Reel, E Dorian, Traditional Irish
In its many versions and under many titles, this tune is among the most popular of traditional Irish reels. Over its long life it has been under the feet of thousands of dancers, under the fingers of thousands of musicians, and in the ears of thousands – or millions – of listeners. In the ornamentation of the tune, you can sometimes imagine the low stuttering coo of a pigeon.
- Audio – Kevin Burke & Cal Scott – Pigeon on the Gate – Lafferty’s Reel – The Morning Dew – fiddle with guitar. From the album Roots & Branches, Volume 1 (Northwest Folklife Festival, Seattle, Washington, 2009). Also available as video.
- Video – Comhaltas: Pigeon On the Gate – session recording, from the album Foinn Seisiún 3
- Video – George Penk, Clyde Curley & Susan Songer: Pigeon on the Gate/The Derry Reel/MacArthur Road – from the album A Portland Selection 2: Contra Dance Music in the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon, USA)
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.
- Lafferty’s Pigeon Reel Set: Pigeon on the Gate (E Dorian) / The Glen of Aherlow (Lafferty’s Reel) E Dorian
- Pigeon on the Gate / Cooley’s / Musical Priest
- Paddy Fahy’s / Pigeon on the Gate
- Pigeon on the Gate / Lafferty’s Reel / The Morning Dew
References and Resources
For those who want to dig deeper, here are some other resources.
- More Recordings
- Video – Shane Farrell (Traditional Irish Music): The Pigeon on the Gate Reel – played on tenor banjo
- Video – John Whelan: Pigeon on the Gate – from the album Pride of Wexford (1974)
- Video – Charles Monod (Tunes From Doolin): Pigeon On The Gate – played on concertina
- Audio – Tommy Hayes: Pigeon On The Gate / The Copper Plate / Callaghans – played on whistle and bodhran. From the album A Room in the North. (Pigeon on the Gate played in G Minor.)
- Audio – Theresa O’Grady: Reels – The Pigeon on the Gate, Cooley’s, Glen of Aherlow – played on tenor banjo. From the album BANJO’ista. (Played in D Minor.)
- Book & Audio – Matt & Shannon Heaton: In Harmony
- Book & Audio – Dave Mallinson: 100 Essential Irish Session Tunes
- 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 – Shannon Heaton: Pigeon on the Gate [Reel] – Tune of the Month with Shannon Heaton – video with phrase-by-phrase lesson on flute
- Additional Resources
- Article – Jonathan Lay (TrailJams): Dorian, Mixolydian, Oh My: Modes in a Nutshell
- Website – Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Rock Pigeon Sounds – recordings of pigeon calls and sounds
- Webpage – The Session: The Pigeon on the Gate (Reel) – community sourced sheet music, comments and more.
- Webpage – irishtune.info: Pigeon on the Gate – archival information about the tune, curated by Alan Ng.