Reel, D, Irish, attributed to Patrick Moloney
The Earl’s Chair is an elegant and sturdy tune that is very popular in session playing. As a D Major tune that doesn’t start or end on D, it serves as a good connector between other tunes in a set.
The composition of the tune is attributed to Patrick (“Pakie” or “Patto”) Moloney, of Woodford, East Galway, in the 1940s or 1950s. It is said to be named for a rock formation called Earl’s Chair, in Derrycrag Woods, County Galway, Ireland.
- Video – The Bloomers: Earl’s Chair / Frank’s Reel – played on flute and fiddle with guitar backing.
- Audio – Comhaltas: Earl’s Chair – session recording from the album Foinn Seisiún Volume 1
- Audio – Stephen Ducke: The Earl’s Chair (Reel) – played on tin whistle. From the book Irish Music – 400 Traditional tunes
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
Examples of sets that include this tune.
- The Earl’s Chair / Frank’s Reel
- The Silver Spear / The Earl’s Chair/ The Musical Priest
- The Earl’s Chair / Rolling In The Ryegrass / Palmer’s Gate
- The Earl’s Chair / The Pigeon On The Gate / The Four Kisses
- Jenny Picking Cockles / The Earl’s Chair
References and Resources
For those who want to dig deeper, here are some other resources.
- Video – Liz Carroll: The Silver Spear/The Earl’s Chair/The Musical Priest (Reels) from the album Lost in the Loop.
- Web page – The Session: The Earl’s Chair Reel – crowdsourced sheet music and information
- Lesson – MandoLessons: The Earl’s Chair – full mandolin lesson taught by Baron Collins-Hill. Taught by ear, with sheet music, tab, chords and play-along tracks. (Free, with option to contribute or purchase tracks.)
- Lesson – Kevin Burke: The Earl’s Chair – partial lesson for playing the tune on fiddle. Full lesson requires subscription to Fiddlevideo.
- Lessons – Online Academy of Irish Music: The Earl’s Chair – lessons for accompanying the tune on guitar and bouzouki; virtual pub-session and play-along tracks. (Requires subscription.)
- About the Earl’s Chair stone formation:
- Video – Martin Fahy Ballinakill Heritage: Local History Video No. 10. The Earl’s Chair. The Gamble Line. The Amber Neckace
- Blog post – Jason Keane: The Earl’s Chair in Derrybrien – a first-hand visitor’s description with photos.