The Flax in Bloom Tune Notes

(D major, Ionian Mode)

Murphy's playing of The Flax in Bloom, learned from O'Neill's 1001, showcases his mastery of melodic variation, phrasing and ornamentation.


The opening D crotchet in bar 1 may be graced with the run D, D', B, D (where D' is the top D). This opening D is on the draw, in the middle row. However, it may be played on the press, in the inside row, when it repeats in bar 5, as the bellows direction can become uneven at this point in the tune, if the drawn D is repeated.

The second A in the last four quavers of Bar 1 may be graced with the same grace note run as that used on the D crotchet. This gives the run A, D', B, A. The overall effect created is F, A, A, D' B, A, the D', B being the gracing notes. With the exception of the alterative D, the rest of Bar I may be played on the press.

All of Bar 2 should be played on the press including the F sharp cut on the E.

The A crotchet in Bar 3 (on the draw, middle row) may also be graced with the D' B run although the measure is slightly longer than that implied in Bar 2, with the exception of this A crotchet, which is more easily graced on a drawn bellows, all of Bars 3 and 4 can be played on the inside row.

The pattern repeats in Bars 5, 6,7 and 8. Part I concludes with Paddy's characteristic stop made with double-octave Ds.


The F sharp crotchet in Bar 1, may be replaced with the F sharp, A, F sharp triplet or alternatively, it may be played as a straight F sharp. The E crotchet in the same bar may be substituted by the grace note run E, A, F, E (all on the inside row).

All of Bar 1 is played on the inside row, with the exception of the C sharp. The use of the C sharp at the end of this bar and in bar 2 is interesting because it underlines the use of the alternative buttons for the C sharp note.

The Jeffries 38-key concertina has two C sharp keys on the top or outside row (one on the draw first button, and the other on the press second button). Consequently, for players with this type of Jeffries instrument, the first C sharp at the end of Bar 1 is best got on the draw. While the C sharp in bar 2 is got on the press. However, where an instrument does not have this alternative C sharp, the press C sharp will have to suffice, despite the change in the direction of the bellows.

The three As and the single B in bar 2 are played along the middle row. The A and top D of bar 3 are played on the middle row while bar 4 is played completely on the inside row. The patterns of ornamentation and fingering apply to bar 5 to 8 as applied in bar 1 to 4. The tune may be concluded with the characteristic double octave stop.

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