The Turtledove reel

Also known as An Durzhunel, The Turtle Dove.

There are 7 recordings of this tune.

The Turtledove has been added to 16 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Two settings

X: 1
T: The Turtledove
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
cd|:e2ed c2cd|edef e2ef|g4 a4|e6 cd:|
|:e2ed c2cd|edef e2AB|c2e2 dcBG|1 A6 cd:|2 A4 A4||
X: 2
T: The Turtledove
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
|:A2 c<A A4|d2 c<A G4-|G2 G2 A<B c2-|c2 ef/e/ dc- c2-|
c2 ef/e/ d2 c<A-|A6 GF|G6 A2-|A2 B<c d4-|d2 e2 c<A- AA-|A8:|

Sixteen comments

Fun tune

I don’t know the name of this one… I searched the Session to see if it was already here… I couldn’t find it. I learned it from a Chieftans recording and don’t know where that recording may
be for reference. I put it in as a reel, but it may not be a real reel. Also the key may not be the Chieftans key.

Pretty sure it’s not on any of the first 9 Chieftains albums, if that narrows it down any. I stopped listening to them after that, apart from “Water From The Well”. Might it be from one of their Christmas albums ? Certainly sounds like a song air to me. Can’t help any more than that, I’m afraid.

Posted by .

The tune

Thanks Kenny… they recorded it as instrumental and its a really powerful arrangement with some counter melody/harmony. Your right the basic structure has been used as a song air in different forms.

sound a bit like the B-part of “The Glen Road to Carrick”

It rings a bell - probably a Breton tune from their “Celtic Wedding” LP.

Ah - but I have a strong hunch that it is a Breton tune. What about the set of Breton tunes on Chieftains 10, I think it was, that starts with a flute solo by Molloy?

I had that LP once. Checking the track listing on here for their “Cotton-eyed Joe” (aka Chieftains 10), I see “An Durzhunel”. Try that one.

The Name

I was driving to Colorado and found this old Chieftans cassette in the storage compartment and this tune was on it! So Jeeves you wrere 100% right…

“An Durzhunel” = the turtledove, who supposedly mate for life

This has also been arranged and played by Alan Stivell on several of his recordings ~

“Alan Stivell: Alan Stivell”
“Alan Stivell: Olympia Concert”

I know this as mostly a song for which there are lyrics, or played as an air… Is there a dance version too?


Here’s just a fragment of the air transcribed ~ ??? 😏
The bars are only there to keep it all from running away…

K: a minor
|: A2 c<A A4 | d2 c<A G4- | G2 G2 A<B c2- | c2 ef/e/ dc- c2- |
c2 ef/e/ d2 c<A- | A6 GF | G6 A2- | A2 B<c d4- | d2 e2 c<A- AA- | A8 :|


The Chieftans did it at what Id call dance tempo… I know of songs in the USA that use this tune oe variations of its “family.”

This tune is not played by Alan Stivell

Somebody has put this :
“Recordings of a tune by this name:

* À L’Olympia by Alan Stivell“

This statement is wrong. The “A l’Olympia” version of “an durzhunel” refers to another song having the same name. Watch on Youtube :
“Alan Stivell A L’Olympia- 05 An Durzhunel “
You’ll hear the difference.
This bird “durzhunel” is so common and so lovely that different songs in Brittany are called after it.
Being deeply involved in the Breton traditional music for decades, I’ve never heard of the version on this site before.

Re: The Turtledove

“Is there a dance version?”

Well, as it is the tune can be played as a dance, as an an dro for instance.
It can be played in A aeolian.

The Breton name durzhunel suggests an onomatopeic origin (same as the “ turtle“ in turtledove). Another Breton name for this bird is “dube” which is ethymologically related to “dove”.