Tune And Tempo Suggestions for a Feis

A Celtic Nutcracker - Academy of Music

If you're lucky to be invited to play for a Feis, you're in for a treat! It's a delightful experience, and hard work! I've played for many over the years, most recently a group from Greenfield called "Celtic Heels". These are senior dancers from a Celtic dance school, ages ranging from 7 to 17. Some of the teachers will join the Feis. In 2013 and 2014, I had the privilege and honor to arrange traditional Celtic dance music for a Feis during a scene of the Celtic Nutcracker, with performances at the Academy of Music in Northampton, and Bowker Auditorium in Amherst.

Here are some suggestions for traditional dance tunes and tempos for a traditional Feis:

Don’t worry very much about learning these if they are new to you; it’s better to choose tunes you know and are comfortable with playing at a steady beat. (Tempo is the most important part of playing at a feis.) Simpler, catchy tunes are best, at least for lower levels. That said, we do have a few favorites that seem to keep popping up. Also look at other feis musicians’ CDs and MP3s for suggestions, such as those by Pat King, Mike Shaffer, Sean O’Brien, and Dean Crouch.


Reels: 112–116

  • Jenny’s Chickens

  • The Gravel Walk

  • Chicago Reel

  • Congress Reel

  • Rakes of Mallow

  • Walls of Limerick

Light/Double Jigs

Jigs: 112–116

  • Swallowtail Jig

  • Rakes of Kildare

  • My Darling Asleep

  • Apples in Winter

  • Siege of Ennis

Slip Jigs

Jigs: 112–116

  • The Butterfly

  • Bridegroom's Delight

  • Kid on the Mountain

  • Foxhunter’s Jig

  • Boys of Balisadare

Single Jigs

Jigs: 112–116

Advanced Beginner Treble Jig: 92

Oireachtas Treble Jig: 72–76

  • Haste to the Wedding

  • Off She Goes

  • Irishman's Heart to the Ladies

  • Kesh Jig

  • Merrily Kiss the Quaker


Traditional Hornpipe: 138–144

Oireachtas Hornpipe: 112–116

  • The Rights of Man

  • Hull's Victory

  • Pigeon on the Gate

  • Rolling Down the Hill

  • The Boys of Blue Hill


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