Tam Lin

Reel, D Minor, by Davey Arthur
TrailJams Tune of the Week for August 12, 2021

This tune was written by Davey Arthur in about 1974, and he gave it the title Tamlin. It has spread widely since then, and it goes by several names including Tam Lin, The Glasgow Reel, and The Howling Wind. If you are not playing it for dancers, it also sounds great at a tempo of about 85 beats per minute — adjust that to your taste.

In the ballads of Tam Lin, to break the spell that the Queen of the Faeries had put on Tam Lin, his lover had to hold him in her arms while he turned into a series of dangerous beasts, including a snake and a lion. After several terrifying changes he turned into a man and the spell was broken.

Recordings

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. Here is a transcription of one of the many variations of Davey Arthur’s tune.

Play from the Dots
Slow tempo 65bpm
Moderate tempo 85bpm

Suggested Sets

Companion tunes and sequences that work well for this tune.

References and Resources

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