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Irish Traditional Music Tune Index
Tune ID#1890 (Three Little Drummers)

Transcription of first 2 bars of Three Little Drummers about these two bars
These two bars were transcribed by me from how this tune was played – the first time through – on the recording MG (details in the Discography below).
Basic musical information on this tune.
Rhythm ?Bars8-bar phrase structureMode ?
Double jig32AABBA Dorian
Titles ? given to this tune in the sources listed below (plus notes of mine about this tune):
Three Little Drummers, The / The Little Drummers / The Tenpenny Bit / Up Sligo / Cock in the Heath / The Geese in the Bog / The Humours of Duagh / The Jolly Old Wife / Spirits of Whiskey / Billy's Awake (2nd in set The Rocks of Bawn on WW 2) (also in E, also with an extra part either between 1st and 2nd parts or instead of the 2nd part) (compare Matt Teahan's Delight included here)

cd Discography

Here are all recordings of this tune considering only the indexed recordings. I have discovered by careful listening that these sources are in fact musically the same tune, regardless of the tune titles they use, key changes, retuning, etc.

Click play to hear the first 12 seconds.
Year
Recorded
Track
#Tune?
[Album code] Artist. Title. Performers (instruments). Go to album
191810#1
[JKm] John J. Kimmel. John J. Kimmel. Early Recordings of Irish Traditional Dance Music. John J. Kimmel (accordion).
Go to Album
~191923#1
[PT] Patsy Touhey. The Piping of Patsy Touhey. Patsy Touhey (pipes). For this tune: (C# pipes).
Go to Album
192615#2
[WW 2] The Wheels of the World. Early Irish-American Music. Classic Recordings from the 1920s and 1930s. Vol. 2. Frank Quinn (fiddle), Joe Maguire (accordion).
Go to Album
19264#2
[MG] Milestone at the Garden. Irish Fiddle Masters from the 78 RPM Era. Frank Quinn (fiddle).
Go to Album
~19734#2
[JJK] John and James Kelly with Michael Crehan and Michael Gavin. Irish Traditional Fiddle Music. James Kelly (fiddle), John Kelly (fiddle).
Go to Album

Bibliography

Here are all transcriptions of this tune considering only the indexed books, listed in chronological order. I have discovered by careful comparison that these are very similar to this tune as played on the recordings listed above.

Listing of published transcriptions of this tune.
As tune #969 in [1850] Francis O'Neill and James O'Neill. O'Neill's Music of Ireland. [available]
As tune #189 in [1001] Francis O'Neill and James O'Neill. The Dance Music of Ireland. 1001 Gems. [available]
As tune #102 in volume 1 of [R] Francis Roche. The Roche Collection of Traditional Irish Music. 3 vols. [available]
As tune #20 in [A] Hugh McDermott. Allan's "Irish Fiddler." [available]
On page 47 of [Krsn] Miles Krassen. O'Neill's Music of Ireland. New and Revised. [available]
On page 43 of [RW] Robin Williamson. The Penny Whistle Book. [available]
As tune #138 in [JOL] Terry Moylan. Johnny O'Leary of Sliabh Luachra. Dance Music from the Cork-Kerry Border. [available]
As misc #26 in [MM] Martin Mulvihill. First Collection of Traditional Irish Music.
As tune #274 in [JOL] Terry Moylan. Johnny O'Leary of Sliabh Luachra. Dance Music from the Cork-Kerry Border. [available]
As jig #127 in [Cobb] Dan Cobb. Cobb's Music of Ireland. [available]
As jig #47 in [JKg 3] Josephine Keegan. A Drop in the Ocean. Traditional Irish Tunes Collected by Josephine Keegan. [available]
As tune #49 in [DM 4] Dave Mallinson. 100 Vital Irish Session Tunes. [available]

If you are considering using the above transcriptions to help you learn this tune, I invite you to check these practical Tips for Learning Irish Traditional Music. See also: So why do you bother indexing books and abc?

Year of the oldest source for this tune, considering the recordings and transcriptions listed above (note that I concentrate on sources after 1900): 1903