Casadh an Tsúgáin

Sean-nós “in the old way” singing is unaccompanied, traditional Irish vocal music — usually performed in the Irish language. Of these singers, Iarla Ó Lionáird is definitely my favorite. His performances are emotive, and his intonation is masterful.

The song, Casadh an Tsúgáin “The Twisting of the Hayrope” is a whimsical story, told in the usual coy manner that characterizes many Irish folksongs (when approaching the subject of love). Boy meets girl — then the boy visits her house — only to be met by her rather protective mother. The mother cleverly asks him to unravel a hayrope. The young suitor complies, and as the hayrope lengthens — he is once again outside the door whereupon the expedient mother summarily shuts it in his face.

My version of Casadh an Tsúgáin is specifically based off of Iarla Ó Lionáird’s performance in the movie Brooklyn. There’s some beautiful orchestration on the back end of that performance that I also tried to capture with my guitar.

I suppose I’m also channeling Hozier, as this turned out to be something like he’d play on guitar — with his melodic, but distinctly Irish style.

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Spotify and streaming

This performance is available on Spotify, Apple Music and all streaming services.

Casadh an Tsúgáin on Spotify

Casadh an Tsúgáin on Apple Music

How to play Casadh an Tsúgáin | fingerstyle guitar

The guitar tab for this piece is beautifully written across 2 pages. My version is comprised of many trills, hammers, and pulls. I find it to be very easy to play — but I’m aware that beginner guitar players might find this difficult. At a minimum, Casadh , is a perfect étude to practice those techniques.

Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

This is essentially one long passage played 2x.

**Casadh an Tsúgáin | fingerstyle guitar

This song is tune one whole step down, from low to high: D G C F A D. However, you can just as easily play this in standard tuning.