Reel, Am, Traditional Irish
This tune is sometimes thought of as being in A minor, and sometimes as being in A Dorian. The difference is whether the tune has an F# or an F natural in it. This version of the tune does not include either an F# or an F natural, so its mode remains nicely ambiguous. That means that part of the tune can be harmonized with an F chord, as is done in the second half (B part) of the tune as it is arranged here. It also means that the melody can be played on either a C or G diatonic instrument (such as a tin whistle) without special fingering to achieve the sharped or natural F note. Many players prefer to savor this tune at a tempo slower than dance tempo. There is also quite a bit of variation among players as to how many times the A and B parts of the tune are repeated — in this arrangement each part is played twice. The sassy melodic variation in the second measure of the tune in this arrangement comes from the playing of John Weed and Stuart Mason.
- Video – Jens Kommnick, Brian O’Connor, Sabrina Palm & Ekhart Topp: Castle Kelly/The Mountain Road/The Pigeon On The Gate – at the 12th Irish Music Workshop Weekend in Bonn (Germany).
- Audio – Comhaltas: Castle Kelly from the album Foinn Seisiún Volume 2
- Audio – John Weed and Stuart Mason: Castle Kelley – from the album Slow & Easy Volume 2 by John Weed and Stuart Mason
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
Here is an alternative version of chords to accompany the tune.
Am – | Em – | Am G | Am – |
Am – | Em – | Am G | Am – |
Am G | Am G | Am Em | Am – |
Am G | Am G | Am G | Am – |
Examples of sets that include this tune.
- Father Kelly’s / Castle Kelly
- Castle Kelly / Humours Of Ballyconnell / The Duke Of Leinster
- Castle Kelly / The Mountain Road / The Pigeon On The Gate
- Chicago Reel / Castle Kelly / Humours of Ballyconnell
References and Resources
For those who want to dig deeper, here are some other resources.
- Video – Tulla Ceili Band: Castle Kelly/Humours Of Ballyconnell/The Duke Of Leinster (Reels) – from the album A Celebration of 50 Years by Tulla Ceili Band.
- Book – Learn to Play Irish Fiddle, by Tom Morley
- Book – Slow & Easy: 50 Irish Tunes by Mason and Weed – Book comes with 50 downloadable tracks (2 albums) of tunes played well and slowly on fiddle and DADGAD guitar.
- Book – Foinn Seisiún, Volume 2 — Irish session tune book. Published by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.
- Lessons – Online Academy of Irish Music — Lessons for Castle Kelly: melody on flute; accompaniment on guitar and bouzouki.
- Article: Dorian, Mixolydian, Oh My: Modes in a Nutshell, by Jonathan Lay, TrailJams