Hornpipe, D Dorian, Irish Traditional
TrailJams Tune of the Week for June 17, 2021
There are two traditional tunes that go by the name of “The Peacock’s Feather.” One is in a minor key (Dorian mode), the other is in a major key. This tune, The Peacock’s Feather #1, is the minor key tune, called #1 (apparently) because the two tunes have been recorded together several times, with this one being first.
Dots (Music Notation)
The Traditional tune is transcribed here in D Dorian. (D Dorian: same key signature as C Major, resolves to Dm chord and D note. Sometimes called “modal minor.”) This version is transcribed (and simplified) from the playing of Katherine Liley and Martin MacDonald; Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn. The tune changes from D Dorian to D Major in the first 2 measures of the B part. 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
Companion tunes and sequences that work well for this tune.
- The Peacock’s Feather #1 (D Dorian) / The Peacock’s Feather #2 (D)
References and Resources
For those that want to dig deeper, here are some other resources.
- Video: The Peacock’s Feathers, played by Katherine Liley and Martin Macdonald This is a very clear video of fiddle and guitar, played at a moderate tempo for the sake of learning the tune.
- Audio: Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn: Peacock’s Feather (Hornpipe) – from the album Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn (Masters of Irish Music). The pitch of this recording puts the tonic at D#/Eb, which makes it a bit awkward to work with. The recording includes The Peacock’s Feather #1 and #2.
- Video: Mandolin tunes. The Peacock’s Feather (Irish Hornpipe)
- Dots: The Peacock’s Feather (Hornpipe) in E Dorian, provided by McDermott’s Handy, who says: “I’ve also heard this tune played in A minor and D minor. But in A minor it doesn’t lead well in to the second tune, and in D minor it doesn’t sit well on my flute!”
- Dots: The Traditional Tune Archive, Peacock’s Feather (1) The last two settings on the page are in D Dorian. Be suspicious of the accidentals (sharps), since they are not in the D Dorian scale.
- Dots: Henrik Norbeck’s ABC Tunes, The Peacock’s Feather
- Article: Dorian, Mixolydian, Oh My: Modes in a Nutshell, by Jonathan Lay, TrailJams