Jig, G, Traditional Irish
Also known as: Christmas Day in the Morning; The Boats Of Killaloe
“Munster Buttermilk,” “Christmas Day in the Morning,” and “The Boats of Killaloe” — three of its titles easily fit nicely into the rhythm of this cheerful Irish jig. In keeping with the general tangle of traditional tune names, there is at least one other tune that is titled “Munster Buttermilk,” a jig with the alternate title of “Behind the Haystack.”
Buttermilk, in its traditional form, is the cultured milk that remains after churning butter. Because it is cultured like yogurt, it keeps longer than pasteurized milk. While it can be used as a beverage, it is an essential ingredient in Irish soda bread and scones. In those breads, buttermilk is used with baking soda (soda bicarbonate) for leavening — while the soda bread or scones are baking the acidic buttermilk reacts with the alkali soda to make bubbles and cause the dough to rise. (See the References and Resources section below for a demonstration and explanation of making Irish soda bread.)
- Video – Comhaltas: Munster Buttermilk – session recording, from the album Foinn Seisiún 3
- Video – Fergal Scahill: Fergal Scahill’s fiddle tune a day 2017 – Day 161 – Munster Buttermilk – fiddle and piano
- Audio – Randal Bays and Joel Bernstein: The Trip to Athlone / Munster Buttermilk played on fiddle and harmonica; from the album Pigtown Fling. (Munster Buttermilk starts at time 1:39 in this recording. The tune was called “The Boats of Killaloe” in the original release of this album.)
Dots (Music Notation)
As always for traditional tunes, the musical notation and chords do not indicate the “right” way to play the tune, but are a useful reference.
Play from the Dots
Examples of sets that include this tune.
- Munster Buttermilk Jig Set: Munster Buttermilk (G) / The Mug of Brown Ale (A Dorian) / The Connaughtman’s Rambles (D)
- Mug of Brown Ale/Leg of the Duck/Munster Buttermilk
- The Battering Ram, The Munster Buttermilk
References and Resources
For those who want to dig deeper, here are some other resources.
- More recordings
- Audio – Comhaltas: Mug of Brown Ale/Leg of the Duck/Munster Buttermilk – session recording, from the album Foinn Seisiún 3
- Audio – Free Fiddle Lessons (Julia Plumb): Munster Buttermilk @ 108 bpm – played on fiddle. From the album Munster Buttermilk which has this tune played at different tempos, with and without harmony.
- Audio – Adam Agee & Jon Sousa: Coppers and Brass / Munster Buttermilk – from the album Ceol na gCarad. (Munster Buttermilk starts at time 1:59 in this recording.)
- Book – Comhaltas: Foinn Seisiún, Volume 3
- Book – The Portland Collection, Contra Dance Music in the Pacific Northwest, Volume 2, by Susan Songer with Clyde Curley.
- Lesson (video) – Julia Plumb (Free Fiddle Lessons): Munster Buttermilk – Free Fiddle Lesson – taught phrase by phrase on fiddle. Free Fiddle Lessons.
- Other resources
- Video – Ballymaloe Cookery School: Traditional Irish Soda Bread with Darina Allen – demonstration of making Irish soda bread using buttermilk and baking soda (soda bicarbonate) for leavening.
- Webpage – The Session: Munster Buttermilk (Jig) – crowdsourced sheet music, comments and more.
- Webpage – The Irish Traditional Music Tune Index: Tune ID#1373 (Munster Buttermilk)
- Munster Buttermilk in D Major
- Audio – Eric McDonald: Munster Buttermilk – from the album Rove
- Book – Grey Larsen: 150 Gems of Irish Music for Tin Whistle – in D Major, with audio tracks of the tunes played on tin whistle.