Fairy Dance Harmony Parts Fiddle Arrangement

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Also appears in Celtic Fiddle Harmony Sheet Music Multipack 1

Key: G major
Melody range: D4 up to A5
Harmony 1 range: D4 up to B5
Harmony 2 range: G3 up to D5

(Pitch ranges are specified in Scientific pitch notation)

Also included: MIDI files, and "practise mixes" which are recordings with the harmony parts turned louder up the mix and the tune and chords turned down - these are to help people who prefer to learn by ear.

About the Arrangement and Harmonies

This setting of 'Fairy Dance' is in G major, and has two harmony parts - one high harmony (which fits on flute, D whistle, descant recorder etc. as well as violin) and one low harmony. The two harmony parts can be played separately to accompany the melody in duets, or used both together in a trio. In a folk band or fiddle group, you can build up the harmony parts gradually to form a longer arrangement, or use them any other way you like. The sheet music also includes chords for an accompanist to play.

As well as the original folk melody, there's a new section composed by me, again in three part harmony. This section - a middle eight - is to give the music a 'lift' in the middle of an arrangement in which the orignal melody is repeated several times.

Another way to make this tune more interesting in an arrangement is to add another tune straight after it - often this is done using a tune in the same time signature and speed, so in this case, a reel (fast 4/4). You can select another tune to go with this one from my 'sheet music by type' page - just check out the 'reels' section, have a listen and see which you like the best.

However, you don't have to just pick from reels - you could completely change the feel and go into a jig or slipjig afterwards if you prefer!

About the Original Melody

This tune is believed to be an old tune of Scottish origin, and is sometimes attributed to Niel Gow, although it's a matter of debate whether or not he composed it or collected it and published the notation. (I guess this will forever remain impossible to find out, so I'm not going to worry about it too much.) It appears in Gow's Original Collection, and is a popular session tune.

As well as 'Fairy Dance' it is known by a whole bunch of other names (some of which are obvious variations on Fairy Dance, others not so much): Arrane Queeyl-Nieuee, Car Ny Ferrishyn, Daunse Ny Ferrishyn, Dawns Y Tylwyth Teg, Faeries’, The Faire’s, The Fairies’ Dance, Fairy, The Fairy, Gows, Largo’s Fairy Dance, Old Molly Hare, Quick Scotch, Snieu Queeyl Snieu, Snieu, Wheeyl, Snieu, Snieue-Queeyl-Snieue... and probably some others I don't know about, by the look of things.

It's now considered not only Scottish, but Irish (it appears in O'Neill's Music of Ireland), and Manx. ('Arrane Queeyl-Nieuee' and 'Car ny Ferrishyn' are its Manx names).