The Swallowtail Jig

It is presumed that The Swallowtail Jig was written in the middle of the Nineteenth Century and came to America with the Irish migrant caravan of that era. It is also known as The Dancingmaster and both names come from the men’s coat that forks in the back like the tail of the swallow.   HereContinue reading “The Swallowtail Jig”

Tripping Up The Stairs

I’d like to admit up front that this was a perfectly fine tune when I met it and it wasn’t hurting anybody. I learned it as “Tripping Up The Stairs” from Bucky Reed’s excellent site for people interested in learning how to play such things. The tabs from his site are below the video ifContinue reading “Tripping Up The Stairs”

Miserere

They don’t write ’em like this anymore. Probably for good reason, but that doesn’t take anything away from the genius behind this piece of music from the 1630s. It was written for a four-person choir and a five-person choir to sing together. At one time it was an offense punishable by excommunication to transcribe itContinue reading “Miserere”

The Parting Glass

The lyrics to this song date back to at least the early 1600s. The melody came a century or so later. It’s usually played at the end of the night as a farewell song.William Christie, who compiled two volumes of Traditional Ballad Airs, wrote in 1876 that The Parting Glass was still the last playedContinue reading “The Parting Glass”