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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The standard source-book, 11 Mar 2011
By 
Paul Magnussen (Campbell, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: O'Neill's 1001 Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Airs and Marches (Irish Music Collection) (Paperback)
In 1967, in love with folk music, I knew how to play about ten Irish dance tunes, and was desperate to learn more.

One day the Grehan Sisters came to our local folk club, and I asked them if there were any book of such tunes that I might buy: they told me of O'Neill's, and gave me the address of the publishers, Walton's Musical Galleries, to whom I wrote the next day.

When the book arrived I felt like Aladdin. There are literally 1001 dance tunes here, comprising:

365 double jigs
045 single jigs
045 slip jigs
350 reels
150 hornpipes
030 long dances & set dances
016 miscellaneous

Francis O'Neill (1848-1936), born in County Cork, was Police Chief in Chicago. He seems to have been a good Chief, for he was re-appointed twice; but it is for his assiduous collections of Irish music that he's remembered today.

In an interview on Andy Irvine's website, Liam O'Flynn refers to O'Neill's as "the bible", and this seems to be the consensus, although other good collections have appeared (notably Brendán Breathnac's).

All is not perfect, however: Francis O'Neill was musically illiterate, and relied on his (unrelated) friend James O'Neill for notating the tunes. Unfortunately James was classically trained, and this seems to have made him blind to the modal nature of many of the tunes, so that key signatures are wrong and essential accidentals are missing.

A good example is Chief O'Neill's Favorite, where the Fs and Cs in the first two bars of the B part should be natural; leaving them sharp destroys the whole character of the piece. On the other hand, The Mooncoin Reel, which is in A Mixolydian, is notated properly with two sharps, and is exactly as you will hear it played by (for example) Paddy Glackin.

Attempts have been made to correct the mistakes in O'Neill's, notably by Miles Krassen; but the response has been decidedly mixed.

O'Neill himself wrote modestly: "Being not unmindful of the fact that the perfect book has yet to be printed, we would bespeak for this endeavor to supply a recognised want, such generous consideration as may reasonably be expected for an earnest and unselfish effort undertaken for the promotion of a patriotic purpose."

Time has more than vindicated him.

SUMMARY

This, then, is the standard source for Irish dance music; so much so that O'Neill numbers are given to the tunes, in the same way as BWV numbers are given to Bach. This is the book to have.

Those wishing to read more about O'Neill may do so in A Harvest Saved.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Trad Bible, 3 April 2014
This review is from: O'Neill's 1001 Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Airs and Marches (Irish Music Collection) (Paperback)
I use O'Neill's 1001 for my music classes in Traditional Irish Music as it has the essential tunes for any student of Irish Music. My students get their own copy and soon enough they get to learn a lot of tunes by ear and with the notes at hand if needed.
Denis Liddy, Co.Clare
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4.0 out of 5 stars Endless source of new tunes to learn!, 5 Mar 2014
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This review is from: O'Neill's 1001 Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Airs and Marches (Irish Music Collection) (Paperback)
Fantastic book, doubt I'll ever learn them all but I've found some really nice ones already. It would be nice if it had guitar chords too though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Gift, 2 Dec 2013
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This review is from: O'Neill's 1001 Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Airs and Marches (Irish Music Collection) (Paperback)
My cousins are really into Trad and they loved this book. Perfect for any Irish instrument once you know how to read sheet music.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good - jiggy jiggy, 2 Feb 2011
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This review is from: O'Neill's 1001 Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Airs and Marches (Irish Music Collection) (Paperback)
Jigs and reels galore. This delighted the fiddle/whistle player I gave it to as a present.
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