Learn The Banshee reel

In this fiddle lesson I will teach you the Banshee reel on the Irish fiddle.

It is a really well known Irish session tune. It is in the key of G major.

The Banshee was composed by the flute player James McMahon, from Fermanagh in Ulster, probably in the 1950s. McMahon was known for playing an ivory flute.

James McMahon, composer of Teh Banshee playing a flute

This tune was known as McMahon’s reel until a couple of recordings in the 1970s titled it The Banshee, which is now its more common name.

The Banshee is a great tune to play on the fiddle. In this lesson I’ll take you through learning the melody on the fiddle. First I play the tune at full speed so you can hear what it is meant to sound like.

The Banshee is sometime played as a single reel. It is possible that is how it was composed, and it certainly has the ‘feel’ or a single reel. However, the recordings made of it that popularised it are all as a double reel (or just, ‘a reel’, since most are double).

Then, I play the tune through slightly slower, with little or no ornamentation.

Finally, I play this reel through slowly, with a close-up on the fingerboard, so you can see the left hand.

Fiddle players, if you would like to take your fiddle playing to the next level, take a look at my online fiddle courses, including my free Irish fiddle course.

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