My Tunes

Ruaraidh’s Hornpipe

Over the coming months (edit: and years!) I’m going to attempt to transcribe, record and post many of the tunes that I have composed. I started writing tunes pretty early in my traditional music ‘career’. I was travelling around a fair bit and didn’t have access to recordings or notation so I just made tunes up. I’ll try and post them in chronological order but I don’t remember all the dates of composition so will have to guess some.


First up is Ruaraidh’s Hornpipe. (This wasn’t the first tune i wrote however. I think that would have been Cara Douglas of Waterloo, written for the birth of Craig Douglas and Madeline Crawford’s first child. Unfortunately I have forgotten it and can find no written version of it.)

This tune was written (in 1994 i think) for the birth of Stewart and Emma Mitchell’s boy, Ruaraidh. I had been listening to a fair amount of Northumbrian music at the time and liked the swing of their hornpipes and I seem to have written a few hornpipes around that time.



I use the excellent, open-source software MuseScore for final score engraving. You can upload your tunes to musescore.com and then embed the score in your own site.

Ruaraidh’s Hornpipe – Stephen P McNally by bagpie

Below is the tune in ABC Notation. ABC is a great way to share simple, single staff notation and is popular amongst traditional musicians. You can learn about ABC notation here and I recommend EasyABC to convert the tunes into standard notation, for editing and playback (although it is a little borked for 64bit Macs).

X:1
T:Ruaraidh’s Hornpipe
M:4/4
L:1/8
Q:2/4 = 80
C:© 1994 Stephen P McNally
N:Written on the occasion of the birth of Ruaraidh Mitchell
K:D
F>G |: (3ABA F>A B>GE>G |(3ABA d>A e>Af>A |(3ABA F>A B>Ge>G |(3def f>d e>gg>a |
(3ABA F>A B>GE>G |(3ABA f>A e>Ad>A |(3ABA F>A B>Ge>G |1 (3def g>e f>dd>B :|2 (3def g>e f>dd>e ||
|: f>d (3def g>ec>A | d>B (3Bcd e>cA>F |G>Bd>g F>Ad>f |(3efd c>B A>GF>E |
~D2 F>A B>GE>G |(3ABA d>A e>Af>A | g>fe>c A>ce>c |1 (3def g>e f>dd>e :|2 (3def g>e f>dd2 ||

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