Fun Flute: The Mug of Brown Ale

The Improvers group this week looked at a popular Irish jig, The Mug of Brown Ale.

The tune is in a “gapped” modal scale in A, either A Dorian (one sharp) or A Mixolydian (two sharps). Modes are quite ancient types of scale that overlap with the ones we use today. This tune is ambiguous in that it isn’t A major (three sharps), nor A minor (no sharps). As C isn’t played it isn’t sharp or natural, we can think of it as “gapped” as it is missed out of the scale, making the key signatue ambiguous. However, the F is sharp and the G is natural. This phenomenon is common in traditional music. Accompanists may need to play chords that miss C altogether.

Resources for this tune and others can be found at Fun Flute page at The Flow.

We’ll be building a set of jigs around the tune over the next couple of classes.

Photo of Newcastle Brown Ale by Michael Fajardo, some rights reserved.

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2 Responses to Fun Flute: The Mug of Brown Ale

  1. amble says:

    Can you publish the dots so I can join in?

    • Gordon says:

      Hi Amble,

      If you follow the link above, the dots are published in a PDF on The Fun Flute page, along with a recording of it and the music in ABC format. Let me know how you get on.

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