Tourish’s Tour Around The Box reel

Tourish's Tour Around The Box has been added to 19 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: Tourish's Tour Around The Box
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Cmaj
dGBd d^cAB|1 =cBce d^cAG|^FA^ce d2DE:|2 =cBce de^fa|a^ged ^ceA2||
_BABd c=Bce|de^fa gfga|(3_bag (3ag^f gd (3_edc|1 =Bc^fa g2 GA:|2 =BGG^F G2||
# Added .
X: 2
T: Tourish's Tour Around The Box
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
D/E/|=FEF cFA|G2G d^cA|=cBc ABc|BGG G2
D/E/|=FEF cFA|G2G d^cA|=cBc d^fa|gdB G2:|
z|_BAG =Bcd|^cAG ^FDD|=FEC ^FGA|^FGA G2
z|_BAB c=Bc|d^fa g2a|bag ag^f|gdB G2||

Thirty-eight comments

Tourish’s Tour

This is a tune I wrote for Martin Tourish a while back. It’s also the last movement of an extended piece called the ‘Errigal Suite’.

Not for the faint of heart it has tons of accidentals and the more observant amongst you will notice all 12 notes of the chromatic scale are used in the tune, so this isn’t a tune for non-chromatic instruments!

Works well on the box, the fiddle and plucked instruments like banjo and guitar.

I know it’s not in C Major, it’s more like F Lydian with lots of twists but I thought it best to leave out a key signature because of the ambiguity of it.

Spot prize goes to the first person who successfully learns this and uploads a recording of it somewhere.

Posted .

Is this what you call a contemporary classical piece? I don’t think it’s a good idea to post this kind of tune on this site.

Are you serious slainte?!! I hope you’re just joking. This is a Reel, it is far from being contemporary classical. It may be a bit odd compared to standard trad tunes but if you know the kind of tunes Reavy, Fahey and Dwyer composed then you’ll see where I’m coming from.

Posted .

My version of the tour!

If one was to define our genre by exactly what we do; the playing of TUNES. One would straight away realise that Daves tune fits entirely within the structural parameters of the genre.

The tonal nature of the tune might be the one objection but, the genre is actually tonally broader than what most people realise and has often used chromatic inflections and modal modulation, particularly in pre 1920’s music.

I personally view this piece as a development of the tradition had it not taken the path it had after it was influenced and consequently simplified by the Gaelic League and effect of Church and concept of nationalism (e.g. dance halls act of 1935 and its subsequent influences).

A wonderful and important addition to the tradition Dave and thanks again.

Martin Tourish.

Posted by .

I love the tunes by Fahey, Reavey, and Dwyer. But this is much more like Schoenberg. It has nothing to do with the traditional music of Ireland.

It has nothing to do with your *perception* of the traditional music of Ireland Slainte. Not being from Ireland, you largely get an incorrect picture of the music we play.

When the irish state came into being, we had a big overhall of the culture, and the music became heavily edited and stylistically changed to fit in with the cultural climate of the time. This was largely shamrocks, romantic Ireland and the church. Fahey and Reavey etc… were indeed a big part of the tradition,BUT there was actually a much bigger picture. Musicians were real people to.

I know this because I inherited a collection of manuscripts from east donegal from 1890’s which show such a wonderfully unhibited variety of natural musical thought. It was never published so never edited and it is thus a very rare glimps into what really went on.

Be careful with your sources and personal perceptions slainte…. there’s another side to every story…


Posted by .

The Japanese Trad Police have arrived!

Jaysus, who’d have thought by posting a slightly challenging tune I’d have had to defend it like this.

Slainte have you actually tried playing the tune or listening back to the midi of it?

If you don’t like the tune fair enough but I think it is wrong and offensive for you to say it has nothing to do with the tradition, in fact it was directly influenced by Reavy’s tune ‘The Old Cameronian’ which is also in F Lydian, but I suppose you’ve never heard that tune.

Aside from what Martin T says about the old collection he has I see this tune as a natural extension of what Reavy, Fahey and Dwyer have done. If you look at the Wild Swans of Coole by Reavy as found in his book you’ll notice that he uses 11 notes of the chromatic scale. Also I didn’t contrive to write a tune with all 12 notes it just came out that way by following on the tradition that Reavy, Fahey and others developed.

I think just because I mentioned the fact that all the chromatic notes are used in it you presume it’ll sound like Schoenberg!! Have you ever listened to Schoenberg I might add?! His music sounds nothing like this and is composed in a completely different way.

So Mr. Hiroyuki Yamada who’s only been listening to Irish music since 1999 may I kindly suggest that you’ve no right to lecture me or any other Irish musician about what the characteristics of the traditional music of Ireland are!

I think it’s sad that the trad police seem to have opened up a branch in Japan and you’ve appointed yourself chief of police!!

Posted .

Sorry, this tune still doesn’t sound like any of Reavy tunes, inclusing Old Cameronian and Wild Swans of Coole. Do you really think this tune will be played as traditional some day?

Anyway, who cares where I am from?

Yep Slainte it doesn’t sound like Reavy, it’s not meant to, it sounds like me, but it came about as a result of me learning a lot about Reavy, Fahey and so on. It has nothing to do with Schoenberg who I can’t stand by the way.

This tune is already being played as ‘traditional’ by the TG4 Young Traditional Musician of the Year Martin Tourish so it is not too far fetched to think it won’t be played by others in the future. It’ll probably never become a session standard because it is probably too difficult for most average players but I don’t really care about that. Five people have already added it to their tunebooks here so just cos you don’t like it and are blinded by what you perceive as ‘traditional’ doesn’t mean others won’t be interested in it.

I see you like Harry Bradley, do you think the tune ‘The Acrobat’ which he plays is ‘traditional’? It has lots of chromatic notes in it and I’m sure when it was written in the early 20th Century some people didn’t think it was ‘traditional’ but now it’s a part of the tradition.

I don’t care where you’re from but I do care that you are proclaiming yourself an expert in traditional Irish music when you’ve only been listening to it for a few years and don’t come from or live in Ireland. If you lived here and experienced the music on a day to day basis then you might realise that this tune isn’t really a shocking departure from the tradition.

So stop trying to enforce your opinion of what is ‘traditional’ upon others, given your limited experience with the music you are not in a position to suggest this tune shouldn’t be posted here.

Posted .

1999 seems like a pretty long time ago to me.

I have never ever proclaimed myself an expert in traditional Irish music, or tried to impose my opinion on you. I just doubt this tune is a “natural” progression of what Reavey, Fahy, and Dwyer have done. They never composed a tune only a limited number of people can play.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to post this kind of tune on this site.” is what you originally said Slainte, this is trying to impose your opinion on the whole website.

Some of Reavy, Fahey and Dwyers tunes are out of the reach of average players, indeed I know some players who don’t like Fahey’s music because they can’t play it on their instruments!

This tune is not really that difficult on certain instruments so it is well within the reach of many players particularly accordion, fiddle and banjo/guitar. It would be difficult on flute, pipes and whistles but so are a lot of tunes by Reavy, Fahey and Dwyer.

Anyway Slainte, I think it’s time you just let it go, you are obviously close-minded to tunes like this but you should at least be able to acknowledge that some other people aren’t and for that reason you shouldn’t object to this tune being posted on this site.

That’s the main reason I’m responding to you like this, I think you’ve a lot of nerve to suggest this tune has no place in the tradition or on this website.

I mean how can you judge the tune when you probably haven’t even heard it played properly yet?!!!

Posted .

Finally may I say that I don’t for a minute want to give people the impression that I think of myself as good a tune composer as Dwyer, Fahey or Reavy, I merely want to point out that these composers, not Arnold Schoenberg, were my main inspiration for this and many of my other tunes!!!

Posted .

Slainte, have you actually tried to play it? It’s not as hard as it looks. I guess it’s not a tune for a diatonic instrument like the flute or whistle, but on fiddle (that’s all I know), it’s actually OK. I find James Scott Skinner’s tunes much harder to play that this. And he’s been accepted into the tradition (albeit Scottish).

frisbee - I can imagine this being played on the organ more than anything else! Good luck with it. I’ve been interested in your recent comments on contemporary classical music, btw.

I can play it on the spoons!

Posted by .

My question is if the tune was written to sound good, or if its intent was to hold every note known to man! I’m not saying that it sounds bad, but just the way you pointed out that it has all 12 notes makes me wonder.

12 Notes

I always write music that I like to listen to, I never do technical exercises. I only realised it had all 12 notes after writing it, perhaps I should have kept my mouth shut about the fact it has the 12 notes.

I wanted to write a tune that reflected Martin T’s personality, he uses the whole range of the Accordion and often plays more notes than most could manage. So sure it’s not a tune for everyone to play, but the more adventurous might enjoy it.

Posted .


In retrospect I’d like to apologise to Slainte for my ‘Japanese Trad Police’ comment, I still find it strange that he chose to say I shouldn’t have posted this tune and that it has nothing to do with the tradition but still I was probably a bit too harsh on him in my response so apologies to Slainte.

Posted .

I can’t help commenting that there are many contemporary tunes on this site that have had no adverse comments about. Recently someone submitted a self penned ‘tune’ called “Swallows Folly” To me this was a snippet of melody/scale writing not worthy of a place on this site. It gave no challenge and bore little relationship to ITM. It was no challenge to the players of ITM to be found here.
This tune is a challenge. I tried playing it from the dots at first before listening to the midi. Found it hard to find the structure but on listening to the midi the structure became obvious and I hope now I shall have more luck with it on my 2+half row D/G club. I think it is worthy of being here. It is a pity that others who commit us to their self-penned tunes don’t think twice before inflicting us with them.

Posted by .

Not a bad tune, however I prefer the first part; 2nd one is inclined to get lost in its chromatisms… But it surely makes a good exercise!

Posted by .

Somehow it doesn’t come up to it’s promise ~ I’m still looking for the Ebs… 😎

there’s an Eb in the second last bar ceolachan, you hardly notice it but it’s there!

Posted .

am glad you think so Pere, millions would disagree with you including me!

Posted .

I can’t help but think it sounds better with quite a pronounced swing. I’m currently miles away from being able to play it like I intend, but that’s how it seems to go in my head.

you could be right joe, i played it quite straight on that recording, it could probably do with more of a swing

Posted .

Wow, this is actually a very interesting tune to me… gotta show this to the fiddler. Don’t mind others learning it, do you? Too bad I can’t play fiddle…

No offense taken, Frisbee. It seems I need to concede a little bit. Now I think I shouldn’t have talked about whether this tune is traditional enough or not. I admit I was clumsy and chose wrong words.

I think I was trying to object posting a tune which even you think “is probably too difficult for most average players.” But now I’m aware I’m not in the position of opposing you writing a tune for a good friend.

It would sound best on the box. Not bad on the guitar, though.

Tourish’s Tour Around The Box (reel)

X: 1
T: Tourish’s Jig Around The Box
C: Nigel Gatherer, with apologies to frisbee
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: G
D/E/ | =FEF cFA | G2G d^cA | =cBc ABc | BGG G2
D/E/ | =FEF cFA | G2G d^cA | =cBc d^fa | gdB G2 :|
z | _BAG =Bcd | ^cAG ^FDD | =FEC ^FGA | ^FGA G2
z | _BAB c=Bc | d^fa g2a | bag ag^f | gdB G2 ||

Nice Jig!

hey nigel, great job turning that into a jig I like it, would change a couple of notes here and there but its generally a great idea and makes the tune seem a lot less complicated than in its original reel form

Posted .

Yes - it definitely sounds more like Fahey and Reavy than Schoenberg. I shall set about learning it on the fretless tuning fork.

…forget the fork. I’ve just had a stab at it only the mandolin, and there’s nothing particularly difficult about it. I can imagine there might be intonation issues for fiddlers not accustomed to chromaticism - but I actually find that most of the chromaticism is in keeping with that which already exists in some Irish tunes (although there isn’t usually quite this much of it in a single tune) and would probably respond well to the East Clare sliding treatment.

I will do my best to learn it, although the venerable Mr. T. will have to slow down a few notches if I am ever to play it with him.

Nice one, Dave.

…I’ve tried it on the whistle. There are some challenging notes in there - particularly the high Bb and Eb in the penultimate bar. But, whistle not being my main instrument, I tend to only play whistle-friendly tunes on it - for a full time whistle or flute player, I don’t think it would be much more difficult than many tunes in ‘funny’ keys (A, C, Gminor, Dminor etc).

The Whistle

Just gave it a spin on the whistle (don’t get me wrong, I can’t play it). Apart from the F-natural(which should not be the problem), all the half-holings are preceded by a note which allows sliding into the half hole, which means that this is the almost the easiest possible way of including all accidentials in one peace from a whistle/flute perspective

Posted by .

Hey - change your name back to frisbee, else we won’t know where to throw ye!

Nice tune. Found it after seeing your Fahey uploads. It makes me think of Liz Carroll having a double-think on the Black Haired Lass. I may well give it a stab. Good on you.