Foxhunter’s Reel / Bucks of Oranmore / High Reel

One of the wonderful things about being in Charlottesville is that we’ve had some fabulous musicians come to town, both for concerts, and sometimes, when we’re lucky, to stay awhile. Our most recent example is Brock Napierkowski, who arrived here from Cincinnati with his wife who is pursuing an advanced degree at UVa. Brock was an instructor at The Riley School of Irish Music in Cincinnati. Brock will be joining BRIMS as an instructor this Fall and also leads the BRIMS monthly sessions at C’ville Coffee.

After last week’s session, Brock sent me an email requesting that I post some information on a few tunes. So here’s his email (with a few adjustments for viewing):

The Foxhunter’s and the Bucks are two of the most well known high energy reels in the common repertoire. They always please the crowd and should generally not be played too early in the evening.

The Foxhunter’s we played in G and that is the preferred key for non-fiddle players, especially flute. Great examples:
A great stately accordion version by Joe Cormican
A version with real ‘swing’ by the Tulla Ceili Band with Martin Hayes @ 1:27
I would also highly recommend Seamus Ennis, Peter Horan, David Power, Mikie Smyth, Michael Coleman, etc.

Foxhunter’s Reel Notation and Discography:
Foxhunter’s Key of G
More discography from

Fiddle players like it in A as it is easier to get around and show off due to all of the open strings.
Great example of that kind of playing from Frankie Gavin
A more stripped down version from Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh
A version in A with box
Another tasty fiddle version in A by Rob Zielinski

The Bucks was made popular largely due to pipers and please listen to an early version of the tune before anything else. Unfortunately, the Seamus Ennis version on youtube is not his best and he seems to be really nervous or drunk or both. Here is a far superior version of his treatment. Also see his version on ‘return to fingal’

Bucks of Oranmore Notation and Discography:
Bucks of Oranmore Key of D
More discography from

Great session with two box players leading! version starts at 1:38 (note the crowd’s reaction)

Also I highly recommend Joe Cooley on the ‘cooley’ recording for box

Matt Molloy’s

Fiddle version played tuned down in C with that ‘modern sound’ (alot of chords, syncopation, etc.)

Paddy Keenan at 4:02
Paddy Keenan at 1:32 – this performance is a reiteration of the famous bothy band live in Dublin performance that literally brought the house down, but I can’t find that right now.

The High Reel is in A and another fairly easy high energy reel:
A whole band of banjos including John Carty! @ 1:58
The Cunninghams play it SUPER fast @ 2:05

The High Reel Notation and Discography:
High Reel (Key of A)
More discography from

My absolute favorite version of this tune is on the 1967 Paddy in the Smoke, which you can borrow from BRIMS.

Hope this helps and have fun!

Tarbolton / The Longford Collector / The Sailor’s Bonnet

I have several posts in mind to enter before classes get underway again this Fall. Here is the first which I’ve been meaning to put on here for a long time and was recently reminded to do so at the local BRIMS session (first Thursdays at 7pm at C’ville Coffee). All you fiddle players should work toward having this classic Michael Coleman set of reels in your repertoire.

Listen to the Set as Played by Michael Coleman

Notation Links:
Tarbolton Key of Em
The Longford Collector Key of G
The Sailor’s Bonnet Key of D

Please note that at least on some browsers, pointing directly to the link of the tune doesn’t work too well, so I am now pointing to the general information on the tune on which does have the added benefit of easily viewing the key signature, comments, etc., but you will have to click on the “sheetmusic” link at the top of the screen to see the notation.