Paddy Killed The Rat reel

Also known as Over The Hills, Pat Killed The Rat.

There are 2 recordings of this tune.

Paddy Killed The Rat has been added to 6 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Paddy Killed The Rat
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
G2 GF GAB^c|dBgd edBG|A2 A2 AB^cd|e2 ed efg2|
G2 GF GAB^c|dBgd edBG|A2 A^c BAGB|G2 E2 E4:|
g2gf gfed|edBA G2 B2|Aaag ageg|b2 e2 e2 (3def|
g2gf gfed|edBA G2 B2|A2 A^c BAGB|G2 E2 E4:|

Six comments


This is my arrangement of a tune traditionally played on fife and fiddle in the Allegheny Highlands region of the US. I have no specific name for the tune and I will be adding names soon once I check my collections because I believe there are many names for it.

The tune works well as a march or a reel. It is traditionally played with C or Csharps, but the fifers and fiddlers in the region had a tendency to sharp the 4th note of the scale. Either way is correct, but I prefer the sharped C. On the fiddle, even somewhere between the 2 sounds great. More info to come on this tune.

A Variant of Caber Feigh

The second part is almost the same as that of “The New Copperplate,” an Irish version of Scots tune “Caber Feigh.”

There’s definitely a family resemblance there, Slainte. Rakish Paddy is another member of the same clan.

Similar tunes

I did notice these two tunes … Rakish Paddy and The New Copper Plate were very similar but I feel that this tune is its own thing… no doubt it is part of a bigger family. The version I posted is very similar to those collected in the USA from fifers and fiddlers who were mostly born before 1900. The name that it sometimes went by was “Pat Killed the Rat”… according to musicologist Samuel P. Bayard. The Ceolas Fiddlers Companion lists it as “Over the Hills and Far Away,” but this is a mistake… “Over the Hills” was a secondary title for “Green Grow the Rushes” in SW Pennsylvania and North WV in the late 1800s to 1900’s. Bayard considered “Pat Killed the Rat” to be in the same family as “Green Grow the Rushes” , but the name for the tune I posted is clearly outlined in his notes as “Pat Killed the Rat” or variations like “Paddy Killed… or Caught. Bayard also theorizes that it is related to the Scottish ”East Neuk of Fife“ which I’d agree. The reason I posted this tune is to establish the strong Scottish and Irish influence to the region’s folk music of the central Appalachians… it’s much different than ”New England“ trad. music and much different than ”Southern Appalachian“ music. It is more suited to be categorized with Scottish, Irish, Cape Breton, and other ”celtic" musics.

Mary - I don’t think either of us were suggesting this tune doesn’t deserve its own posting. It’s just interesting to notice the relationships. Now you mention it, there’s a very clear connection with The East Neuk of Fife in the first part. In fact, there is a recording of an old Shetland fiddler (in the BBC Scottish Tradition series) playing a 3-part version of the same, in which the second part is similar to that of this tune (the 3-part being the usual 2nd part).

Regarding the titles, it is just conceivable that ‘Rakish Paddy’, via something like ‘Paddy the Rake’, could have evolved into ‘Paddy Killed the Rat’. BUt then, there are a lot of Pats in Ireland, and probably a fair few in the Allegheny Highlands.


No Spoon and (Slainte), I didnt mean it that way atll… now that I read what I wrote I can see how it sounded that way… I was hoping people would “pipe up” and give me there take on it…so I welcomed the posts… Your theory about Rakish Paddy being turned into Paddy Killed the Rat is interesting.