The Musical Priest

Reel, Bm, Traditional Irish
TrailJams Tune of the Week for January 29, 2023; November 21, 2021

The Musical Priest, traditional Irish Reel, TrailJams Tune of the Week. Play it together January 29, 2023. Illustration copyright 2021-2023 Jonathan Lay.

This traditional Irish reel is a very popular session tune.

Two features of this tune set it apart from most traditional Irish reels. First, it is in the key of B minor, which is a fairly rare key for Irish tunes. Not difficult, just rare. B minor uses the notes of the D major scale, and this tune lays out well on whistles, concertinas, and fiddles. Second, this tune is a three-part single reel. So, rather than having the usual A and B parts, this tune has A, B, and C parts. But as a single reel, each part is short: each is four measures long rather than the more typical eight measures of a double reel. While the basic tune is fairly simple to play, it invites ornamentation and variation, as you will hear in the recordings.


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 and chords for The Musical Priest, traditional Irish Reel, Bm. Arranged by Jonathan Lay 11/16/2021.

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


Examples of sets that include this tune.

  • The Musical Priest / The Torn Jacket
  • The Musical Priest / Father Kelly’s / Castle Kelly
  • Musical Priest / Devanney’s Goat
  • Musical Priest / Sheehan’s / Star of Munster
  • Musical Priest / Sheehan’s / Merry Blacksmith
  • 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.