Siubhan Ni Dhuibir waltz

Also known as Siobhan Ni Duibhir, Siúbhán Ní Dhuibhir.

There are 4 recordings of this tune.

Siubhan Ni Dhuibir has been added to 63 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: Siubhan Ni Dhuibir
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
A4 e2|a4a2|g6|f2e2d2|f4 g2|e6|
e4 e2|a4a2|g4g2|f2e2d2|f4 g2|e6|
X: 2
T: Siubhan Ni Dhuibir
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
D2|D2A2A2|A2B2c2|A2G2E2|D4D2|D4 A2|d4d2|
c4c2|B2A2G2|B4 c2|A4A2|d4d2|c4c2|B2A2G2|B4 c2|A4D2|
X: 3
T: Siubhan Ni Dhuibir
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Edor
(E3/2B/B B3/2c/d|B3/2A/F E2E|E3E2) (B|e2e ddd|
c3/2B/A c2d|B3/2B2) (B|e2e ddd|c3/2B/A c2 d|
B3/2B) (E|E3/2B/B B3/2c/d|B3/2A/F E2E|E3E2)||

Eighteen comments

A lovely slow air… I mean waltz, ahem, 🙂

Sean ni Duibhir

Don’t know where you got the name, Ion, but this air is widely known as Sean Ni Duibhir (John Dwyer of the Glen) and was posted here long ago in Dmix by hetty:

Posted .

Shame it’s not just being added to the comments section of Hetty’s original post.

Posted .

Eh ???

“Ionnanas” is quite correct. This is “Siubhan Ni Dhuibir”, an air which can be played in waltz time. “Sean O’Dhuibhir” is a completely different tune, and song, altogether.

Posted by .

Double Eh ???

Well, the tune hetty posted is certainly different, but the abcs Ion submitted match exactly the tune I know as “Sean Ni Duibhir” (note the spelling of Duibhir), and all those matches on the recordings didn’t pop up till I entered the allegedly “correct” spelling.

The switch for Sean vs. Siobhan I could live with, but I’ve never seen Siobhan spelled Siubhan, nor Duibhir spelled Dhuibir.

“Bh” is the gaelic spelling for our anglicized “v” sound.

Perhaps he could at least edit the title to correct the spelling?

Posted .


I’m not at all up on Gaelic spelling, Will - I just went along with Ionannas, assuming he/she knew better than me. When I came back to Aberdeen in the early 1970s, there was a band called “The Ghille Mhor”, who played both Scottish and Irish music. Arthur Watson a fine singer and whistle-player, used to play “Susan O‘Dwyer”, the tune Ionannas has posted here. I don’t know where he got it from. I have a feeling that Alan Stivell may have recorded it around then. “Sean O’Dwyer” is a popular song in Scotland, particularly with some of the Glasgow Irish singers. Mick West has a great recording of it, and John Morran of “Deaf Shepherd” also used to make a great job of it.
By the way, I sent you a package last week, as promised a while back. I assume it hasn’t arrived yet, but look out for it. All the best.

Posted by .


According to an internet discography “Susy MacGuire” [ sic ] is track 1 on “Chemins de Terre”. I’m sure that’s the tune Ionannas has posted here.

Posted by .

Kenny, the package arrived just this morning! Thank so very much! Wonderful stuff.

I’m no expert on Irish spelling either, but Ion’s stab at it just doesn’t look at all like anything I’ve ever seen.

Mea culpa on the confusion between Sean and Siobhan O’Dwyer.

Regardless, I’ve played this tune for yonks, surprised it wasn’t in here long ago…..

Posted .

Siúbhán Ní Dhuibhir. the correct title for this well known Irish Song

Will Harmon wrote:
“I’m no expert on Irish spelling either, but Ion’s stab at it just doesn’t look at all like anything I’ve ever seen.”

One out of two’s not bad:
Ionannas is completely correct, & you are no expert on Irish spelling (or more importantly, grammar). Seriously this is a very popular Gaelic song, about a woman!

‘Ní’ as part of a surname in Gaelic means ‘daughter of…’ or ‘female descendant of…’ and is followed by a lenited letter (if the letter can be lenited) and will explain the lenition (Irish: séimhiú) of the first letter ‘D’ (i.e., that’s why the ‘D’ is followed by a ‘h’; the lenited ‘D’ is spelled ‘Dh’.) The male equivalent in Gaelic surnames is ‘Ó’ (meaning grandson / male descendant) and ‘Mac’ (meaning son / male descendant). ‘Ó’ is not followed by a lenited letter!

Micheal Ó Domhnaill, yet Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill! Huh, go figure!
And there no séimhiú on the ‘M’ in “Proinsias Ó Maonaigh” and yet there is a séimhiú following the ‘Ní’ in “Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh”.

Seán Ní Duibir has to be wrong, in fact it’s super wrong! Apart from the fact that ‘Ní’ would be followed by a lenited ‘D’ (i.e., by ‘Dh’), this would imply that Seán (a man’s name) is a female descendant of Duibir.

‘Siúbhán’ an old Gaelic name (from Ireland and Scotland) and has been standardized by the Dublin government (a group of professional illiterates) as ‘Siún’. So you will find this song referred to as ‘Siún Ní Dhuibhir’. Here are the words:

(Just because someone got it horribly wrong previously on the net (usually noted for its reliability, I’m sure), there’s no need to perpetuate the error.)

So “Siúbhán Ní Dhuibhir” is absolutely the right title for this song air.

Siúbhán Ní Dhuibhir. Not in Waltz Time.

It still astonishes me that there is a category for waltz (or polka) on this site, and yet none for slow air or song air, nor for march or highland. There is a category for three-two, a fine type of tune to be sure, but hardly deserving of its own category on an Irish music website when such a large proportion must go into a blatantly incorrect category.

And what time signature would you assign to the category “slow air” or “march”? As I understand it Highland’s are a Donegal style of tune similar to a strathspey so it is not entirely unreasonable to put them in the same group in ordeer to keep the number of groups down.

Correct Tune Categories

The point is that given that marches can be 6/8 2/4 or 4/4, and of course slow airs are not limited to a single time signature either. It’s simply not a good idea to insist that a tune category should always be limited to one time signature. Surely the database should have two separate parameters for “kind of tune” & “time signature”.

Highlands could perhaps be grouped along with Strathspeys (but there is no indication that this is where they should be placed). If you search for ‘highland’ in the database here, highlands are categorized variously under Strathspey, Reel, Hornpipe, and even Polka & Barndance. There was briefly a category for Highland, but this was removed, the excuse being that these tunes are ‘really’ reels or strathspeys! (i.e., that this category is wholly eliminable from Irish music!)

Categories for March and Slow Air, not limited to a single time signature, would obviously be a massive improvement on the current system, where these tunes have no place at all.

Marches can also be in 3/4 or 9/8 (and probably other time signatures I have forgotten).

I understand your point but I suppose Jeremy’s thinking in this is to make the system as simple to use as possible. Ultimately the more options you provide the more chances there are for people to muck up. Keeping it simple, it could be argued, reduces human error.

As far as slow airs are concerned it is expressed quite clearly that this website is for dance music. Slow airs are not dance music. If you are talking about specifically Irish slow airs as opposed to other traditions such as Scottish music then they can be near impossible to transcribe because the meter and note length is so fluid. Scottish airs tend to be more “structured” for want of a better word and fit more closely to particular time signatures. Many Irish airs are so fluid that transcribing them accurately can seem like a futile exercise.

Proper Categories

“Many Irish airs are so fluid that transcribing them accurately can seem like a futile exercise.”

Not at all! Slow airs in Ireland are not impossible to transcribe. They are no different to Scottish tunes in this respect. They always fall into a certain time signature. The fact that the drivel churned out by some contemporary Irish musicians who slaughter Irish airs (by breaking them up into bleating, rhythmless sequences of notes) is impossible to transcribe does not mean that the traditional song or tune cannot be accurately notated with bar lines and a time signature; (it just means that what masquerades as slow airs in their minds has little or no connection to traditional Irish music.) Traditional slow airs are played rubato, but they do have a definite rhythm. I’ve said more on this here:

Some Finnish music I’m familiar with has quite complex time signatures, switching time signatures every few bars (rather like a lot of 20th century classical music) and is played rubato. But it’s perfectly easy to put it into notation. Irish songs are never this complex in terms of their underlying rhythm, and time signatures are not a problem (despite the rotten rhythmless garbled playing that abounds these days).

“Ultimately the more options you provide the more chances there are for people to muck up. Keeping it simple, it could be argued, reduces human error.”

In fact, limiting the number of categories insures error. On the current system error is 100% guaranteed. As I said, highlands are being classified variously as strathspeys, reels, hornpipes, polkas and barndances. For marches, take your pick, they are never, ever correctly classified on the current system. And if Slow Airs are actually welcome they should be categorised correctly. And have a look at the comments on the Scots Measure “Bonny Highland Laddie” to see the confusion caused by having inadequate and inappropriate categories:

in the third-less hexatonic mode


Since no one has done it yet…

D’éirios ar maidin a tharraing
Chun aonaigh mhóir
A dhíol ’s a cheannacht
Mar dhéanfadh mo dhaoine romham
Do bhuail tart ar a’ bhealach mé
‘S do shuíosa síos a dh’ól
’S le Siún Ní Dhuibhir
Gur ól mise luach na mbróg

A Shiún Ní Dhuibhir
An miste leat mé bheith tinn?
Mo bhrón ’s mo mhilleadh
Má‘s miste liom thú ’bheigh i gcill
Bróinte ’s muilte bheith
Scileadh ar chúl do chinn
Ach cead a bheith in Iorras
Go dtara síoi Éabh ’un cinn

A Shiún Ní Dhuibhir
’S tú bun agus barr mo scéil
Ar mhná an cruinne
Go dtug sise ’n báire léi
Le gile le finne le mais’
Is le dhá dtrian scéimh
‘S nach mise ’n trua Mhuire
Bheith scaradh amárach léi

Thiar in Iorras tá searc
Agus grá mo chléibh
Planda ‘n linbh a d’eitigh
Mo phósadh inné
Beir scéala uaim chuicí
Má thug mise póg dá béal
Go dtabharfainn dí tuilleadh
Dá gcuirfeadh siad bólacht léi

"Beir scéala uaim chuige
Go dearfa nach bpósaim é
Ó chualasa gur chuir sé
Le bólacht mé
Nuair nach bhfuil agamsa
Maoin nó mórán spré
Bíodh a rogha aige
‘Gus mise ’r mo chomhairle féin"

Siubhan Ni Dhuibir, X:3

From ‘Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland (1995)’ by Tomas O Canainn, Ossian Publications Co. LTD, Cork.