Miss McLeod’s Reel

Reel, G, traditional Irish, Scottish, American
Also known as Miss McCleod; Hop High Ladies
TrailJams Tune of the Week for January 16, 2022; August 13, 2023

Miss McLeod's Reel. Traditional Irish reel. TrailJams Tune of the Week. Play it together August 13, 2023. Illustration copyright 2022, 2023 Jonathan Lay. trailjams.org

This tune is woven into the musical traditions of Scotland, Ireland, and America. It seems to have originated in Scotland, where it is sometimes called Mrs. MacLeod’s. From there it travelled to Ireland, and somewhere along the line it emerged in American old-time music. As a tune, it is typically played in the keys of A or G. Concertina players much prefer G. As a song, it has many versions of lyrics, and the custom of making up new lyrics for it seems to be part of its heritage. The phrase “hop high ladies” is the most consistent part of its lyrics. Having travelled so far, the tune and song both go by many names, including “Mrs. MacLeod of Raasay,” “Miss McLeod,” “Uncle Joe,” and, of course “Hop High Ladies.”


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. The version here is simplified and unornamented – explore the recordings, lessons, and other resources listed on this page for ideas to add richness and variation to the tune on your instrument.

Sheet music and chords for Miss McLeod's Reel (Hop High Ladies) in G major. Arrangement: Jonathan Lay. trailjams.org
Play from the Dots
Very slow tempo 45bpm
Slow tempo 65bpm
Moderate tempo 85bpm


Examples of sets that include this tune.

References and Resources

For those who want to dig deeper, here are some other resources.