Tibetan National Anthem reel

Also known as Gyallu.

Tibetan National Anthem has been added to 12 tunebooks.

Download ABC

One setting

X: 1
T: Tibetan National Anthem
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
G3A c2e2|d3c A2Ac|G8|G2c2 A2G2|
E2A2 G2E2|C8|D3F G2A2|G2c2 A2G2|E8|
D3E G4|A2c2 G4|G2A2 G2 E2|C2 D6|
G4 G4|G2E2 C4|G2E2 G2c2|G4 A4|
G2A2 G2E2|G8|G2cA G2E2|C2DE G4|
E2G2 c2G2|E2G2 A2G2|A2c2 G2E2|C4 E4|E8|
A2c2 G4|A2E2 G4|C3D E2G2|A3G A2c2|
c2d2 G2E2|C2DE G2E2|D8|G2E2 G2c2|
G2A2 G2E2|G8|G2cA G2E2|C2DE A2G2|A8|
C2D2 E2A2|G4 A4|e4 d4|c8||

Eighteen comments

Composition and Arrangement

Words by Trijang Rinpoch 1950, Arrangement by Michael Willing 2009

I can imagine The Chieftains doing this one.

Mind, they might not get any more gigs in China if they did.


Bearing in mind that the Tibetan National Anthem is clearly from a non-Western musical tradition I think in this case the key of C would be more appropriate than G - F# doesn’t appear to be present, and the tune ends on a resounding C cadence. It’s a gapped scale anyway.
Mix, many thanks for the WP link - the words in Tibetan are essential of course. The English just wouldn’t fit.
Somehow, I don’t think this “reel” would work for our set dancers 🙂

Relevance ?

Can you provide justification for posting this on an Irish traditional music website please ? If not, it should be deleted.

Posted by .


Correction to my previous post: there is an F# - in bar 7.

Clarification.. and Irish conncection

The tue is as far from Irish as we can get on this site. But I’ll take a stab at making this relevant to an Irish website.

I’ve been listening to a lot of the Chinese response to recent Tibetan protests regarding autonomy. In one report, the Chinese claimed that the Dalai Lama was advocating violence and attempting to destabilize the region by inciting a revolutionary force to action. The Chinese arguments hurled at the Dalai Lama are (almost IMO) amusing to consider, in light of the Dalai Lama’s feelings towards “freeing” Tibet. He sees no reason that China should not claim Tibet’s territory. In his mind, Tibet is a small and vulnerable country that could benefit greatly from having access to the wealth, modernity, and security that China could provide.

The Dalai Lama only wants autonomy for his region in the interest of native Tibetan culture, and to insure that it is not proscripted and destroyed by foreign colonial influences; he does not want the native people of Tibet to be persecuted by Chinese rulers for being Tibetan. He has even advocated a power sharing government.

At least that much should seem pretty familiar.


@Kenny - There seems little point in asking for a tune to be deleted, once Jeremy has added the gif and midi versions.

He presumably wouldn’t even bother doing this if he wasn’t happy about allowing a tune into thesession tunedb.

And anyway, it’s sometimes interesting to get a take on tunes from other cultures - this Galician tune, for example:


Posted by you, was it not? 😉


I think I can justify the “Pontevedra” tune, in that it has been recorded by Sharon Shannon, John Williams and Pat Kilbride and possibly others. Now you tell me the Irish traditional musicians who have recorded this particular piece.
“Gravelwalks” - you have provided no justification whatever.

Posted by .

Well I meant it more as light humor more than anything else. Not a bad little melody, though. I like it well enough. I hope that it finds a home here and is not exiled to another state. 🙂

Irish, Scottish, Galician, Tibetan …

Well, Atholl Highlanders (on this db) has been recorded by The Boys of the Lough - but that tune’s not Irish either …. 😉

And nobody has objected to your posting of that Galician tune, anyway.

Don’t care for Gallyu myself, but as I said before, it’s Jeremy who is the arbiter of what’s allowed in the tune db.

So live and let live … which is more than those Tibetans were allowed to do!

Relevance ….?

Still no answer.

Posted by .


Let us remember that there is no compulsion for anyone to play any tune on this website - except for a national anthem, and as far as I am concerned that will only be on some official occasion (sport, diplomatic, etc). And if I’m being paid, all the better 🙂

Bad Day?

Kenny, sure it’s a trad site, but so what if somebody drops in the occaisional tune from somewhere else? I was glad to have a go at this even though I came here primarily for Irish Tunes. As a musician, I relish the opportunity to sample different styles and cultures and I think limiting yourself to one genre is really doing yourself a disservice. And if you disagree, that doesn’t mean you should demand it be removed and made unavailable to others. To make such demands is to be at best fascistic and at worst a philistine. Don’t be a philistine, Kenny, don’t be *that* guy…


I have never made any “demands” on this site, only suggestions, which Jeremy occasionally accepts and occasionally doesn’t. He’s left the tune here - that’s his absolute prerogative. Fine by me.
Please put something about yourself in your profile. I’d like to know more about the person who accuses me of being a fascist or philistine, or both ?

Posted by .

The Tibetan National Anthem posting

First of all, I apologize for the very long delay in replying to this post as I have been living out of the United States in a very remote region of southeast asian without internet. I’m delighted there has been so much discussion about this posting!

Secondly, a little about me that I think is relevant as to why I posted this tune here at the session: I am a traveler, violist and fiddle player, gardener, and progressive activist. My dear friend Llama Paljor (a tibetan monk from Kalimpong) showed me a video he recorded a year ago in Brooklyn of a black street musician who saw Llama walking by and instantly burst into the Tibetan National Anthem. Llama Paljor told me how happy that made him feel to be in a foreign country and have someone play your national anthem. I had this experience not long ago in the New Delhi airport where a guitarist saw us American and did a lovely rendition of our anthem. In addition, I am long time Tibetan freedom activist and a member of the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation board of directors: www.tibetchild.org

Thirdly, before I posted this, I noticed that many countries anthems are available here on the session - so why not Tibet?

Fourthly, I chose the key of G because that is what the black street musician in the video I saw played the anthem in.

So, thanks again for the discussion. I’d love to see the tune in the key of C…..Thanks all for the great discussion!


You just never know…

You just never know when you’re going to need an unusual melody like this. I googled “Tibetan National Anthem” when I learned that two college students and I would be playing for the Dalai Lama last month, and was thrilled to see theSession.org pop up in the search results.

As it happens, we ended up playing this melody on two unison A-whistles and a droning smallpipe, while the college choir and many in the 2,000-member audience improvised a gorgeous pentatonic drone/harmony supporting the melody. We chose the key of A because it seemed to be the best singing range for massed voices. It was quite a powerful moment, if I may say so, but we don’t know if His Holiness heard any of it as he was only just arriving backstage as we performed this.

Anyway, I for one am grateful this ‘tune’ was posted.