Banish Misfortune jig

Also known as Banished Misfortune, Díbir Anachain, Díbir Mí-Ádh, The Horse Under The Stairs, The Humours Of Mullinafauna, The Little Bag Of Meal, Mammy’s Horse Is Dying, The Mangled Badger, The Stoat That Ate Me Sandals, The Whore Amongst The Nettles Roaring.

There are 106 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with Garrett Barry’s (lots of times), Tatter Jack Walsh (a few times), The Blarney Pilgrim (a few times), Brian O’Lynn (a few times) and The Cliffs Of Moher (a few times).

Banish Misfortune has been added to 188 tune sets.

Banish Misfortune has been added to 2,752 tunebooks.

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Five settings

X: 1
T: Banish Misfortune
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
fed cAG| A2d cAG| F2D DED| FEF GFG|
AGA cAG| AGA cde|fed cAG| Ad^c d3:|
f2d d^cd| f2g agf| e2c cBc|e2f gfe|
f2g agf| e2f gfe|fed cAG|Ad^c d3:|
f2g e2f| d2e c2d|ABA GAG| F2F GED|
c3 cAG| AGA cde| fed cAG| Ad^c d3:|
X: 2
T: Banish Misfortune
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Emix
gfe dBA| B2e dBA| G2E EFE| GFG AGA|
BAB dBA| BAB def|gfe dBA| Be^d e3:|
g2e e^de| g2a bag| f2d dcd|f2g agf|
g2a bag| f2g agf|gfe dBA|Be^d e3:|
g2a f2g| e2f d2e|BcB ABA| G2G AFE|
d3 dBA| BAB def| gfe dBA| Be^d e3:|
# Added by JACKB .
X: 3
T: Banish Misfortune
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
d2 e|fed cAG|A2d =cAG|EFD DdD|FDF GFG|
A^GA =cAD|(3EFG A cde|fed cAG|AdA d2 g||
fed cAG|A2d =cAG|EFD DdD|(3FED F G2G|
A2A =cAD|(3EFG A cde|fed cAG|AdA d2 e||
efd dcd|(3fed f afd|eg=c cBc|(3ed=c e gag|
(ef)g afd|(3efe f gag|fed cAG|ABc dag||
efd dcd|Adf aba|ge=c (3cgc G|=ceg gag|
(ef)g afd|(3efe f gag|fed cAG|ABc d2 e||
ef g ef f|ded =c2 c|ABA GG E|=F2 A GED|
=c2 c cAD|(3EFG A cde|fed cAG|AdA d2 e||
fed edc|cdB =c2 c|A2 A (3GBG E|=F2 F FED|
=C2 C =cAG|(3EFG A cde|fed cAG|AdA d2 e|]
X: 4
T: Banish Misfortune
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|:g/f/ed cAG| A2d cAG| F2D D3| F3 GFG|
AGA cAG| AGA cde|g/f/ed cAG| Ad^c d3:|
|:f2d dB/^c/d| f2g agf| e2c cBc|e2f gfe|
f2g agf| e2f gfe|fed cAG|Ad^c d3:|
|:f2g e2f| d2e c2d|A3 GAG| F3 GED|
c3 cAG| AGA cde| g/f/ed cAG| Ad^c d3:|
# Added by JACKB .
X: 5
T: Banish Misfortune
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|de|:"D"fed "C"cAG| "D"Add "C"cAG| "D"F2D DED| FEF "C"GFG|
"D"AGA "C"cAG| "D"AGA "C"cde|"D"fed "C"cAG| "D"Ad^c d2e:|
|:"D"f2d d^cd| f2g agf| "C"e2c cBc|e2f gfe|
"D"f2g agf| "C"e2f gfe|"D"fed "C"cAG|"D"Ad^c d2e:|
|:"D"f2g "C"e2f| "D"d2e "C"c2d|"D"ABA "C"GAG| "D"F2F GED|
"C"c3 cAG| AGA cde| "D"fed cAG|[1 "C"Ad^c "D"d2e:|[2 "C"Ad^c "D"d3|]
# Added by Bryce .

Thirty-six comments

I like to emphasise the "keyless" nature of this tune by sliding up to the F sharps from F natural. This works especially well at the very start of the first and second parts.

I find this tune sounds best when it isn’t rushed, but played at a steady, medium pace.

As, Bs & Cs

I am trying to get Varnish Me Foreskin on the fiddle, but I’m in a bit of a dilemma about the running order.

It seems to have an A, a B and a C part. As it is presented here, it’s a straight 2A, 2B & 2C format, but I have also seen it at JC’s to be 1A, 1B, !A, 1B & 2C.

Any ideas?

Weird version of Banish Misfortune

There’s a banjo player at my local session who plays the 1st part with a bar of 9/8, so that bars 5-8 go:

|~A3 BAG|M:9/8 ~A3 GAB cde|M:6/8 fed cAG|Adc d2|

He tells me that this is an older version that features on old recordings of this tune. Has anyone else come across this?

Guitar version

Richard Thompson and Patti Larkin each do a nice guitar solo version of this one.

D or G

Is it just me of can this tune be played as it written in the sheet music in D and G? Why yes, I believe it can!


It is in D mixolydian, which is uses a D scale with a C natural in it, so it is written with one sharp, and any C sharps shown as accidentals. People see the one sharp and sometimes say "oh, it is in G," but it is not.

Banish Misfortune

I’m just watching the film ‘Agnes Browne’ with music by Paddy Moloney, and they’re playing a reel version of "Banish Misfortune". Moloney having fun, to be sure, but it’s nice. If I have time later I’ll jot it down.

Here’s hoping, as I look forward to that… Nigel, anyone, is it online anywhere to hear?

Banish Misfortune

I have jotted it down (below). Believe it or not, it’s a videocassette I’m watching! The tune is very low in the background; this is what I think they’re playing:

T:Banish Misfortune
Z:Nigel Gatherer
S:Film: Agnes Browne, music by Paddy Moloney
L: 1/8
e2 | f2 ed cAAG | AddB =cAAG | F2 FD F2 FD | F2 FD G2 GE |
A2 AB =cAAG | Add^c d2 e2 | f2 ed cAAG | Addc d2 :|
e2 | f2 fd f2 fd | f2 fd fgaf | eA A2 eAfA | eA A2 efge |
f2 fd fgaf | e2 ef g3 e | fded cAAG | Addc d2 :|

I can’t find the clip anywhere on the net, unfortunately.

Banish Misfortune

I don’t wish to add the reel version as a setting, as I think it will muddy the database and make less experienced users think that it’s common. It isn’t. Therefore, can you delete my posts on the subject.

I’ve been looking for the film. The interest remains. Thanks for the transcription, interesting… Your comment has made the point for the less experienced. However, the subversive act of transforming a melody from one time signature to another has a long history and there are many examples in different traditions of music, including of these islands…

By the way, too late, I’ve copied your transcription and have already played it. ;-)

Banish Misfortune

I can’t seem to post the setting anyway, as it’s locked in 6/8, and my "setting" is in 4/4.

Banish Misfortune?

I remember thinking for a while as a kid that the title ‘Banish Misfortune’ had to do with the Banes, or Danes and the English crown.

Banish Misfortune?

So maybe it was originally "Spanish Misfortune", pertaining to the hundreds of Spanish soldiers and sailors that were washed up on the west coast of Ireland, dead or alive after the destruction of the Armada?

Johnny McCarthy’s setting of Banish Misfortune

I’ve just transcribed (in setting 3) Johnny McCarthy’s version (just the first time through - there are a few nice variations the second time, but mostly in the A part) from his album Steele’s Rock. He follows it with Cliffs of Moher, which I’ll transcribe some other time.

I’ve now added Johnny McCarthy’s setting of Cliffs of Moher as the 7th setting of that tune.

Spanish Misfortune?

Nó "Bainis Ms. Fortune", b’fhéidir ;-)

Names for ‘Banish Misfortune’ …

Just a comment on the ‘names’ of the tune: Mammy’s Horse is Dying’, ‘The Hoor among the Nettles Roaring’ are taken from a comedy video by D’unbelievables and are just a send-up on people making up names for tunes…I can see how someone not really familiar with this kind of humor could think these are real names…it’s a funny video where two travelers keep playing ‘Banish Misfortune’ over and over, and keep calling it different names that they just make up… never meant to end up on ‘The Session’ as the real name…

Banish Misfortune

Okay, I finally got around to learning this tune. It’s long been one of my favorites, I love the way Danu plays it. I was pleased to find that the tune was deceptively simple. In fact, the layout of the tune fits the hammered dulcimer perfectly. I’ve been experimenting a bit while learning it, with flattening the leading tone, especially in the B part as it keeps that part from having too much of a final cadence feeling. The A part has a definite flow to it that ornamentation seems to interrupt. But the C part is a bit bouncier so I’ve added a few hammer rolls in the second pass. I’m not exactly sure the best way to order a three part tune, but so far going A-B-C-A with repeats seems to work with a strong final cadence at the end. This will be the first tune of my third set I’ve put together, mating it with Bill Hart’s and then The Kesh.

David E

Re: Banish Misfortune

Irish dance tunes with 3 parts are generally played AABBCC, ending on the C part - Banish Misfortune is no different.

Re: Banish Misfortune

Thanks for that tip. Now that I think about it, the C part might make a better lead into Bill Hart’s.

David E

Re: Banish Misfortune

Played as CMO suggests, AABBCC, it can roll very nicely into Blarney Pilgrim, another 3-part jig.

Banish Misfortune, X:5

Here are some chords to go with Banish Misfortune.

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Re: Banish Misfortune

Love this tune. It does seem to banish misfortune, or at least bad moods. I’ve become weary playing and hearing some great tunes; never this one.

Re: Banish Misfortune

First setting, 3rd line, 3rd measure. Is there a reason the C is red?

Re: Banish Misfortune

No my "c" is black?? but maybe you are rich and can afford a colored monitor &^%$£