The Teelin reel

By John Cassidy

Also known as The Highland Fiddle, Teelin Highland, The Teelin Highland Fling, The Teelin Highland, Teileann Highland, Tom Tailor’s Highland.

There are 12 recordings of this tune.

The Teelin has been added to 4 tune sets.

The Teelin has been added to 61 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Nine settings

X: 1
T: The Teelin
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
|:A2eg fdeA|(3Bcd ef ~g3A|A2eg fdfa|1 gedB eABG:|2 gedB eAA2||
|:a2eg fdgf|eA~A2 (3Bcd eg|a2eg fdfa|1 gedB eABG:|2 gedB g2fd||
X: 2
T: The Teelin
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
|:A2eg fdeA|(3Bcd ef gfge|a2eg fdfa|gedg eAA2:|
|:a2eg fdgf|eAcA (3Bcd eg|a2eg fdfa|gedB eAA2:|
X: 3
T: The Teelin
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
A2eg fdeA|(3Bcd ef gfgA|A2eg fdfa|gedg eA~A2:|
a2eg fdgf|eA (3cBA (3Bcd eg|a2eg fdfa|gedg eA~A2:|
X: 4
T: The Teelin
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
|:A2 eg fdeA|(3Bcd ef ~g3 A|A2 eg fdfa|1 gedB eABG:|2 gedB eA A2||
|:a2 eg fdgf|eA ~A2 (3Bcd eg|a2 eg fdfa|1 gedB eABG:|2 gedB g2 fd||
X: 5
T: The Teelin
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
|:AG|(3Bcd eg fdeA|(3Bcd ef gfgA|(3Bcd eg fdea|gedB (3ABA:|
A^g|a2 ea fded|cABA c<ee^g|a2 ea f<dea|gedB A2 A^g|
a2 ea f<ae<a|cABA c<ee^g|a2 eg fefa|gedB A2||
X: 6
T: The Teelin
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
|:A2eg fded|cdef gf g2|A2eg fdfa|1 gedg eAAG:|2 gedg eA ~A2||
|:a2eg fdgf|eA ~A2 cdef|a2eg fdfa|1 gedg eA ~A2:|2 gedg eAAG||
X: 7
T: The Teelin
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
A3d|:(3Bcd e>g f>d e>A|(3Bcd e>f {a}g>f g>A|(3Bcd e>g f>d e>a|1 g>e d>B {AB}A2 A>G:|2 g>e d>B {AB}A2 A>^g||
a2 e>a f<d e>d|c>A {c}B>A c<e e>^g a2 e>a f<d e>a|g>e d>B A2 A>^g|
a2 e<a f<a e>a|c>A {c}B>A c<e e>^g|a2 e>a f<d f>a|g>e d>B {AB}A2 A>G|
X: 8
T: The Teelin
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
|:A>G|(3Bcd e>g f>de>A|(3Bcd e>f g>fg>A|(3Bcd e>g f<de>a|g<ed>B A2:|
A>^g|a2 e>a f>de>d|c>AB>A c<ee>^g|(3aaa e>a f<de>a|g>ed>B (3AAA A>^g|
a2 e>a f<ae<a|c>AB>A c<ee>^g|(3aaa e>g f>^e (3fga|g<ed>B A2||
X: 9
T: The Teelin
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|:A3c BGAD|EGAB ~c2Bc|A3 c B3 d|cAGB ADD2:|
|:d2Ac BGAD|EGAB ~c2Bc|~d2Ac ~B3 d|cAGB ADD2:|

Twenty comments

A reel, isn’t it?

The Highland Fiddle

Gee, ainekenaz, thanks for stealing my exact transcription from this thread, and mangling the time signature and tune type in the process:

Thanks also for not crediting me, and omitting the source and discography information (the Flook and Altan settings are slightly different). I’m glad I took the time to locate the tune and transcribe it, so you could post it as your own work. Thanks for not including the alternate title. Thanks for ignoring my comment that I would post it in the database.


The Altan setting, as I remember it, goes something like this:

A2eg fdeA|(3Bcd ef gfge|a2eg fdfa| gedg eAA2:|]
a2eg fdgf|eAcA (3Bcd eg|a2eg fdfa|1 gedB eAA2:|]

They also have an alternative opening bar:
|(3Bcd eg fdeA|

Johnny Doherty recorded a version of it, calling it The Teelin Highland, on ‘Bundle and Go’
I don’t have it to hand, but I seem to remember that the composer’s name is mentioned in the sleeve notes.

Altan setting

spoon, your recollection is very close:

A2eg fdeA|(3Bcd ef gfgA|A2eg fdfa|gedg eA~A2:|
a2eg fdgf|eA (3cBA (3Bcd eg|a2eg fdfa|gedg eA~A2:|

Your alternative opening is also correct!

The Altan album notes state that “Belfast musicians Dermie and Tara Diamond and Andy Dixon were the source” for the tune.

“The Teelin Highland” a highland fling by John Cassidy of Teelin

In honour and respect for the dancing of Tom Taylor, also of Teelin…

Teileann / Teelin ~ County Donegal, Eire

"Teileann (or in English Teelin) is a small coastal village best known for two things: fishing and traditional fiddle music. Indeed the renowned folklore collector Sean Ó hEochaidh who was born here claims that Teileann can be known equally as ‘Teileann an Éisc’ and ‘Teileann an tSeanchais agus an Cheoil’ - ‘Teelin of the Fish’ and ‘Teelin of Tradition and Music’. Teileann is some two miles south of An Charraig on an inlet at the eastern end of the Sliabh a’Liag sea cliffs.

~ It is still a centre for inshore fishing and small-scale commercial fishing, but is today better known as a centre for Donegal fiddle music.

~ At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries the music of the Teileann area was said to be basic in style with little rhythmic variation or ornamentation. Local tradition credits the travelling fiddlers of the Doherty and McConnell families for enhancing the local style and repertoire. Greatest amongst their adherents were the Cassidys, the brothers Paddy, Johnnie and Frank and their cousin Con. According to the account of Donegal fiddle music written by Caoimhín Mac Aoidh, the Cassidys “combined to form one of the most incredible forces in Irish music” in the century just ended."

# Posted on March 23rd 2007 by MTGuru

T: The Teelin Highland
C: John Cassidy
T: Highland Fiddle, The
S: Flook
M: C|
R: highland fling
K: A Mixolydian
|: A2 eg fdeA | (3Bcd ef ~g3 A |
A2 eg fdfa |[1 gedB eABG :|[2 gedB eA A2 |]
|: a2 eg fdgf | eA ~A2 (3Bcd eg |
a2 eg fdfa |[1 gedB eABG :|[2 gedB g2 fd |]

From ~
Discussion: “What Flook tune is this?”

# Posted on March 23rd 2007 by whangee

Aye, Teelin’s a grand little place. Dermot Byrne’s hometown, and the home of Altan’s pub Cul A Dun.

Howdy errik, how’s it flyin’?

Just a note, as a proper ‘highland fling’, which is it, this tune has a two bar second ending for the B-part (2nd part)…

“which it is” ~ damn transpositional brain cells… 😏

“The Teelin Highland” ~ by Johnny Cassidy

S: Johnny Doherty
R: highland fling
K: A Mixolydian
|: AG |
(3Bcd eg fdeA | (3Bcd ef gfgA |
(3Bcd eg fdea | gedB (3ABA :|
A^g |
a2 ea fded | cABA c<ee^g |
a2 ea f<dea | gedB A2 A^g |
a2 ea f<ae<a | cABA c<ee^g |
a2 eg fefa | gedB A2 ||

In one recording Johnny Doherty leads into the tune so ~

A3 e |: (3Bcd eg fdeA | ~

But, he doesn’t repeat this and instead plays the lead-in given throughout the rest of the repeats. He does not play this in a set, only on its own ~

|: A>G | (3Bcd eg fdeA | ~

Any other ways I’ve heard this played there was some version of a 2-bar second ending for the B-part. The above is a transcription of Doherty’s take on it, less swung but the ‘snaps’ are his. It can be taken fully swung, the way it is usually taken for the accompanying dance form, though more often this tune form has been worked as a single reel. Here it is transcribed with the swing ~

R: highland fling
K: A Mixolydian
|: A>G |
(3Bcd e>g f>de>A | (3Bcd e>f g>fg>A |
(3Bcd e>g f<de>a | g<ed>B A2 :|
A>^g |
a2 e>a f>de>d | c>AB>A c<ee>^g |
(3aaa e>a f<de>a | g>ed>B (2AAA A>^g |
a2 e>a f<ae<a | c>AB>A c<ee>^g |
(3aaa e>g f>^e (3fga | g<ed>B A2 ||

Hi, I’m not a thief ;) This was just an experiment, of how to submit a tune in thesession…. In fact, this is the first time I even checked these comments…. Hope u guys don’t get the wrong impression of me…

love, Aine

The Teelin

Does anybody know if there’s a CORRECT version of “The Teelin” on the Session database? It’s a reel, and the band Altan plays it on their album “The Red Crow”. I think it’s the second tune on the 6th track. If anybody could find this for me, that’d be great.

Re: The Teelin

Huh? It’s in the comments section here, posted as Altan’s setting:

Besides, it’s an easy one to pick up by ear, off the cd, which you apparently own.

Posted .

The Teelin, X:6

This is how Dáithí Sproule taught it to us last night at Center for Irish Music in St. Paul, MN. It’s very close to the first setting above.

This is my first post here. Very grateful for this site and all of you contributors!

The Teelin, X:7

John Doherty’s setting as a highland, transcribed from a combination of his two recordings of the tune, as “Tom Taylor’s” on “The Floating Bow” and as “The Teelin Highland” on “Bundle and Go”. Will post as new tune if this is felt to be warranted due to difference in rhythm type.

The Teelin, X:8

Excuse me Ceolachan, I hadn’t seen you post Doherty’s setting in the comments. I’ve added your transcription as a setting but I only saw it after I’d posted my own. Sorry!

Re: The Teelin, X:8

In any case setting 8 is Ceolachan’s transcrition, while setting 7 is mine. Perhaps mine should be deleted and Ceolachan’s should stay on?

The Teelin, X:9

I learnt a very simplified version of this tune years ago from a fiddle player who got it from Donegal. We always played it in D.