The Earl’s Chair

Reel, D, Irish, attributed to Patrick Moloney

TrailJams Tune of the Week. The Earl's Chair. Irish Reel. Play it together January 15, 2023. Illustration copyright 2023 Jonathan Lay.

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. The tune is said to be named for a rock formation called Earl’s Chair, in Derrycrag Woods, County Galway, Ireland.


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.

Sheet music for The Earl's Chair. Traditional Irish Reel. D Major. Arr. Jonathan Lay 5/2/2022. Chords for The Earl's Chair.

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


Examples of sets that include this tune.

  • The Earl’s Chair / Frank’s Reel
  • 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
  • Silver Chair Reel Set: The Silver Spear (D) / The Earl’s Chair (D) / The Musical Priest (Bm)

References and Resources

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