The Wise Maid reel

There are 9 recordings of this tune.

The Wise Maid has been added to 3 tune sets.

The Wise Maid has been added to 84 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: The Wise Maid
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:d2 fd adfd|d2 fd efge|d2 fd adfd|geee efge:|
a2 fa dafa|gafa efge|a2 fa dafa|geee efge|
a2 fa dafa|Baca efge|a2 fa dafa|gefd efgf||
|:e2 ge Bege|e2 ge fagf|e2 ge Bege|fddd fagf:|
a2 fd dfed|dafd efge|a2 fd dfed|geee efge|
a2 fa eada|caBa efge|a2 fa dafa|gefd efge||
X: 2
T: The Wise Maid
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
e2 ge bege|e2 ge fagf|e2 ge bege|b2 ge fagf:|

Thirty-seven comments

The Wise Maid

See the wait for posting a new tune. It has been interminable!


This tune is a Scottish Pipe Reel and is featured on, among other recordings, Moidart To Mabou by Daimh. They describe it as a “great old Scottish tune!”

I am afraid that is all I know about it, except it is apparently traditional. Maybe someone else could add more about it - Ceol? Nigel? Kenny?

The Wise Maid

I am going to go out on a limb here - The third part of the tune is in A mixolydian!


The rest is in D though.


Check Daimh out here. At time of writing you can here “The Wise Maid” track on their myspace.

Tunes on the track:
The Hag At The Churn (trad)
Fosgail an Dorus (trad)
Zito the Bubbleman (Gordon Duncan)
The Wise Maid (trad)

Third part

is based upon an E minor chord (being the v (the diatonic minor dominant fifth) of A, which is the V (the dominant fifth) of D. You could say it has shifted into E dorian.

Posted by .

Dammit - I thought that at first but got the guitar out and….

Well DADGAD can be quite forgiving and an A modal chord fitted just fine (particularly with the pipe drones). I can see though that an Em is probably better though with EGB in the bar.

Thanks Peter

Wise Maid

You’re not going to like this, NCFA, but to me this sounds very much a bagpipe version of “The Pinch of Snuff”.

I’ve not been to Dundee for ages - how’re you getting on there?

Life in Dundee is fine thanks.

Just listened to the midi for Pinch of Snuff and I see what you mean - why do you have to plague me with this now?! 🙁

On the other hand they are quite different and I definately prefer this version. It seems to have more drive and clarity in the tune. It should warrant a seperate posting.

Wise Maid

Oh yes, definitely merits a separate posting. Where did you hear it?

Wise Maid

Scrap last comment - I see you heard it played by Daimh.

The tune I know as “The Wise Maid” is the other tune you found, as played by Joe Cooley, also known as “All Around the World”.

Not The Wise Maid

Definitely not the lady we’ve come to know and love as The Wise Maid - see for the one most sessioneers will know by this title.

Ah but it is!

I know there is another tune in here called “The Wise Maid” (Nigel even mentioned it in the last post) but that is a different tune. Just like there are lots of Ballydesmond Polkas, some you may like, others you may not, you now have the chance to know a new Wise Maid, who is wiser and more maid-like than the old one. 😀

Damn Alarum, give you an inch and you take a mile… Is this the result of all the excitement of being free of the studies regime?

My dear wife regularly takes on students training to be teachers. As a male primary teacher, with other talents, you shouldn’t have any problem finding a job. It is good that someone with music in their soul is also willing to pass on their passions in the education system. As with all things that people get invovled in collectively, don’t let the politics grind you down. Best of luck…

So, are you taking requests now? How about “Mazzy” from “The Pirates of Puirt”? 😉


“Down and out in Santiago de Compestella” by Colm O’Rua

I will give it a go at some point. There are never enough mazurkas in the world. It will give me a chance to try to learn a tune by ear as well.

I have three other tunes lined up in Notepad though waiting to be posted! I managed to ABC five of them yesterday in a sudden rush of enthusiasm - 2 of which you can now see!

I am sure I will find a job. My CV is currently with one of the pubs/restaurants in town that was advertising and my details are also with a call centre. In order to increase my chances though I need to escape from The!

Edgar Bolton is probably your man for “Down and Out…” though - being a founder member of the “Colm O’Rua Appreciation Society and Defence League” 😀

Just because there’s two Maude Millars it doesn’t mean that you can have two Miss McCleods, two Miss Monaghans, two Lady Anne Montgomerys and definitely not two Wise Maids!

Then change the name of your tune! I’m no blinking!

It is spelled Miss McLeod!!! If you can’t have two Wise Maids then you are going to have to think of another name for your one because mine was probably around first!!! 😉

There is Only One Wise Maid

If it was good enough for Joe Cooley, then it’s good enough for me! However, if we can’t agree, then maybe we’ll have to get one of these musicologist fellows on the job to see which Wise Maid came first. Then one can have “Old” in the title and the other “New” like the two Copperplates.

Bannerman blinks first! I win!

So I take it the “real” Wise Maid (this one) is not about to make it into the proscribed Comhaltas tunebook then? 😀

Around the World

Someone has just added the name “Around the World” to this tune. Do they mean this tune?:

Which already has that name added to it!!

This is a different tune. Let’s not confuse matters further.

Pity About the Name!

This really is a great tune and excellently played by Daimh (check out link to their site shown above) and definitely is deserving of it’s own identity. Just to show the problem with duplicate names, all of the 40 plus “recordings of a tune with this name” shown here lead to the Wise Maid as played by Joe Cooley. In order “not to confuse matters” maybe it could be re-christened “Daimh’s Wise Maid”. As for the Comhaltas tunes Book, I don’t think they’d have a problem about the tune’s Scottish origins - many tunes like Lord McDonald, Miss McCleod’s, Lord Ramsay, etc have already made the transition to the Irish idiom!

Not quite all of them - Daimh is on that list! But I am with you on the duplicate name thing and this is another example of where it would be a nice ideas to have a feature to adjust the links to albums, etc.

And another wee quick reminder - it is Mrs McLeod, not Miss McCleod. I am sure the womanherselfwould be most distressed to know that people all around the world spell her name wrongly on a daily basis!

nigelg - if you look at your own website, you’ll find a reel called “The Wise Maid” is included in your list of tunes in Kerr’s Vol.4. I don’t know if it’s the same as this tune, which is possibly a piper’s setting, but that particular “Wise Maid” would pre-date “Planxty” by about 70 years. The “Tannahill Weavers” recorded this several years before “Daimh” did.
Just to confuse things even further, unless I’m much mistaken, Seamus Tansey and Andrew Davey recorded the 9-part “Pinch Of Snuff” on “Music From The Coleman Country”, and called it “The Wise Maid”.

Posted by .

The Wise Maid

Yes, you’re right, Kenny - the tune is Kerr’s Merry Melodies Bk 4 IS the same tune as this one, but starts off an octave lower:

T:Wise Maid, The
S:Kerr’s Merry Melodies Bk.4
Z:Nigel Gatherer
D2 (FED AD (3FED | D2 (FED EGFE | D2 (FED AD (3FED | G2 BG EFGE :|
e2 ge bege | e2 ge fagf | e2 ge bege | b2 ge fagf :|
d2 cA BcBA | dBcA EFGE | d2 cA BcBA | GEFD EFGE :|

This not an uilleann piping tune This not an uilleann piping tune This not an uilleann piping tune This not an uilleann piping tune This not an uilleann piping tune This not an uilleann piping tune This not an uilleann piping tune This not an uilleann piping tune This not an uilleann piping tune This not an uilleann piping tune


Were you in particularly sadistic mood when you suggested I learn this? 🙂

nine eight A part?

maybe it’s just me, but the sheet music and midi file suggest that the A part is in 9/8 time…interesting…was that intentional…it sounds better in 9/8

above comment addressed to nigel

sorry…to clarify…it is the nigel version that is so curiously timed in 9/8…again…it makes the tune quite interesting for those who admire weird time signatures

Marty- the confusion arises because Nigel omitted the “3” (indicating a triplet) on the second beat of measures 1-3 of the first part. (Somehow that sounds like it belongs in a Marx Brothers bit- the party of the second part…) Anyway it’s an easy error to make and does seem to add an extra eight note to those measures. So:
D2 (3FED AD (3FED | D2 (3FED EGFE | D2 (3FED AD (3FED | G2 BG EFGE :|
and you’re back in reel time.

The Wise Maid

Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Fixed now.