Irish Jig in E Dorian (D Major)
Beginner > Module 1.8

Learning chunks 

I’ve made some “Learning Chunks” to help you learn more easily. These focused exercises contain sheet music, tabs and mp3 snippets to guide you on your fiddle journey. The idea is to start with small musical bits, get good at those, and then put them together into bigger pieces until you have the whole tune. I call it Micro-practice.


Warm up with the D major scale and phrases from the tune (once you’ve learned it) using a D drone: 

For those of you who read (or want to read), all snippets use this key and time signature:

A part, second quarter

A part, third quarter



Let’s pause for a moment and pay attention to how we practice.

Creativity, Fun and Adventure ?

Always try to find creative ways to make practicing fun. How can you practice the same thing in different ways? Can you learn to enjoy the sound? Can you even learn to enjoy the struggle?

If you explore different options for playing the same thing, then you will be able to enjoy practicing that for a longer time. Remember, the brain gets bored easily, but the hands need lots and lots of time to learn things.

B part, second quarter



B part, third quarter


B part, fourth quarter


Further Practice

Practice the song at your own pace with this drone track.

Drone in E – No Beat


D major scale

E dorian scale: D1-2-3-A0-1-2-3-E0



Connections: Play Road to Lisdonverna in a set with O’Keefe’s Slide.

Other Versions

Fiddle Raga version

In a set

Full Tabs, Audio & Sheet Music

A part

First quarter: D1-A1-1-0-1-2-3

Second quarter: D2-A0-0-1-0-D0-1-2-1-0

Third quarter: D1-A1-1-0-1-2-3

Fourth quarter: A2-3-2-1-0-1-D1-1

B part

First quarter: E0-1-L2-1-0-A3-1-1-2-3

Second quarter: A2-0-0-1-2-3-1-1

Third quarter: E0-1-L2-1-0-A3-1-1-2-3

Fourth quarter: A2-3-2-1-0-1-D1-1

Continue on to Girl I Left Behind Me >>

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8 responses to “Road to Lisdonverna

  1. I would love to see the slur patterns people use for this song. I know it’s personal preference but as a beginner it really helps me to see it. I am a note reader by the way. I tried some slur patterns but I think it could be improved. I also like to have bowing marked as it helps me learn the tune too.

    1. Hi Kathi, great suggestions, Thank you 👍🏿 I’ll take note of this to consider adding into the content, and will let you know if we do.
      As I look at this song, I tend to slur two notes together (quarter and 8th note), I give the dotted quarter notes their own bow, and I slur the triplets into one bow. Summing it up, mainly using 1 up bow and 1 down bow in each bar/measure. I notice I like to slur the triplets together with a down bow (starting tune with up bow to facilitate this). Once I learnt this song well and started speeding it up, these bowing and slurring patterns happened fairly naturally, to help the ease of playing.
      I’d love to hear what you and others try/prefer, always good to experiment various bowing ways once we have the song dialed.
      This is a great topic to go into more detail with together. 🙂

  2. I was just about to start this lesson, but read the past comments first. MaryReid’s comment from Nov 2020 struck me, so I picked up my fiddle, and picked out “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen” without much trouble, thanks to the rigorous ear-training I got as a Music major 50 years ago. But I’d never have thought of trying it with her comment, so thank you, Mary Reid! 🙂

  3. So following Jason’s advice about improvising on a scale I played around with the E dorian scale. Just making up a tune as I went alone. Then I realized it was very close to the tune God rest ye Merry gentlemen, The Christmas Carol. So then I was able to pick out the whole tune for God rest you Merry gentlemen. I’ve been trying to train my ear more and I think this is a result of that. I’m so super excited.