March Free Sheet Music: A Jig, A Reel, and a Beautiful Irish Air

Cashel, Ireland

Happy March! This month we celebrate 🇮🇪Irish music🇮🇪, a genre near and dear to my heart, as I fell in love with Celtic music in my youth, and married an Irish-American musician in my 20s. I learned even more about Irish music when my daughters became Irish dancers. They participated in dance competitions – called a Feis (pronounced “Fesh”) – bouncing up and down with arms firmly at their sides for Jigs and Reels. The difference between the two dances is that a Jig has a 3 or 6 feel, while a Reel has a 4 feel. An Air is a slow tune that we listen to rather than dance to. I’m giving away one of each this month, to give you plenty to play in March!

First is a gorgeous Irish Air called Down By the Salley Gardens, which originated with a poem by William Butler Yeats. I posted this piece several years ago (and it appears in my instruction book UPPER HANDS PIANO: Book 3 with simpler block chord inversions) but today I added a moving bass line to give it a little more rhythm and fullness. This is an intermediate arrangement, and it will be posted on my website for just 1 year, so print it today! ⬇️⬇️⬇️

PRINT: Down By the Salley Gardens

Down By the Salley Gardens demonstration

If you’re looking to play something more lively, you can print The Galway Piper reel, below. Note that the chords are in block form in the A section, and are broken in the B section. If you are a beginner, just play block chords throughout. If you are an intermediate player, you can play broken chords throughout:

Finally, you might also enjoy this easy arrangement of The Irish Washwoman which I have my students play as an exercise throughout March. It’s the most popular Irish Jig in America, and it’s really fun to play:

I hope you are enjoying some warmer weather as we inch nearer to spring. Have you gotten your Covid vaccine yet? I can’t wait to get mine, and am so excited about the prospect of emerging from our long pandemic hibernation, later this year.

By the way, my husband and I will be playing Irish music (me on accordion😆, him on guitar and vocals) on Facebook Live on Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day, at 7pm PST. If you would like to watch, follow me on Facebook @UpperHands Piano. I’m not the best accordion player, but we’ll have a lot of fun playing Jigs, Reels and songs you can lift a pint to. Have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day, and thanks so much for subscribing to my blog! Here’s an Irish blessing I love:

☘️ May peace and plenty bless your world
With a joy that long endures
And may all life’s passing seasons
Bring the best to you and yours. ☘️

With love and music, Gaili

Author, Upper Hands Piano: A Method for Adults 50+ to Spark the Mind, Heart and Soul

8 Replies to “March Free Sheet Music: A Jig, A Reel, and a Beautiful Irish Air”

  1. I love that you mentioned the accordion! I mainly play the piano, but I occasionally play one of my accordions (so, I’m not even near being an advanced player of it!). I like to call the accordion my “fun instrument.” I’ll have to remember to watch you play; it’s not an instrument that is mentioned as much anymore. Thank you for the Irish music!

    1. I agree- it is a fun instrument! Because you have to carry it I find it tiring after awhile, but I figure it’s a good weight bearing exercise! So true, people make jokes about accordions but we don’t see them playing much, especially a piano accordion. But when I play at jams other musicians seem to like it, as long as I don’t play too loud! And you’re very welcome, I hope you enjoy it!

      1. Yes, it is definitely a heavy instrument to carry! And, yes, –the jokes! My mom likes to occasionally send me the accordion jokes from the Garfield cartoons, always giving John a hard time. We both have a good laugh over them! My 84-year-old aunt still plays the accordion, although nothing too fancy. Before all the restrictions came about, she was still going to the nursing home to play for the residents.

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