Star of the County Down Waltz

Star of the County Down is a traditional ballad from Northern Ireland, also known as Reáilt Condae An Dún. The lyrics are by Cathal McGarvey and start like this:

Near Banbridge town, in the County Down, one morning last July
Down a bóithrín green came a sweet cailín,
And she smiled as she passed me by

The song is about a young man who is hoping to meet Rose McCann, a beautiful and charming girl. She is referred to as the “Star of the County Down”. After meeting her, he can’t stop thinking of her and by the end of the song he imagines marrying the girl.

The version that I’ve recorded is an arrangement by Loralyn Staples and André van Harem. Loralyn Staples is a fiddle teacher and created many videos to learn to play the fiddle. I really liked her arrangement because it came with piano accompaniment at full speed and also an accompaniment at a slower speed to practice at first.

I’ve also recorded an different, faster version: Star of the County Down Reel. It’s pretty fast and I didn’t manage to play it at full speed. Luckily there was also a slower accompaniment version to play along. Maybe later, I can do the faster version…

Star of the County Down is in A minor and Loralyn Staples dedicates a pretty long lesson here about preparing to play this fiddle tune. It’s filled with good suggestions, like for example how to pivot your fingers when stretching the pinky finger to not loose intonation. After the scales and arpeggios it’s so much easier to play the song.

And here is a great version of Star of the County Down by Orthodox Celts.

9 thoughts on “Star of the County Down (Waltz)

  1. Good playing! :-)
    I’m 30 years old, and just picked up the violin as my first instrument.
    I’d love to learn this song. Would you mind sending the sheet music for it?

    1. Hi Max, glad you liked it! :-) It’s great that you’re learning the violin too! This song is really fun to play. Here is a link to the sheet music. It’s a great arrangement and comes with piano accompaniment at full speed and slower speed to practice. Hope you enjoy. ;-)

          1. Yes ma’am. I’m pretty much just starting out. I’ve learned all about the violin, its history, parts, strings, etc. I picked up Violin for Dummies at Barnes and Noble (the only book on violin they had!). I’m on chapter 5 of that. I’m working on finger placement and bowing technique, and the combination of the two. I’ve learned a few simple tunes. Still need lots of bow practice though! And left hand coordination.
            I’ve also been doing some pizzicato and spiccato.
            And you??

            1. Hi Max, that’s great and thanks for sharing! I started with the Suzuki Books, really like that series. But right now, I’m mainly focusing on scales and etudes. When I play the scales I play them slowly using whole bow strokes to improve my bow technique and straight bowing. And I like to pay attention to good intonation. I’m also working on fiddle tunes this month, it’s really so much fun.

              It’s very good that you work on bow technique and finger placement. That’s the basics and if you get that well, later on it will be so much easier. I really hope you keep enjoying! And it’s brave of you to start with spiccato already!! :-)

              Hope you keep in touch. Would love to know how you progress! :-)

              1. I also very like early suzuki books. They were good supplement to the method that is little more fundamental. I have used in my first year Polish Różycki and Powroźniak method and I know my teacher use also Cofalik method with younger children. The first one is quite simmilar to Maia Bang method that you can find on imslp.
                Good luck Max :D Hope you will stay here longer :)

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