Pigeon on the Gate

Reel, E Dorian, Traditional Irish

Pigeon on the Gate. TrailJams Tune of the Week. Play it together November 12, 2023. Illustration copyright 2023 Jonathan Lay. trailjams.org

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.


Sheet Music

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.

Sheet music with chords for Pigeon on the Gate, traditional Irish reel in E Dorian. Arrangement by 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.