Learn Traditional Irish Music on Guitar


  • Lesson 90. Thousand Farewells

    Lesson 90. Thousand Farewells

    23/08/2014 Duração: 08min

      Occasionally Tony will pick up a tune that just seems to feel so natural to play, so easy on the fingers, it rolls off the musical tongue so to speak. This is one of those tunes. It’s eerie but it’s as if Ryan composed this for guitar. It’s the perfect range for the guitar, played between a Low A and the A two octaves above, there’s plenty of space between the notes, no high B to “fret” over, and a busy chord progression to play with.

  • Lesson 89. Shoemakers Daughter

    Lesson 89. Shoemaker's Daughter

    16/08/2014 Duração: 08min

    “Shoemaker’s Daughter” is a composition of legendary Cavan fiddler Ed Reavy (1897-1988). The A Part of this tune is played in a G Mixolydian Mode, whilst the B Part is in G Major. Transcriptions in Irish music of tunes that change to different modes that retain the same Tonic Note often, mistakenly, use the same key signature.

  • Lesson 88. Scatter the Mud

    Lesson 88. Scatter the Mud

    09/08/2014 Duração: 09min

      “Scatter The Mud” is a tune sometimes played in E Minor but this version is in the more common A Minor (Dorian mode). Tony has arranged this version for Open A tuning (EAC#EAE) but we have included a version in standard tuning for those who wish to stick with the standard tuning.

  • Lesson 87. St Patricks Day

    Lesson 87. St Patricks' Day

    02/08/2014 Duração: 07min

    The tune is in jig time (6/8) but is a set dance and is played considerably slower than normal jig tempo. However, other than tempo, all the “rules” that apply to jigs apply to this tune.

  • Lesson 86. Saddle the Pony

    Lesson 86. Saddle the Pony

    26/07/2014 Duração: 12min

    A very well known tune, so much so that it is played by musicians outside of the Irish music genre. the standard key is G, but Tony transposed it to A Major on the banjo, then started playing it on the guitar in Open A major tuning and came up with this arrangement. The book also includes a version in standard tuning for those who don’t want to get involved with Open A at this point in time. Open A tuning is E A C# E A E, from lowest to highest pitch.

  • Lesson 85. ORourkes

    Lesson 85. O'Rourke's

    19/07/2014 Duração: 09min

    As much as Tony would like to claim credit for this composition it’s not his to claim. This tune was in circulation a long time ago. This tune is normally played in A mixolydian so you will need to capo on the second fret.

  • Lesson 84. Forget Me Not

    Lesson 84. Forget Me Not

    13/07/2014 Duração: 09min

    Some musicians play this tune in C, others in D. Tony plays it in D on the banjo but in C on the guitar. For this lesson the capo is on 2, thus it’s in D. In the podcast, Tony talks about the importance of listening to other versions of any tune you are learning.

  • Lesson 83. OCarolans Receipt for Drinking

    Lesson 83. O'Carolan's Receipt for Drinking

    05/07/2014 Duração: 08min

    This tune is sometimes known as “Dr. John Stafford”. The tune begins on a C chord. For the accompaniment Tony plays and holds a bass note and then, instead of a full chord, he plays the notes of a chord individually.

  • Lesson 82. Mullingar Races

    Lesson 82. Mullingar Races

    05/07/2014 Duração: 09min

    Tony describes how to play a triplet on the lower (thicker) strings when describing how to play this reel.

  • Lesson 81. Máire Rua

    Lesson 81. Máire Rua

    21/06/2014 Duração: 07min

      Máire Rua, translated as “Red Haired Mary”, is a slip jig in G. The B Part of the tune moves into a D Mixolydian mode but as this mode contains the same notes as G Major, that is one sharp (F#), there is no need to change the key signature. The tune moves back to G Major for the last bar of the tunes, which is in fact identical to the last bar of Part A. Tony often pairs this tune with a slip jig we looked at in Lesson 16, Na Ceannabháin Bhána.

  • Lesson 80. Garden of Daisies

    Lesson 80. Garden of Daisies

    14/06/2014 Duração: 09min

    The Garden Of Daisies is a set dance and is played in hornpipe time, but somewhat slower than your average hornpipe. Note that the tempo on the recording of Marie Walsh is the correct tempo for tunes of this type.

  • Lesson 79. Coalminers Reel

    Lesson 79. Coalminer's Reel

    07/06/2014 Duração: 12min

    Here we have a tune in Open A (although in the book you'll also find a version in regular tuning.) The Open A tuning Tony uses is, from the lowest string to the highest: E A C# E A E.

  • Lesson 78. Castlebar Races, and Mouse in the Mug

    Lesson 78. Castlebar Races, and Mouse in the Mug

    01/06/2014 Duração: 12min

    These two tunes are both in G Major and coincidentally have the same three notes at the beginning. The first part of Castlebar Races is played in open position, the second part almost entirely in third position; that is the first finger is positioned at the third fret. It is also used to play any F# notes (2nd fret, 1st string). Where you have consecutive F# / G notes use your first finger for both.   For Mouse In The Mug you’ll find something similar. The first part of the tune is open position. For the second part of the tune Tony has written it out as a 16 bar section with no repeats. The first twelve bars of this section can be played in third position, using your first finger playing any notes occurring on the second fret of 1st string (F#) and 3rd string (A) and then reverting to open position for the last four bars. In fact the last four bars of the tune are identical to the last four bars of the first section.

  • Lesson 77. McFaddens Handsome Daughter

    Lesson 77. McFadden's Handsome Daughter

    24/05/2014 Duração: 09min

    McFadden’s Handsome Daughter is an A Major tune but for the guitar Tony plays it in G with capo on the 2nd fret. The tune is a composition of John McFadden (1847-1913).    

  • Lesson 76. Kid on the Mountain

    Lesson 76. Kid on the Mountain

    17/05/2014 Duração: 10min

    This slip jig moves between E Minor and G Major. The E Minor parts of the tune use the Natural Minor Scale rather than the Dorian Mode.

  • Lesson 75. Crossing the Shannon

    Lesson 75. Crossing the Shannon

    10/05/2014 Duração: 10min

    This tune is sometimes known as “The Funny Reel” and is played in D. On the guitar Tony plays it in C with the capo on the 2nd fret.

  • Lesson 74. Boys of the Town

    Lesson 74. Boys of the Town

    03/05/2014 Duração: 11min

    There is at least one other jig known as “Boys Of The Town”, starting on a high G (3rd fret, 1st string). But this “Boys of the Town” starts on a middle G (open 3rd string). The two tunes are quite different and in no way related.

  • Lesson 73. An tAthair Jack Walsh

    Lesson 73. An t'Athair Jack Walsh

    28/04/2014 Duração: 09min

    “Athair” is the Irish word for “father”, and the Anglicized title “Fr. Jack Walsh” is often used as the title for this tune, as is “Tatter Jack Walsh”.   The tune is played in the D mixolydian mode and thus contains the same notes as a G Major scale. A cursory glance at the chords used in the sheet music should alert you to this. The two main chords used are D and C and this combination in a “D” tune invariably tells you it’s mixolydian. The key signature is one sharp (F#). If I used two sharps (F# and C#) then there would be natural signs used for the C notes occurring in the tune. Some tune books incorrectly notate the tune this way. Tony’s old copy of that excellent small collection “Allan’s Irish Fiddler” has it in D Major with natural signs for the C. Although the transcription still ends up with the same notes it is not very good “musical grammar”. There are two accidentals in the tune, both in the last bar of each section. In fact the last three bars of each section are identical.

  • Lesson 72. Yellow Tinker

    Lesson 72. Yellow Tinker

    12/02/2012 Duração: 06min

    The “Yellow Tinker” is a tune in the G mixolydian mode. In other words the scale used is a C Scale but played in the key of G. The tune is associated with the playing of Galway accordionist Joe Burke , and perhaps because of Burke, it is very popular and widely played. The first and third parts of the tune are almost pure mixolydian, whilst the second part of the tune is almost pure G Major, although Tony didn’t alter the key signature for the second part, despite there being an argument for doing so. Overall he just felt it was more convenient to leave t A distinguishing feature of the Mixolydian mode is that the chord progression typically consists of G chords and F chords. With the small exception of the C chord in bar 20, the entire tune is a three-chord wonder, but the chords are G, D, and F (not G, D, and C).  

  • Lesson 71. Swedish Jig (or Arthur Darleys)

    Lesson 71. Swedish Jig (or Arthur Darley's)

    05/02/2012 Duração: 10min

    The “Swedish Jig", sometimes known as Arthur Darley’s, is a most unusual tune. In the first part of the tune a time signature change occurs in bar 7 from the standard 6/8 to a 9/8, just for one bar, before reverting back to 6/8. In effect you play an extra half a bar. Also the first part consists of 12 bars rather than the standard eight. The A part is in D Major, but changes to D Minor for the second part, and then back to D Major for the third part. Both the second and third parts have 8 bars. The chords are D, A, G, Dm, A7 and Gm.

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