Irish Folk Songs

I am known to be very proud of the Irish blood running in me. Of the tunes my right hand can pick up by ear on the piano, many are Irish folk songs, and I often tell myself that listening to such songs has got to be one of the better ways to spend time I've ever come across.

I'm a fan since childhood of The Dubliners (thanks, Dad!) and with "Finnegan's Wake" you have my first arrangement of an ageless classic. I learned a whole lot while putting this song together, notably how a guitar works. The guitar part is very simple for now, but I'm just learning. Hopefully someday I'll even get brave and add good old dad's banjo part, but for now, it's just a guitar and a tin whistle.

"Spancil Hill" is another traditional song, but this is one I didn't hear until only a couple of years ago. The MIDI file I created for it has not yet been corrected verse by verse for the extra or omitted syllables in the lines. Rather, each of the five verses is currently a simple repetition of the first. The song's sad tale never fails to get me, and I hope I've done a good enough job with the MIDI file that it might get you too. Again, the simple guitar chords should be a quick-picked banjo, but it works nearly as well as it is.

"The Rising of the Moon" is my third Irish song transcription. I chose this one because it was one in the morning but I felt like doing something other than going to bed. This song is essentially the same eight bars repeated with slight variations, so it was very quick to put together. Again, I've so far braved nothing more than the melody and an overly simple guitar accompaniment.

"The Spanish Lady" is a very catchy upbeat tune and I sequenced it rather quickly. Once again, it's all melody (in this case, a piccolo) and simple guitar line....

"The Rocky Road to Dublin" is a terror to sing and a joy to hear. One of the Dubliner's showpiece songs, this addicting song is a favorite with fiddlers and pipers. This rendition is the first to which I added a fiddle part -- it simply carries the melody an octave below the pipe, but until I get time to "fiddle" with it, it works. One good thing is that the guitar accompaniment I gave it, while still simple, is at least a little more in step with the music. A fine version of this song is available on the self-titled album from Gaelic Storm, the pub band who appeared as the steerage band in the movie Titanic. It was also sung as the marching song by the boys in the movie War of the Buttons.

"The Wild Rover" is perhaps the most famous Irish folk song. One night I sequenced a whole bunch of songs, and this was one of them. A long time later, I decided to finish up one of them, and this was the one I chose.