The Rights Of Man hornpipe

Also known as High Could Cat, The Right Of Man.

There are 133 recordings of this tune.
This tune has been recorded together with

The Rights Of Man appears in 6 other tune collections.

The Rights Of Man has been added to 360 tune sets.

The Rights Of Man has been added to 2,765 tunebooks.

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Sixteen settings

X: 1
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
|:GA|B2A2 G2F2|EFGA B2ef|gfed edBd|cBAG A2GA|
BcAB GAFG|EFGA B2ef|gfed Bgfg|e2 E2 E2:|
|:ga|babg efga|babg egfe|d^cde fefg|afdf a2gf|
edef gfga|bgaf gfef|gfed Bgfg|e2 E2 E2:|
X: 2
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
|:G>A|B2 (3ABA G2 (3FGF|E>FG>A B2 e>f|g>fe>d e>d (3Bcd|c>BA<G A2 (3FGA|
(3BcB A2 (3GAG F>G|E>FG<A B2 e>f|g2 (3fed B2 (3fgf|e>E E>^D E2:|
|:g>a|b2- b>g e2 (3fga|b>^ab>g e2 (3gfe|d3 e f3 g|a>f (3def a2 (3agf|
e^def g>fg>a|b2 (3agf g>fe>f|g>fe<d B2 (3gfg|e2 E2 E2:|
X: 3
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Edor
BdAB GBFB|EFGA (3Bcd ef|gafg efdf|cfBc (3ABA GA|
BdAB GBFB|EFGA (3Bcd ef|gfed Bdgf|e2E2 E2||
^ga|b^gbg ef=ga|b^gbg e2f=g|a^gaf defg|afdf a2gf|
e^def gfga|b^gbg e2ba|gfed B=cdg|e2E2 E2^ga|
b^gbg ef=ga|b^geg b2ag|abaf defg|afdf a2gf|
e^def gfga|bb (3aba gfef|gfed Bdgf|e2E2 EFGA||
X: 4
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
GA|:"Em"(3BcB AB GAFG|"Am"EFGA "Em"B2 ef|"C"gfed "G"edBd|"Am"cBAG "D"A2 GA|
"Em"(3BcB (3 ABA (3 GAG (3FGF|"Am"EFGA "Em"B2 ef|"Am"gfed "D"Bgfg|1 "Em"e2 E2 E2 GA:|2 "Em"e2 E2 E2 ga||
|:"Em"bagf efga|"Em"bged efga|"D"(3fgf ef defg|"D"afdf a2 gf|
"Em"(3ede ef (3gfg a2|"G"(3bc’b (3aba "C"(3gag (3fgf|"Am"edBA "D"Ggfg|1 "Em"e2 E2 E2 ga:|2 "Em"e2 E2 E4||
X: 5
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
GA|(3BcB (3ABA (3GAG (3FGF|EF.GA B2ef|(3gag (3fgf (3efe .dB|c>e.dB (3ABA G>A|
(3BcB (3ABA (3GAG (3FGF|EF.GA B2ef|gfed Bgfg|.eE (3FED E2:|
ga| efga| e3 (3b/g/e/|.d2 dA defg|af.df (3aba g>f|
eBef|bgef gf.ef|gf.ed Bgfg|1 .eE (3FED E2:|2 "last time only" .eE (3FED (3EGB e2||
X: 6
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
|:G>A|(3BcB (3ABA G>GF>G|E>FG>A B2 e>f|g>fe>d B>dg>f|(3efe (3dcB A2 G>A|
(3BcB (3ABA G>AF>G|E>FG>A B2 e>f|g>fe>d B>dg>f|e2 E2 E2:|
|:g>a|b>gb>g e>fg>a|b>gb>g e>gf>e|d>cd>e d>ef>g|a>fa>b a2 g>f|
e>ee>g f>df>a|g>fe>d B2 e>f|g>fe>d B>dg>f|e2 E2 E2:|
X: 7
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
|:GA|B2A2 G2F2|EFGA B2ef|gfed edBd|cBAG A2GA|
BcAB GAFG|EFGA B2ef|gfed Bgfg|e2 E2 E2:|
X: 8
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
G>A|(3BcB (3ABA (3GAG (3FGF|E>F G>A B2 e>f|g>f e>d B>e g>f|(3efe (3ded (3cdc G>A|
(3BcB (3ABA (3GAG (3FGF|E>F G>A B2 e>f|g>f e>d B>g f>g|e2 E2 E2:|
|:g>a|b>g b>g e>f g>a|b>g b>g (3efg f>e|d2 d>^c d>e f>g|a>f d>f a2 g>f|
e>d e>f g>f g>a|b>g a>f g>f e>f|g>f e>d B>g f>g|e2 E2 E2:|
X: 9
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
|:GA|"Em"B2A2 G2F2|EFGA B2ef|gfed edBd|"Am"cBAG "D/H"A2GA|
"Em"BcAB GAFG|EFGA B2ef|"Am"gfed "D/H"Bgfg|"Em"e2 E2 E2:|
|:ga|"G"babg "Em"efga|"G"babg "Em"egfe|"D"d^cde fefg|"Hm"afdf a2gf|
"C"edef gfga|"Am"bgaf gfef|gfed "D/H"Bgfg|"Em"e2 E2 E2:|
X: 10
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmin
FG|:"Dm"(3ABA "C"GA "Bb"FG"A"EF|"Gm"DEFG "Dm"Acde|"Bb"fedc "F"Acde|"Dm"fdcA "C"G2 FG|
"Dm"(3ABA "C"GA "Bb"FG"A"EF|"Dm"DEFG "F"Acde|"Gm"fedc "A"Afef||1 "Dm"d2 D2 D2 FG:|2 "Dm"d2 D2 D2 fg||
|:"F"afdc defg|"Dm"afdc dfed|"C"c=Bcd edef|gece "A7"afge|
"Dm"d3 e fAgA|aAgA fAeA|"Gm"dcAG "A7"Ffef||1 "Dm"d2 D2 D2 fg:|2 "Dm"d2 D2 D2||
X: 11
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmin
FG|:AB GA FGEF|DEFG Acde|f{gf}edc dcBA|B{cB}AGF G2 FG|
ABGA FGEF|DEFG Acde|f{gf}edc Afef||1 (3ddd [DA]2 [DA]2 FG:|2 (3ddd [DA]2 [DA]2 fg||
|:agaf defg|~a3f dfed|(3cdc =Bd cdef|gece g2fe|
dcde fefg|(3agf (3gfe fede|fedc Afef||1 (3ddd [DA]2 [DA]2 fg:|2 (3ddd [DA]2 [DA]2||
X: 12
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
|:G>A|B>cA>B G>AF>G|E>FG>A B2e>f|g>fe>d B>gf>g|(3ege d>B A2G>A|
B>cA>B G>AF>G|E>FG>A B2e>f|g>fe>d B>A (3Bcd|e2 E2 E2:|
|:g>a|b>ab>g e>fg>a|b>ab>g e>gf>e|d>AF>A d>cd>e|a>fd>f a2g>f|
e>de>f g>fg>a|(3bag a>f g2 e>f|g>fe>d B>A (3Bcd|e2 E2 E2:|
X: 13
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
GA|:"Em"(3BcB AB GAFG|"Am"EFGA "Em"B2 ef|"C"gfed "G"edBd|"Am"cBAG "D"A2 GA|
"Em"(3BcB (3ABA (3GAG (3FGF|"Am"EFGA "Em"B2 ef|"Am"gfed "D"Bgfg|1 "Em"e2 E2 E2 GA:|2 "Em"e2 E2 E2 ga||
|:"G"babg "Em"efga|"G"babg "Em"egfe|"D"d^cde fefg|"Bm"afdf a2gf|
"C"edef gfga|"Am"bgaf "Em"gfef|"Am" gfed "D"Bgfg|1 "Em"e2 E2 E2 ga:|2 "Em"e2 E2 E4||
X: 14
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ddor
|:(3ABA GA FGEF|DEFG ~A2de|fedc dcGA|BFcA GAFG|
AFGA FGEF|DEFG ~A2de|fefG A2ef|1 d2 (3edc d4:|2 d2 (3edc defg||
|:a3f defg|a3f de (3fed|cAGA cdef|gece gefd|
fede fefg|afge fede|fefG A2ef|1 d2 (3edc defg:|2 d2 (3edc d4||
X: 15
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
GA|:"Em"(3BcB (3ABA (3GAG (3FGF|EFGA B2ef|"G"gfed "D"edcB|"C"cBAG "Bm"F2 GA|
"Em"(3BcB (3ABA (3GAG (3FGF|EFGA B2ef|"G"gfed "D"Bg (3fgf|"Em"e2E2 E2 GA:|
"Em"E2 EG "D"F2 FA|"C"GFGA "Bm"B2 ef|"G"gfed "D"Bg (3fgf|"Em"e2E2 E2 GA|
"Em"E2 EG "D"F2 FA|"C"GFGA "Bm"B2 ef|"G"gfed "D"Bg (3fgf|"Em"e2E2 E4||
X: 16
T: The Rights Of Man
R: hornpipe
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
|:GA|BdAB GAGF|EFGA B2 ef|gfed edBd|cBAG A2 GA|
BdAB GAGF|EFGA B2 ef|gfed Bgfg|e2 E2 E2:|
|:ga|bagf efge|Begf afge|dcde defg|agaf bagf|
edef gfga|bBaB gBfB|gfed Bgfg|e2 E2 E2:|

Sixty-four comments

This is a true classic amongst hornpipes. It’s been played by just about everybody at some stage, so there are countless variations on the basic tune.

Personally, I like to play it at a fair to middling speed, although I must admit it can sound excellent played with a very un-hornpipelike mad dash tempo.

Use of triplets

The version I have from the RRtunes ABC collection gets a nice lilt to this by using triplets for the decending quarter notes in the first measure
(3BcB (3ABA (3GAG (3FGF|EFGA B2ef|
and again before the tagline in the second part
edef gfga|(3bag (3agf gfed|gfed Bgfg|e2E2E2:|

Paddy Canny’s version of Rights of Man

Has anybody done an ABC transcription of Paddy Canny’s highly unusual version of “The Rights of Man”? I haven’t been able to locate one on the web.

I really like the triplet version garym is talking about - especially if you play it high on the bow, it adds a lazy catchiness to it. For a fun version, you can lengthen every other note or so and it comes out sounding like something from Louisiana - no longer a hornpipe, but fun to play.

I like to go back and forth between triplets and eigth notes in the first and fourth bar. Although I should try the first bar and roll every quater, that is another interesting variation, which I jsut came up with.

The Lyrics to this song

Does anyone know where I can find a copy of the lyrics to this song? Our Ceilidh Band, the Desert Highlanders, has just picked this song up, and I really would like to do a vocal. Try as I might though, I canna find it. Help!!!!!!!


Hi Lord Cedar!
If you find (the) lyrics to/for this song(??) remember to post them here!

Lord Cedar Hills, could these be they?

I speak with candour one night in slumber,
My mind did wander near to Athlone,
To that centre station of the Irish nation,
Where a congregation unto me was shown,
Beyond my counting upon a mountain,
Near to a fountain that clearly ran,
The earth did tremble I’ll not dissemble,
As they assembled for the Rights of Man.

All clad in green I thought I seen,
A virtuous Queen that was grave and old,
Saying children dear do not fear,
But come and hear what I will unfold,
This fertile country for seven centuries,
Since Strongbow’s entry into our land,
Has been kept under by foes outnumbered,
And robbed and plundered of the Rights of Man.

My cause you chided and so derided,
When all divided alas you know,
And in disorder round Erin’s border,
Strife grief and murder has laid you low,
Let each communion detest disunion,
And in love and union join hand in hand,
Believe in Graine and proud Britannia,
No more shall rob you of the Rights of Man.

Through the azure sky I then did spy,
A man to fly and he fast descends,
Straightway comes down upon the ground,
Where Erin round had her bosom friends,
His dazzling mitre and cross was brighter,
Than the stars at night or the midday sun,
And in accents rare I do declare,
He prayed success unto the Rights of Man.

When his prayer was ended he condescended,
His hand to lend it in freedom’s cause,
He said I’ll aid you and always lead you,
And still persuade you to Christian laws.
When in affliction or sad restriction,
My benediction with uplifted hand,
I may explain it you shall obtain it,
And always gain it with the Rights of Man.

Then the population and congregation,
In exultation agreed to part,
They shook hands like brothers and kissed each other,
While friends smothered each Irish heart.
They separated, exhilarated,
And animated at what went on,
And as day was breaking poor Shiels awaking,
Cried still be true unto the Rights of Man.


Could someone post the name of the composer, if it is known?

I’m pretty certain nobody knows who composed this, bennmorland. In one or two old manuscripts it’s been attributed to James Hill, but this could just have been someone’s assumption. There’s no proof one way or the other.

“The Rights of Man” ~ some other possibilities, with swing 😉

X: 1134
T: The Rights Of Man
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: hornpipe
K: Emin
|: G>A |
B2 (3ABA G2 (3FGF | E>FG>A B2 e>f | g>fe>d e>d (3Bcd | c>BA<G A2 (3FGA |
(3BcB A2 (3GAG F>G | E>FG<A B2 e>f | g2 (3fed B2 (3fgf | e>E E>^D E2 :|
|: g>a |
b2- b>g e2 (3fga | b>^ab>g e2 (3gfe | d3 e f3 g | a>f (3def a2 (3agf |
e^def g>fg>a | b2 (3agf g>fe>f | g>fe<d B2 (3gfg | e2 E2 E2 :|

Yeah, it is built into the category ~ hornpipes… I have this visual need to see it too, crazy… The awful thing is that the midi can really exaggerate the swing when it is notated, but, I’ve heard players that play swing quite exaggerated, one reason why some fieldworkers unfamiliar with some of the forms have transcribed, as examples, barndances and highland flings as if they were 12/8 slides…

The Rights of Man

It is also, of course, the title of a hugely popular book by the English radical Thomas Paine, who was influential in both the American and French revolutions.

Rights of man

Anyone know where this tune is from?

I remember reading somewhere - but cannot for the life of me remember where - that this tune and its title is nothing like as old as the title might imply.
Rather than referring to the work of Thomas Paine, the French Revolution or any of the other things happening at the end of the 18th century, it is in fact an ironical reference to the role of a husband in marriage.

No murfbox - I think you’re thinking about “The Home Ruler”.

You´re absolutely right, Kenny !
My memory is getting a bit unreliable !

I LOVE Old Blind Dogs version of this from Bedlam Boys. Tough to learn on mandolin. It sounds like the entire tune is played with hammer-ons and pull-offs. I’m gonna continue trying to learn how they play it rather than from the ABC. It sounds kinda sterile with ABC and midi.

I think, murfbox, that Thomas Paine did write a pamphlet of great influence called ‘The Rights of Man’, so who knows where it all started? A great tune tho by any standards.

love it……………………………….!

Here’s a rather unusual version from Mickey Doherty. The g# in the second part are not quite sharp, more like “supernatural”.

T:The Rights of Man
S:Mickey Doherty
BBBA GBGE|DEGA Bdef|gfed Bdgf|eE{G}ED EFGA|\
BdAB GBFB|EFGA (3Bcd ef|gafg efdf|cfBc (3ABA GA|\
BdAB GBFB|EFGA (3Bcd ef|gfed Bdgf|e2E2 E2|]\
^ga|b^gbg ef=ga|b^gbg e2f=g|a^gaf defg|afdf a2gf|\
e^def gfga|b^gbg e2ba|gfed B=cdg|e2E2 E2^ga|\
b^gbg ef=ga|b^geg b2ag|abaf defg|afdf a2gf|\
e^def gfga|bb (3aba gfef|gfed Bdgf|e2E2 EFGA|]

Anybody play “Rights of Man” in a set?

If so, what do you play it with?

Re: Anybody play “Rights of Man” in a set?

I play it after the Democratic Hornpipe, of course. But, now that I’ve looked, that doesn;t sem to be on here. Perhaps I’d better post it …

Re: Anybody play “Rights of Man” in a set?

Usually play it before ‘Pride of Petravore’ a set made popular by De Danaan, I think.

Posted by .

Re: Anybody play “Rights of Man” in a set?

Any hornpipe you like brother Fish. I’ve been known to pair it with whatever comes to mind - Cronin’s, Chief O’Neill’s Fav, Plains of Boyle, Galway, etc. etc. Listen to a bunch of stuff - pick one you like - learn it - pair it with Rights, and viola! A set is born custom made for Fishmonger.

Re: Anybody play “Rights of Man” in a set?

Bliemy! Turns out I was lying - I got the tune name mixed up with another one. It turns out that the tune I play it after is Kemp’s. which *also* isn’t on here. How amazing is that? I suppose I’d better get posting …

Re: Anybody play “Rights of Man” in a set?

That’d be “Blimey” …

Meanwhile, I realise that Kemp’s, The Democratic then RoM would make a great set of three. Right then …

Re: Anybody play “Rights of Man” in a set?

Personally, I like to play “ther Rights Of Man” after the hornpipe “Her Golden Hair Was Hanging Down Her Back”

Works for me, anyway.

Woops. I meant to put this in the forum. Sorry.

Re: Anybody play “Rights of Man” in a set?

I follow this with “The Blackbird” I like the change from ‘Em’ in ‘R of M’ to the ‘G’ at the start of ‘The B’. Having started the set at a session recently comment was made afterwards that it was expected I would have played “Pride of Petrovore” That tune I tend to add onto the end of “King of the Fairies”. I could try stringing them all together I suppose.
I play “Her Golden Hair…..” as a steady reel.

Anybody play “Rights of Man” in a set?

how about the cuckoo hornpipe. makes a nice change of pace I think or should that be character as both have the same fundamental rythymn. hmmm not sure how to describe it. try it anyway - if works for you OK.

Re: Anybody play “Rights of Man” in a set?

Usually I play “The Rights Of Man” after “Chief O’Neill Favourite”

I did read (no idea where) that it was composed by James Hill and named after the book of that name written by Thomas Paine - apparently one of the most influential books of its time.
Cracking version by Jean Carignan on his Archives CD - played in B minor.

Re: Anybody play this tune in a set?

I find that it goes really well with the butterfly

Re: Anybody play this tune in a set?

We always played it with “Twa Bonnie Maidens” - which we played in a sort of “dreamy” fashion, more like an air than a hornpipe. One of our hammer dulcimer players would then transition into “Rights of Man” at the original tempo, the second joining with a harmony.

When the band joined them we would jump the tempo and play “Rights of Man” sort of between a march and a hornpipe - a bit “stiffer” than we would usually play a hornpipe.

Here’s our version:

X: 1

T:Rights Of Man





S:O 141 From J&D Donaldson


N:Second in set with “Twa Bonnie Maidens”


GA|:“Em”(3BcB AB GAFG|“Am”EFGA “Em”B2 ef |

“C”gfed “G”edBd|“Am”cBAG “D”A2 GA|!

“Em”(3BcB (3 ABA (3 GAG (3FGF|“Am”EFGA “Em”B2 ef|

“Am”gfed “D”Bgfg|1“Em”e2 E2 E2 GA:|2“Em”e2 E2 E2 ga|!

|:“Em”bagf efga|“Em”bged efga|

“D”(3fgf ef defg|“D”afdf a2 gf|!

“Em”(3ede ef (3gfg a2|“G”(3bc’b (3aba “C”(3gag (3fgf|

“Am”edBA “D”Ggfg|1“Em”e2 E2 E2 ga:|2“Em”e2 E2 E4|

% Output from ABC2Win Version 2.1 on 2/11/98

Yikes, I was still using Windoze back then! lol

Setting #6 after John Doonan on “At the Feis”. He breaths on the staccatto notes. Played “dotted” but I only showed it where it seemed particulary strong.

X: 7 ~ “The Rights of Man”

S: Michael Gorman & his fiddle

This is just one simplification of Michael’s way with it. For a listen I highly recommend the 2 CD recording “Michael Gorman: The Sligo Champion”, this hornpipe is track 21 on disk one.
This track is a full semitone sharp of norm, based on the pitch of Michael’s voice and the tune, corrected in the transcription…

This is in answer to a recent request. I have others I’m still working on, apologies to those concerned for any delays, a small percentage of which are quite long… 🙁 (guilt!)

The Rights Of Man, X:8

Limited range version with second part down 1 octave. Fits 11 hole D ocarina.

Considered this to be unworkable untill I looked at it again today, realised the b part could be shifted down as a whole. Thankfully the low c is sharp, or it would need changing as well.

Re: The Rights Of Man X:10

What does “D/H” mean?

Re: The Rights Of Man

“The melody is haunting”

That’s certainly one way of describing it

The Rights Of Man, X:11

I had this version in D minor forty or so years ago from a fiddler in Worthing, Sussex, and like it a lot. It goes well as a pair leading into the Saratoga Hornpipe.

Re: The Rights Of Man

Impressive stuff, but is it ‘Rights of Man’? Doesn’t sound like the version as posted here. Different tune of same name?

Re: The Rights Of Man

It’s variations\improvising on it, when Fred starts playing it more quickly he brings it closer to the original hornpipe posted (still not quite the same though, some alternative of The Rights of Man).

Re: The Rights Of Man

^that happens around 2 mins 23s in of the live recording

Re: The Rights Of Man

Yup! That’s certainly a more regular version of it.

Re: The Rights Of Man

At the local sessions, we usually play the “Rights Of Man” with the “Greencastle Hornpipe”. The version we use is the one in the Fiddler’s Fake Book because that was the only version we had available when we started the local sessions in 1995.


Re: The Rights Of Man

>>The Rights Of Man, X:12

>>Transcribed this the way Paddy Canny plays it

># Posted by Mike Makepeace 4 months ago.

Four months later, the transcriptions only go as far as #11


Re: The Rights Of Man

I reviewed my own documentation of how we’ve played it, and I do see that we’ve fit it in with other hornpipes like Off to California, Boys of Blue Hill, and Chief O’Neils Favourite, but we also followed it up (or preceded) with a more upbeat reel, like Sally Gardens or Bunker Hill or Cooley’s Reel (though that’s not as upbeat). Other reels and hornpipes can have a negative (minor) feel to it, and we’ve followed Rights of Man up with Julia Delaney’s or King of the Fairies. For the same, gloomy feel, but different beat, we’ve preceded it with a jig, Cliffs of Moher. Like Ian McVoy posted 10 years ago, we’ve also played it after The Butterfly slip jig.

Re: The Rights Of Man

Re. discussion above about this tune’s composer. The Northumbrian Piers‘ Society published ’The Fiddle Music of James Hill‘* in 2005, where it is not included in his known compositions but in a section headed ’Tunes occasionally ascribed to James Hill’ (No. 49. p 19). I guess they might be reliable informants as to what tunes are definitely JH’s, so I imagine the attribution is just hearsay.
*1811-1853. Do his dates tie in with any other known sources?

Re: The Rights Of Man

Graham Dixon who produced The Lads Like Beer, seems to agree with the Northumbrian Pipers Society. He places The Rights Of Man in his “associated with James Hill” section.

The Rights Of Man, X:16

This version of the well-known hornpipe is as notated in the Power manuscript from Kilmore in County Wexford. The manuscript, rescued from a thatched roof, has sections spanning from the mid 19th century to about 1920. This notation of The rights of man dates from the later period of the document. It has a particularly unique second part.