Christmas Eve played by Eddie Moloney

A brief analysis by Peter Laban, 8 December, 2002

The tune is displayed in the left frame, comments in the lower right frame, so that you can scroll through the text while viewing the music.


From a recording by Eddie Moloney from the 1950s. Eddie Moloney was a flute player from Ballinakil, Co. Galway. He was part of the later instalment of the famous Ballinakil Band. The Moloney family boasts several generations of flute players, Stephen Moloney was one of the founder members of the Ballinakil band during the early half of the 20th century, Ambrose being another, remembered by the reel named after him. Eddie was one of the great flute players of the fifties. He contributed a number of tunes to Breandan Breathnach's monumental Ceol Rinnce na hEirreann he recorded some fine music in duet with Aggie Whyte, a fiddle player also closely connected to the Ballinakil band [she also recorded some glorious duets with Peadar O Loughlin on the flute and she was also part of the early Tulla ceili band].

Here Moloney plays a composition of yet another East Galway man, Tommy Coen. A version of the tune from Coen's own playing appears as number 140 in Ceol Rinnce vol 2. Being close to the composer Moloney stays very close to the common version of the tune, there are some touches though that betray the good player he was.


Although popular among instrumentalists of every description, especially flute players this tune is essentially a fiddler's composition so in Bar 1 the tune opens with a note that goes to the lower string of the fiddle, Moloney raises the B, an octave.

The B in Bar 2 gets a slide as that bends it nicely, the ornament used on it is closer to a bab triplet than a short roll

Bar 3 revisits the raised B which is let out altogether in Bar 5.

The second part sees the use of a fair amount of ornamentation with some nicely flowing long rolls in Bar 10 and 11 followed by a short g which adds a fine rhythmic touch.

Bar 14 sees a nice touch added by the composer where he changes the melodic figure used previously in bar 10 abge around to bage. Moloney adds a nice playful rising triplet in this bar that enhances the flow of the tune quite effectively.

The third part as it is played here is very much a flute players sequence bar 20 gets filled in very much typical for rhythmic flute playing although the introduction of the only F in the tune will maybe considered slightly controversial by some. Overall this is a fine flowing, detailed performance with the great clarity for which the Balinakill band was famous.


The usual warnings and caveats apply here but I won't keep repeating them ad nauseum.

Peter Laban, 8 December 2002