The New Copperplate

Reel, G, Traditional Irish
Also known as: The Copperplate

The New Copperplate, Traditional Irish Reel.
Copyright 2022, Jonathan Lay

The New Copperplate is a traditional Irish reel that is popular in Irish session playing. It is often paired with another traditional reel, The Old Copperplate. By the curious routes of tune naming, both tunes are also called “The Copperplate.”

Copperplate is a printing process, hundreds of years old, in which a design is engraved into a sheet (plate) of copper. Ink is applied to the plate, and then the inked design is transferred to paper in a printing press. The term “copperplate” also refers to a handwriting style in calligraphy, and to a family of typefaces and fonts. All three of these forms of “copperplate” are still used by artisans today. The illustration for this page includes copperplate decoration and handwriting from the book The Universal Penman by George Bickham the Elder (1684–1758). It also contains modern fonts in the Copperplate typeface family. For more about copperplate, see the References and Resources section on this page.


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.

(See References and Resources below for sources of sheet music.)


Examples of sets that include this tune.

  • The Old Copperplate / The New Copperplate

References and Resources

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