The Skylark reel

Also known as Fuiseog Na Spéire, Paddy Gardiner’s Favourite.

There are 26 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with Roaring Mary (a few times), The Sally Gardens (a few times), The Coalminer’s (a few times), The Miller’s Maid (a few times) and The Ships Are Sailing (a few times).

The Skylark has been added to 14 tune sets.

The Skylark has been added to 335 tunebooks.

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Four settings

X: 1
T: The Skylark
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Cmaj
|:A|G2 ge decA|GEE2 CEGc|AFF2 DEFD|EGG2 EGce|
gfef decA|GEE2 CEGc|AFF2 Dagf|egdf ecc:||
|:e| g2 ec Gcec|dedc BGG2|g2 eg agec|Addc defd |
|1(3efg eg f2 af|egdB cAAF|EGcG FAdc|Bdgf ecc:|
|2 egg2 faa2|gede cAAF|EGcG FAdc|Bagf ecc2||
X: 2
T: The Skylark
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
agfd ~e2dB|A~F3 DFAd|B~G3 EAAG|F~A3 F~A3|
agfd ~e2dB|A~F3 DFAd|BGGF ~G2ag|faeg fed2:||
a2fd Adfd|~e3d c'~a3|a2fa bged|Beed efge|
~f3a ~g3e|~f2ef dBAG|F~A3 faag|faeg fed2:||
X: 3
T: The Skylark
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
agfg efdB|AF~F2 DFAd|BG~G2 EFGE|FA~A2 BA~A2|
agfg efdB|AF~F2 DFAd|BGGF G2ag|1 faeg fddf:|2 faeg fdd2||
a2fd Adfd|efed cAAf|a2fa bged|Beed efge|
~f3a ~g3e|f2ef dBAG|FAAF GBed|1 ceag fdd2:|2 ceag fddf||
X: 4
T: The Skylark
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
agfd e2dB|A~F3 DFAd|B~G3 EGAG|F~A3 F~A3|
agfd efdB|A~F3 DFAd|BGGF ~G2ag|faeg fed2:||
a2fd Adfd|~e3d c’~A3|a2fa bged|Beed efge|
~f3a ~g3e|~f2ef dBAG|F~A3 G2ag|faeg fedd:||

Twenty-six comments

The Skylark

I’m pretty sure James Morrison wrote this, or was the one who made it popular. This tune was super popular in the 30’s & 40’s. Somewhere along the line flutes put this tune in "D" which isn’t as nice a key on the fiddle - not that it’s easier but because all of the rolls you can put into it.

Skylark

Haven’t come across this tune in "C" before. I learned it years ago from a recording of Barney McKenna of the Dubliners.
I think it was a favourite tune of Ciaran Collins, the Galway whistle player, who used to follow it with "Roaring Mary", and it is very common for the two tunes to be played together.

Posted by .

Skylark in Dmaj

X: 1
That’s how Matt Molloy plays it on "Shadows On Stone" with Ciaran Tourish playing the fiddle.

T: The Skylark
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Dmaj
agfd ~e2dB|A~F3 DFAd|B~G3 EAAG|F~A3 F~A3|
agfd ~e2dB|A~F3 DFAd|BGGF ~G2ag|faeg fed2:||
a2fd Adfd|~e3d c’~a3|a2fa bged|Beed efge|
~f3a ~g3e|~f2ef dBAG|F~A3 faag|faeg fed2:||

More or less standard session version

Here’s a transcription of the fairly common tune, which is mostly based on Peter Horan and Gerry Harrington’s flute and fiddle duet playing:

K: Dmaj
agfg efdB|AF~F2 DFAd|BG~G2 EFGE|FA~A2 BA~A2|
agfg efdB|AF~F2 DFAd|BGGF G2ag|1 faeg fddf:|2 faeg fdd2||
a2fd Adfd|efed cAAf|a2fa bged|Beed efge|
~f3a ~g3e|f2ef dBAG|FAAF GBed|1 ceag fdd2:|2 ceag fddf||

It’s not exactly the same as you hear on their recording "Fortune Favours the Merry", but this is the setting you’d come across in sessions all over the world.

Kenny’s right: it’s never ever played in C, and almost always folllowed by "Roaring Mary," which is often attributed to Michael Coleman.

Skylark

Uh… ‘never ever’?

Posted by .

I said I hadn’t come across "The Skylark" in "C" - that’s not the same as "never", which is a word I didn’t use.

Posted by .

Kenny, I think that was addressed to Slainte.

Slainte, you shouldn’t go making sweeping generalisations like that :-)

I occasionally hear the Skylark played in C in my session, with a variation on the start of the A-part 2nd time thru: |GAce decA|G…

I’ll learn the version in C if you buy me a C flute.

James Morrison composition

I found out today this was composed by James Morrison on the sleeve notes of Paul McGrattan’s album "The Frost is All Over", as the original poster says.

I don’t know why, but I am very surprised.

Skylark

Excuse my ignorance, but was looking for the tab for" The Skylark" and the search is bringing up "Skylark/St Anns Reel. Are they the same tune?
Daithí

Re: Skylark

No. They have some similarities but are distinct tunes.

Re: Skylark

Thanks lads
Daithi
Cork

Re: Skylark

The A parts are virtually interchangeable. The B parts are distinct.

Re: Skylark

I’ve seen St. Annes Reel called Skylark in a few places -Padraig Carroll’s book "Irish Mandolin" published by Waltons a few years back for one. Confused me no end when I first saw it as I hadn’t really got my head round the one tune many names, one name many tunes thing.

Skylark in C played by James Morrison

You can hear this on the CD "Wheels of the World Vol. 2" (along with many other great tracks from the 1920’s).

Skylark poems and a short essay

http://nosleepingdogs.wordpress.com/poems-in-which-skylarks-appear/

The English have written tons of poems about the bird. Trying to objectivise ‘nature’ in such a -paradoxically subjective- way, they perhaps unwittingly have also created a distance, separated themselves from it.
The French traditional attitude, meanwhile, has been to ‘become’ the bird (see above), to share in its subjectivity, if only to cheat it better (Stomachs first!)
As for the Irish, they have made the bird theirs (Irish) by reinterpreting it musically*. There are not many ‘program’ pieces in ITM but I’d maintain that the Lark in the Morning (see scores at: https://thesession.org/tunes/62 ) is such an imitative piece.
In that tune, we hear the bird, or we can if we chose too, but we hear most of all an ecstatic energy that matches that of the inspirer or the ‘inspiree’…
Perhaps the same phenomenon was at work when this here tune was composed, whether about the bird or about something else (the name a mere symbol or nickname)…


*and poetically, such as in this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4B1kyHb4Lc

(where did the words originate, though: Ireland? The delivery certainly is!!)

see also; The Lark in the Clear Air https://thesession.org/tunes/632/comments

And I won’t try to deny that this mini thesis sounds like a rehash of old national clichés such as Purity and Separateness for the English, Involvement and Interference for the French and Energy and Movement for the Irish (including notions of gist and restlessness)… Fast Food for thought?

Skylark in C

I think this comes from the famous recording of Joe Cooley where he is playing on a box not in his usual tuning but with his usual fingering. Des Mulcaire has to retune to him as it comes out in the ‘wrong’ key.

The Skylark

James Morrison recorded this in the key of C on a 78 in the 1920s. On the label of the record it said "Skylark (J Morrison). I think that makes it pretty clear that Morrison composed this tune.

Roaring Mary was printed in books long before Michael Coleman’s time, contrary to an above comment that he wrote that one.

that’s what I said in the OP 10 years ago. I just wasn’t sure if Morrison wrote it or not

Re: The Skylark

X: 3
T: The Skylark
R: reel

M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
agfd e2dB|A~F3 DFAd|B~G3 EGAG|F~A3 F~A3|
agfd efdB|A~F3 DFAd|BGGF ~G2ag|faeg fed2:||
a2fd Adfd|~e3d c’~a3|a2fa bged|Beed efge|
~f3a ~g3e|~f2ef dBAG|F~A3 G2ag|faeg fedd:||

Re: The Skylark

In his 1920s recording, James Morrison plays this in C followed by Maud Millar in the key of F