In the next several lessons I’m going to bring you various types of Irish tunes arranged for guitar, as well as gradually introduce Irish-style ornamentation that can be used to give your arrangements more of a traditional Irish feel.
Before we venture off to the world of jigs, reels, and hornpipes, we’ll start with some simple tunes based on traditional songs and airs. One of my favorite Irish songs, Buachaill On Eirne (Boy From Ireland), is often played on Irish uilleann pipes and I first learnt it from a book titled Learn to Play Uilleann Pipes with the Armagh Pipers Club by Eithne and H.B. Vallely. While this is a common tune that most Irish musicians will know, it is perhaps better known in it’s song form, sung in the Irish language. This beautiful song has been recorded many times, perhaps the most well known version is from Clanadd’s LP Macalla in 1985. Another popular recording is by The Corrs, who recorded Buachaill on Eirne on their CD Home, which was released in 2005.
This tune is typically played in the key of G, and though my arrangement is in the key of G, I’ve used a capo on the third fret, so it will sound in Bb. The entire arrangement stays in first position and should present little difficulty. While no ornaments have been notated, I normally use a few simple ornaments when I play it. I quickly arrpegiate some of the chords on the downbeats, usually the G chords. Another ornament I use is a hammer-on . One spot is in bar four, where I hammer on from the open D to the second fret E on the fifth string. Don’t fret (pun intended), I’ll be covering ornaments in detail in upcoming lessons.
I hope you enjoy learning this great Irish tune as much as I have…
Slán go fóill (goodbye for now).