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The Morning Thrush - Seamus Ennis
00:00 / 00:00

This mighty 3-part reel was composed by James Ennis, father of legendary piper and tune collector Seamus Ennis. James was inspired by the call of a bird that he heard each morning. Seamus gives some background to the tune in the recording above, and starts playing around 00:45. Please note that Seamus famously played his Coyle set of pipes pitched more or less in C, and I've shifted this up slightly to be in D. Hope that's not sacrilege.


There are four common species of thrush in Ireland: the Song Thrush, the Mistle Thrush, the Fieldfare, and the Redwing. The titular bird is probably the Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) or in Irish "Smólach ceoil." Step aside, John McCormack—the Song Thrush is regarded as one of Ireland’s finest singers. A key voice in the acclaimed “Dawn Chorus”, this attractive speckled thrush is a familiar sight in many Irish gardens.


Here's a recording of a Song Thrush at work:

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) - Ir: Smólach ceoil
00:00 / 00:00

The sheet music setting on this page is from Pat Wilcox's transcription of the playing of Brian McGrath (banjo).


T: Morning Thrush, The

C: James Ennis

R: Reel

M: 4/4

S: Brian McGrath (banjo) 2019 workshop, transcibed by Pat Wilcox. This tune

S: was composed by Seamus Ennis' father, inspired by birdsong.

K: D

|: ag | (3fgf ef d2 AF | dAAF Agfe | d2 AF DF (3FFF | ABdf egfe | 

d2 AF dFAF | BAFA dDDE | FDFA defa | afef d2 :|

|: BA | dffe faaf | gage fgfe | dffe faaf | gefd edBA | 

dffe faaf | bfaf fedB | ADFA defa | afef d2 :|

|: BA | d2 A[Fd] BFAF | (3DDD BF ADFA | dFFE (3FFF BF | ABdf egfe | 

d2 AF DF (3FFF | AdFd DGBG | ABde fagb | afef d2 :|

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