Lanigan’s Ball

This Irish song is a popular favorite, fun to play, and even more fun to hear!

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This famous Irish-style song is about a guy named Jeremy Lanigan who throws a huge party disguised as a wake after his father died and left him a large inheritance. As the news spreads, everyone and his grandmother shows up for the fun. But by the end of the day, the party has turned into an all-out brawl.

This arrangement’s melody is a composite of several printed versions, and includes historical information showing that the piece may not be anonymous after all, but was likely composed by Tony Pastor, known in the 1880s for later toning down the risque extravaganzas that were popular as minstrel shows declined in popularity, and creating the popular and influential “polite entertainment” genre of vaudeville, which stayed strong through the 1930s until cinema and radio began to capture the public’s interest.

Key: E minor

Mood: happy, animated, vibrant

Pedagogy: 6/8 time, fingering, dynamics


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