The Boys Of Bluehill hornpipe

Also known as The Beaux Of Oak Hill, The Beaux Of Oakhill, The Boys From The Blue Hill, The Boys Of Blue Hill, The Boys Of Blue Oak Hill, Boys Of The Blue Hill, Buachaillí An Chnoic Ghoirm, The Lad Of Bluehill, The Lads Of North Tyne, Mildew On My Mind, Na Buacaillide Ua Cnoc-gorm, Na Buaichallí Gorm.

There are 83 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with The Harvest Home (lots of times), Off To California (a few times), Chief O’Neill’s Favourite (a few times), The Plains Of Boyle (a few times) and Dunphy’s (a few times).

The Boys Of Bluehill has been added to 63 tune sets.

The Boys Of Bluehill has been added to 1,644 tunebooks.

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Nine settings

X: 1
T: The Boys Of Bluehill
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
||FA|BA FA D2 FA| BA (3Bcd e2 de |fa gf eg fe|df ed B2 dB|
| BA FA D2 FA| BA (3Bcd e2 de |fa gf eg fe|d2 f2 d2 :|
|: fg| af df a2 g2 | ef ga b2 ag |fa gf eg fe |df ed B2 dB|
| BA FA D2 FA| BA (3Bcd e2 de |fa gf eg fe|d2 f2 d2 :|
X: 2
T: The Boys Of Bluehill
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
||A (3EFA|BA FA DE FA| BA Bd e2 de |fa af eg fe|de fd B2 dc|
| BA FA DA FA| BA Bd e2 de |fa af eg fe|d2 d2 d2 :|
|: fg| af df a2 gf | gf ga b2 ag |fa af eg fe |de fd Bc dc|
| BA FA DE FA| BA Bd e2 de |fa af eg fe|d2 d2 d2 :|
X: 3
T: The Boys Of Bluehill
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
dA|:{c}BAFA A,DFA|{c}BAAa eade|(3{g}fed df ed{g}fe|d2 (3fed Bd{e}dB|
(3ABA {B}Ad AdFA|{c}BAAa eade|(3{g}fed df ed{g}fe|1 d2 (3fed B d FA:|2 d2 (3fed ddef|
|:a3 f adfa|g2 Ba bdgb|aBfd edfe|d2 (3fed Bd{e}dB|
(3ABA {B}Ad AdFA|{c}BAAa eade|(3{g}fed df ed{g}fe|1 d2 (3fed d efg:|2 d2 (3fed d2 z2 |]
X: 4
T: The Boys Of Bluehill
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
d2 | BAFE D2 (3DFA | BABd eAde | fAAf fedc | decd B2
Bd | BAFE D2 (3DFA | BABd eAde | fAAf fedc | d6 :|
z2 | a2f a2 a2 ef | gdga bdag | fddf edfe | (3def ed B2
Bd | BAFE D2 (3DFA | BABd eAde | fAAf fedc | d6 :|
X: 5
T: The Boys Of Bluehill
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
d2 | BAFE D2 (3DFA | BABd eAde | fAAf fedc | decd B2
Bd | BAFE D2 (3DFA | BABd eAde | fAAf fedc | d6 :|
z2 | a2 a2 a2 ef | gdga bdag | fddf edfe | (3def ed B2
Bd | BAFE D2 (3DFA | BABd eAde | fAAf fedc | d6 :|
X: 6
T: The Boys Of Bluehill
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
FA|: "Bm"BAFA "D"DA FA| "Bm"BA (3Bcd "A" e2 de| "D"fa gf "A7"egfe| "D"dfed "Bm"B2dA|
"Bm"BAFA "D"DAFA| "Bm7"BA (3Bcd "Em"e2 de| "D"fagf "A7"egfe|[1"D"d2 f2 d2 FA:|[2"D"d2 f2 d2 fg|]
|: "D"afdf a2gf| "G"efga b2 ag| "D"fagf "A7"egfe| "D"dfed "Bm"B2 dA|
BA FA "D"DA FA| "Bm7" BA (3Bcd "Em"e2de| "D"fagf "A7"egfe| [1"D"d2 f2 d2 fg:|[2"D"d2 f2 d2 z2|]
# Added by Bryce .
X: 7
T: The Boys Of Bluehill
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|: d>B | B>AF>A D>AF>A | B>A (3Bcd e2 d>e | f>ag>f e>gf>e | d>fe>d B2 d>B |
B>AF>A D>AF>A | B>A (3Bcd e2 d>e | f>ag>f e>gf>e | d2 f2 d2 :|
|: f>g | a>fd>f a2 g>f | e>fg>a b2 a>g | f>ag>f e>gf>e | d>fe>d B2 d>B |
B>AF>A D>AF>A | B>A (3Bcd e2 d>e | f>ag>f e>gf>e | d2 f2 d2 :|
X: 8
T: The Boys Of Bluehill
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:BAFA ADFA | BA (3Bcd ecde |faaf egfe | dfed GBdB | BAFA AFDA |
BA (3Bcd ecde | faaf egfe |1 dfec dA (3.F.G.A. :|2 d2dc d2 (3.e.f.g |
|:afde f~a2f | ~g3a agbg | faaf ~g3e | dfed GBdG |
BAFA AFDA | BA (3Bcd ecde | faaf egfe |1 d 2dc d2 (3.e.f.g. :|2 d2dc d A (3.F.G.A |
X: 9
T: The Boys Of Bluehill
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
K: Dmaj
FA|BA FA D2 FA| BA (3Bcd e2 de |fa gf eg fe|df ed B2 dB|
BA FA D2 FA| BA (3Bcd e2 de |fa gf eg fe|d2 f2 d2 :|
|: fg| af df a2 gf | gf ga b2 ag |fa gf eg fe |df ed B2 dB|
BA FA D2 FA| BA (3Bcd e2 de |fa gf eg fe|d2 f2 d2 :|

Twenty-seven comments

This one of those tunes done to death by every beginner (no offence to beginners - I’ve been one for almost a decade) and the default hornpipe for accompanying dancers, so it’s easy to forget that it’s a good tune. Its simplicity makes it a good basis for variation, yet it is very catchy in its unaltered state. It has also found popularity in the Northeast of England, where it is known as The Lads of North Tyne, and the Scots have a version called The Beaux of Oak Hill.

Boys Of Bluehill does have the stigma of a ‘beginners tune’, which might explain why it was never posted before. However, it is a wonderful tune at any experience level. Thanks for the other tune names.

Here’s a version I play in a fingerstyle guitar arrangement. I left out ornaments and a few syncopations that probably don’t work outside this guitar setting. In the cadence that ends both parts there’s a chord change (to G) instead of going to the F# note.

For me this version makes all the difference between "hating" and loving this tune. Actually, the important difference for me is just two or three notes in the phrase that shows up in measures 3,4 and 7 (not counting the pickup measure) and again in the B part.


X: 1
T: Boys Of Bluehill, The
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: hornpipe
K: Dmaj
||A (3EFA|BA FA DE FA| BA Bd e2 de |fa af eg fe|de fd B2 dc|
| BA FA DA FA| BA Bd e2 de |fa af eg fe|d2 d2 d2 :|
|: fg| af df a2 gf | gf ga b2 ag |fa af eg fe |de fd Bc dc|
| BA FA DE FA| BA Bd e2 de |fa af eg fe|d2 d2 d2 :|

Oh, …

I should mention that I learned this version from Duck Baker.

Set

This is good in a set before The Harvest Home

it made me laugh when some of you said its a beginner tune, because it is, its the first one that i learnt and it is even played for beginner dancers doing the hornpipe

Set

This is a good tune played after The Road to the Isles

Gearoid O’hAllmhurain’s setting (for fiddle)

Here’s my stab at a fiddle version of Gearoid O’hAllmhurain’s lovely concertina setting on "Traditional Music from Clare and Beyond". I just love his playing.

X:1
T: The Boys of Bluehill
M:C
K:D
dA|:{c}BAFA A,DFA|{c}BAAa eade|(3{g}fed df ed{g}fe|d2 (3fed Bd{e}dB|
(3ABA {B}Ad AdFA|{c}BAAa eade|(3{g}fed df ed{g}fe|1 d2 (3fed B d FA:|2 d2 (3fed ddef|
|:a3 f adfa|g2 Ba bdgb|aBfd edfe|d2 (3fed Bd{e}dB|
(3ABA {B}Ad AdFA|{c}BAAa eade|(3{g}fed df ed{g}fe|1 d2 (3fed d efg:|2 d2 (3fed d2 z2 |]

Here’s a discussion about this very setting:

https://thesession.org/discussions/9554/comments#comment202169

History of The Boys of the Blue Hill

Does anyone know anything about the history behind this tune? Thanks. ~ Jan Farrar-ROyce

Boys of the Blue Hills

Does anyone know something about the origins of this name? Could it be battle related? Thanks for any help you can offer me.
STRINGcerely, Jan FR

Re: Boys of the Blue Hills

It’s The Boys Of Bluehill and it’s not battle related.Bluehill is a place in Ireland.Knockgorm; Cnoc-gorm, blue hill.

Re: Boys of the Blue Hills

There is a Blue Hill just west of Bantry, Co. Cork, opposite Whiddy Island. I don’t know if it’s the Bluehill of the tune, although the Boys of Bluehill is a popular tune in this area.

Re: Boys of the Blue Hills

In the USA the tune usually went by different names—- Silver Lake, Twin Sisters, Beaux of Oak Hill among others but never Boys of Blue Hill.(pre 1900 tradition wise-or those from that tradition) There is some evidence that the tune was learned by the Irish in the USA and popularized from there.

Re: Boys of the Blue Hills

How very strange. There was just an extensive discussion of this on the FIDDLE_L listserve. There’s speculation about this being Irish, Scottish, even an American song that was brought back to Ireland. I’ll be interested to see what the knowldgeble folk on the mustard board have to say.

Re: Boys of the Blue Hills

I believe there’s a Blue Hill area of Chicago. I couldn’t find anything definite about it on the Net, but the name cropped up in businesses there - and also in various other regions, including New York and Maine. Maybe American posters will know.

Re: Boys of the Blue Hills

You mean it is nothing to do with WGBH BOSTON great blue hill radio? I’m so shocked and disillusioned.

Re: Boys of the Blue Hills

There is an old song called "The Blue Hills of Antrim". There are also `bluestack `mountains in Donegal.In fact a lot of Irish counties would have Cnoc Gorm or cruacha gorma in place names and probably a few Scottish hills as well.

Posted by .

Re: Boys of the Blue Hills

Aye cos - we’ve got An Càrn Gorm - (The) Cairngorm, and at least a couple of places called Tullochgorm (Tulach Gorm in Gaelic I think) as well. There’s a couple of good tunes associated with these names - "The Cairngorm Brooch" (there’s a semi-precious stone called a cairngorm) and "Tullochgorm" - the latter of which Skinner put some pretty outrageous variations to (but I’ve heard some players actually make these variations work).

Posted by .

Re: Boys of the Blue Hills

In one of Matt Seattle’s books it says that it is also known as ‘The Beaux of Oakhill’ and ‘The Lads of North Tyne’.

Bluehill

A nicve take on this old standard, as played by Bohola on Bohola 4:

X: 1
T: Bluehill
N: Transposed from Fmaj
Z: Nigel Gatherer
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
d2 | BAFE D2 (3DFA | BABd eAde | fAAf fedc | decd B2
Bd | BAFE D2 (3DFA | BABd eAde | fAAf fedc | d6 :|
z2 | a2f a2 a2 ef | gdga bdag | fddf edfe | (3def ed B2
Bd | BAFE D2 (3DFA | BABd eAde | fAAf fedc | d6 :|

Bluehill (once more, minus extraneous note)

X: 1
T: Bluehill
N: Transposed from Fmaj
Z: Nigel Gatherer
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
d2 | BAFE D2 (3DFA | BABd eAde | fAAf fedc | decd B2
Bd | BAFE D2 (3DFA | BABd eAde | fAAf fedc | d6 :|
z2 | a2 a2 a2 ef | gdga bdag | fddf edfe | (3def ed B2
Bd | BAFE D2 (3DFA | BABd eAde | fAAf fedc | d6 :|

The Boys Of Bluehill, X:7

Setting as played at the Golden Guinea pub session, Bristol (UK).

The Boys Of Bluehill, X:8

From the piping of Seamus Ennis, on his Wandering Minstrel LP among other places. This is a very nice break from the norm of this perennial warhorse. On a documentary on Seamus Liam O’Flynn singled out his setting of this tune as a prime example of the wonderful unique qualities of Ennis’s music. Strangely enough although other items from the LP were transcribed by Pat Mitchell, Pat didn’t bother to write out this tune in his book the Dance Music of S.E. I leave it to you to work out the innumerable little fillips he brought to this hornpipe.

Re: The Boys Of Bluehill

I am playing the first setting for this tune, but I feel that my play is kinda boring. could someone suggest places to add ornaments and which ornaments? I am playing this with the fiddle. Found this youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCNWxDOlWuU - which I found veyr nice, but the setting is different from what I have learned here… so, any tips are appreciated!

The Boys Of Bluehill, X:9

Combined the 1st and 2nd setting.