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Pipe tunes for the anglo

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Hi - just wondering if anyone likes playing pipe tunes on the Anglo? It's easy to see the piping origins of some tunes - and they fit the range well. For instance the reels  "The Old Bush" - "Boil the Breakfast Early" - "Within a Mile of Dublin" - "The Honeymoon" - "The Steampacket"  - "The Dublin reel (in D) -  they all seem very pipey to me... 

Any further "very pipey" tune suggestion would be appreciated - thanks.

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Hi Squeezymike,


Head over here:




for a complete listing of the contents of the book, which hopefully should give you loads of ideas.


There's also the book on the piping of Patsy Tuohy in the same vein.


Try looking up actual piping albums on TheSession . org, or IrishTune . info for tunes played by pipers.


I hope this helps.


Regards, John.

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Thanks John - I've got the Patsy Touhey - its a great book and recording - I actually started with a Seamus Ennis album about 25 years ago and have many pipe tunes that I play (including Scottish ones I learnt while living in the Northern Isles). 

Mine question was more of a general enquiry - I wanted to know if tina players were gravitating towards pipe tunes - and if you all have some favourites... (Sorry if the question was a bit vague..!)  Cheers Mike Fairbairn. 


BTW - I've just changed my user name - as I hadn't been on the site for years. Now I think its better to use just my actual name. Also - it says "new member" and I'm not!


Edited by Michael Fairbairn
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Hi Michael,


Here are a few of my all-time favourites. I am sure that you play most of them.



  1. Track 4 from Mick O'Brien's album the "May Morning Dew" : Bumper Squire Jones / An Sean Duine / O'Sullivan's March. (Actually anything from Mick O'Brien is excellent! ).
  2. When Sick is it Tea You Want / Slieve Russel / The Maid on the Green (1st two from Seamus Ennis, and the last one from Patsy Tuohey.) The first jig is very good for emulating the regulators, if you like that idea.
  3. The Pitchforks, i.e. The Rambling Pitchfork and the Sporting Pitchfork
  4. The Gold Ring
  5. The Wandering Minstrel



  1. Colonel Fraser,
  2. The West Wind,
  3. The Enchanted Lady and The Holy Land (these last two as a set),
  4. Corney is Coming / The Curragh Races / An Bhean Tincéara (the 3 part version) / Jenny Tie Your Bonnet
  5. Garret Barry's Reel / The Virginian / Miss McGuinness (the piping, possibly Tommy Reck, version)




I don't really go for the big ones, like the Groves, Johnny Cope, but there are some gorgeous piping hornpipes all the same.

  1. Higgin's
  2. The Green Island  / Spellan the Fiddler
  3. The Friendly Visit
  4. Kilcooley Wood
  5. Grogan's (from Mary Staunton's first album has recently started to be played by some pipers).
  6. Tuamgraney Castle


Pipes and concertina can be a gorgeous combination, and there does seem to be a trend towards playing piping tunes on the concertina. What I like to hear today also is that many pipers are tackling into concertina standards as well.


Regards, John.


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Thanks for all the suggestions - brilliant! I'd forgotten "The West Wind" and didn't know some of the others John suggested.

I've got a Mick O'Brien cd somewhere so I'll have to dig it out... I do play several of the tunes suggested - and particularly like the "Virginian" and "The Wandering Minstrel". 

Other pipe tunes I always seem to return to are "The Pipe on the Hob" (the D version jig, I got it from Kevin Rowsome's playing with the great band "Afterhours") and also "The Yellow Wattle" - another lovely modal jig.

Another possibly more rare pipe composed tune - again from "Afterhours" is the slip jig "The Regal Slip" composed by piper Thomas Lynch.

I got my version of the "Gold Ring" from the H C Clarke; "New Approach to Uilleann Piping" it's a great book with lots of tunes and tips on ornamentation - and lot's of pipe tunes of course! 

In Orkney I was lucky enough to hear the Highland pipes a lot - and got to know a piper who played the Irish pipes as well. He turned me on to Gordon Duncan and Hamish Moore amongst others. Some of the tunes I learnt were "The Spanish Piper" and The Celtic Matador" (jigs) and a four part D version of the "Moving Cloud" which is great on the concertina... 

Also "The Fun Dog" which is a brilliant 4 part reel, and "Malts on the Optics" - (The have some great titles up North). 


Thanks everyone for the suggestions and I'll check out those Northumbrian tunes as well - plus that "Because He Was a Bonnie Lad".  Cheers Mike. 


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The Virginian



Virginia (see the Martin Talty/ Willie Clancy tape: Virgin--nyaaah..). Not necessarily a Co Cavan tune though.


Not sure every tune here, despite being played on the pipes, should automatically be classed as a piping tune, quite a few mentioned above were  composed by fiddlers, for example. But what do I know. And it doesn't really matter, a good tune is a good tune.

Edited by Peter Laban
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I have an arrangement of The Siege of Delhi in my pipeline - I understand it's one of the first tunes a piper ever learns. Melodeonists have a number of different arrangements. Here's one I like in particular:




I'm sure it'll sound great on a tina as well.


Edited to add: You should definitely check with Alex Wade, she's got a lot of Northumbrian pipe tunes in her repertoire. I salvaged an arrangement of Herd on the Hill/Winshield's Hornpipe from a session week with her onto my soundcloud presence.


Edited by RAc
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It was, I did a full transcription of his playing of the tune for An Piobaire a long time ago. He did closely follow Coleman's variations though in a lot of places.  And I did notice you slipped a fair few of his tunes into your list of recommendations 😉


But all this raises the question what makes a piping tune. Reck's version of 'Higgin's' is classic and many pipers play it, myself included. Yet his setting is very close to how James Hill composed it(as 'The Cliff') without much 'piperising' of it.


Here's bit of a happy memory from long ago:


l to r: Geoff Wooff, Tommy Reck, Peter Laban



Edited by Peter Laban
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I was very lucky to get a copy of a C90 cassette tape of Tommy Reck playing at home. This would have been in the late 70's or early 80's. It was a first generation copy of a reel to reel recording, which the late Seán Reid had made of Tommy Reck.


Have you heard the version of "Higgins's" / "The Cliff", as played by Frankie Gavin. He introduces a one-note change in the first part of the tune, and the part has a completely different feel to it. I'll post a clip of the abc's for the first two bars in a few minutes. The note in question is the first note in the 2nd group of 4 notes in the first bar.

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I was very lucky to get a copy of a C90 cassette tape of Tommy Reck playing at home. This would have been in the late 70's or early 80's.



That was recorded by Peter O'Loughlin but it was during the 60s.  Work is being done on making Tommy's music more widely available.

Edited by Peter Laban
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