This week I’d like to share the latest in my series of Irish fingerstyle guitar arrangements. This one is a classic Irish reel in E dorian (that’s E minor with the 6th raised to a C# to you non-folky types!). It features in my latest book, Irish Tunes for Fingerstyle Guitar which is now out! The book contains ten classic Irish folk tunes arranged for fingerstyle guitar and comes with a complete guide to all the shapes used, fingering and music theory along with a short section covering each tune’s origins. You can buy it now in both e-book or paperback formats by clicking here.
Here’s a great clip of the amazing Kevin Burke playing Cooley’s Reel, with a free fiddle tutorial too!
There are various stories about the origins of Cooley’s Reel- a pretty interesting list of possibilities can be found the TuneArch Wiki. It is certainly a commonly played Irish session tune and as it has no strongly defined chord outline in its melody you can have a lot of fun accompanying it with all sorts of different chord progressions. The 6th note doesn’t actually appear in the tune as it’s commonly played. This means you can experiment with treating it as being in either E dorian (with a C# diminished chord) or E aeolian (with a C major). If the previous sentence was complete gobbledegook to you, I have demonstrated this unusual technique along with a full beginners’ guide to all the music theory involved in my e-book. Click here to check it out!
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Tab (download the PDF here):