, nothing very decisive in that…


Oh, and by the way, it’s in Dmix, not Ador—at least the first part…

Tune that Damien plays isn’t the tune that is reflected in the ABC. Anyone have the ABC file??

Posted by .

The Altan’s Version

I think the Altan’s version are similar to:

T:King of the Pipers
|:dfa afd|dcd ecA|GAB =cAF|GFG AFD|
dfa afa|geg fdA|GAB =cAF|GFG AFD:|
|:d2e d=cA|d2e d=cA|d2e d=cA|GFG AFD|
d2e d=cA|d2e d=cA|GAB =cAF|GFG AFD:|
|:def def|def ecA|def def|GFG AFD|
def def|def ecA|GAB =cAF|GFG AFD:|
|:Ddd D=c=c|DBB D=c=c|Ddd D=c=c|GFG AFD|

It is not a version, but a different tune all together, see the previous comment!

King of the Pipers - Leo Rowsome

If you came here looking for the King of the Pipers (Rí na bPíobairí) version as played by Leo Rowsome on the album of the same name like I did, it’s filed here on The Session as "The Knights of St. Patrick" and can be found here: 🙂

King of the Pipers

I believe there is a multi-part version of this tune in Bunting’s Collection under the title The Pharaoh.

King of the Pipers = Keys to the Convent

If you came here looking for the King of the Pipers as recorded on the 2015 Comhaltas album "Echoes of Erin" as I did, that tune is also known as Keys to the Convent and can be found here:

King Of The Pipers, X:5

This is a basic version of what I could hear when I listened to Sharon Shannon’s setting. The actual modes are as follows:
A Part - F mixolydian
B Part - F major
C Part - Bb major

When I play it, I feel the last two bars of parts A and B could easily be substituted for triplets/rolls on the notes A, G, F. Likewise, I feel bars 1, 3 and 5 in the B part could be substituted for triplets/rolls on the F note.


Re: King Of The Pipers

Dear community !

I came across the wonderful setting of Caitlin Warbelow of this fine jig.

Has anyone an indication where I could find a score of it?

Thanks upfront !

Re: King Of The Pipers

I’ve found what I was looking for, while looking at the various comments ( Franc A’Phoill (jig) ), is a much more closer tune 🙂

Kuddos to the site !