a few years now, we have been asking musicians, composers, and people
from all walks of life to tell us the melodies they find the most
haunting. What follows are MIDI files of the melodies chosen so far,
in no particular order. You can download a collection of 18 of these melodies in MP3 towards the bottom of the page.
an ongoing project, so please feel free to send us an e-mail
to tell us your most haunting melody.
(Note-) Remember, these files below are only humble MIDI files,
and MIDI files will sound different on each system depending upon
the software and sound card you are using, but they will give you
an idea of the melodies. MIDI files can also be downloaded and used in most standard music notation programs.
If you are interested in a higher audio quality MP3 collection of many of these unique melodies, see below.
Tam Lin - A
famous old Scottish ballad.
Inisheer Old Irish tune.
For Owen Christie - Jim Stewart, of St. John, New Brunswick
(that's in Canada *Grin*) wrote a tune called Lament for Owen Christie,
in memory of the Irish immigrants that came to Canada during the potato
famine in the 1800s. Many of them are buried on an island in St. John
harbour, and Owen Christie is the name on one of the graves.
The Great Silkie
- This ballad originated in the Orkney Islands. A "silkie"
is a supernatural being who lives in the sea. They wear sealskins
to travel through the ocean, and take them off when they are on land.
Summer Is Coming (Ta ar Samhradh Teacht) - Old Irish Tune, Probably sung on
the solstice feasts.
- This is a four part choral piece, composed by AmericanRevolutionary
War period composer Justin Morgan, upon the death of his wife in childbirth.
The Sound Of The
Waves - Celtic Traditional
Look To The Rainbow
- From the Musical, "Finian's Rainbow," 1946, by E.Y. Harburg,
and Burton Lane. The lyrics to this song are very nice, so we include
the day I was born,
Said my father, said he
I've an elegant legacy waiting for ye.
Tis a rhyme for your lips
And a song for your heart
To sing it whenever the world falls apart
Look, look , look to the rainbow
follow it over the hill and stream
look look look to the rainbow
follow the fellow who follows a dream.
a sumptuous gift
To bequeath to a child
Oh, the lure of that song kept me feet running wild
For you never grow old
And you never stand still
With whippoorwills singing beyond the next hill.
So I pondered my heart
nd I roamed the world free
To the east with the lark
To the west with the sea
And I searched all the earth
And I scanned all the skies
But I found it at last in my own true love's eyes.
Winyadelpa - Sung
by the fairies to Gibbie Laurenson in 1803. From the "Shetland
Folk Book" (volume 2). This interesting tome contains a number
of tunes actually sung by fairies which were collected over the years.
The Skye Boat Song
- Charles Edward Stewart, the Young Pretender, was routed by
the Duke of Cumberland on Culloden Moor in 1745. Aided by a Jacobite
heroine, Flora MacDonald, Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped to the island
of Skye in the inner Hebrides. He was finally taken by a French vessel
to Morlaix on the coast of Bretagne. The first half of the tune is
said to be an old sea shanty; the other half is traditionally attributed
to Miss MacLeod. The words to this song were written by Sir Harold
Boulton, in 1884.
Midnight On The Water
- A tune often attributed to Texas fiddler Luke Thomasson
She Moved Through The Fair - According to Ossian's Folksongs and Ballads Popular in Ireland
- Volume I the tune dates back to Medieval times.
Samanthra - A 19th century American
- Tune by Turlough O'Carolan, legendary blind Irish harper and composer
Ned Of The Hill -
Old Irish song about Edmund Ryan who was an Irish earl displaced by
Cromwell after the Battle of the Boyne who stayed in Ireland to fight
my sleep will be restless (A nochd gur faoin mo chadol
dhohm) - An old Gaelic air
Hyltadance A tune sung by the
fairies in Fetlar, 1642. Another tune from the Shetland Folk Book
(volume 2). This interesting tome contains a number of tunes actually
sung by fairies which were collected over the years.
This very short melody is truly hypnotic. I don't know if there is
any direct correlation between the two, but in Gaelic dance and music
fairy folklore the word "haltadans" means the 'limping dance'.
The "Haltadans" is also the name of a stone ring comprising
38 stones originally set edge to edge, enclosing a bank inside which
are two earthfast stones, possibly a Bronze Age cairn. Trows (the
little people) often went there to dance in the light of the full
Two Chinese Folk Tunes
I Ask For Peace
- Tune by Jay Ungar, composed in 1982. According to Jay, "Ashokan
Farewell was named for the Ashokan Field Campus of the State University
of New York (in the Catskill Mountains)."
"Ashokan is the name of a town, most of which is now under the
Ashokan Reservoir, a very beautiful and magical body of water that
is across the road from our home. According to our local historian,
Alf Evers, Ashokan first appears in print as a place name in 17th
century Dutch records. He thinks that it may be a corruption of a
local Indian word."
I Keep From Singing? - Shaker tune
Highland Cathedral - Old
Gow's Lament (on the death of his 2nd wife) Neil Gow (1727
- 1807) Musician and composer. Born in Inver, Strath Braan, to the
west of Dunkeld (Perth and Kinross), Gow was the son of a weaver.
He became a fine fiddler and regarded as the father of Strathspey
and Reel music, composing many popular tunes. Successive Dukes of
Atholl became his patron. Although Gow was based throughout his life
in Inver, he did give performances as far afield as Edinburgh. Gow
had his portrait painted twice by Henry Raeburn (1756 - 1823) and
these are now in Blair Castle and the National Portrait Gallery in
Give Me Your Hand (Tabhair
Dom Do Lámh) - A beautiful air, attributed to 17th century
Irish harper Rory Dall O'Cathain
Dumbarton's Drums - Old
traditional Scottish tune
The Earth Only Endures
- Native American chant
El Condor Pasa -
Very old Andean folk tune
Aith Rant A
tune played by a fairy fiddler in Aiths Voe, 1790. Another tune from
the Shetland Folk Book (volume 2). This interesting tome contains
a number of tunes actually sung by fairies which were collected over