Compositions by Aoife Nic Cormaic

Aoife nic cormaic
Aoife Nic Cormaic


Aoife Nic Cormaic is a fiddle player and broadcaster from Dublin, and is the presenter of The Rolling Wave on RTÉ Radio 1. Some of her featured compositions are new, and some come from her 2013 album Cuas na bhfáinleog : The hollow of the swallows.

  1. Bainis Chaitlín [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig
  2. The Sperrin waltz [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic]
  3. Béal bán [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig
  4. 56 [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig
  5. Bainis cathrach [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], waltz
  6. An glaoch [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], instrumental piece
  7. An cailín mara - do Shadhbh [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig
  8. Céim ar chéim [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], slow reel

LISTEN: An audio playlist of Aoife Nic Cormaic playing her own compositions, including two tracks from Cuas na bhfáinleog : The hollow of the swallows.

LEARN: Interactive scores of Aoife Nic Cormaic's compositions, with playback, ABC notation and more (see user guide for more details).

READ: Transcriptions of compositions, composed and transcribed by Aoife Nic Cormaic


Bainis Chaitlín [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig

    Bainis Chaitlín [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle

    Caitlín Maude was a poet and singer from Connemara who died in 1982. She, her husband Cathal and their son Caomhán lived near us in Tallaght, Co Dublin and when I was a baby she ran a small Irish language playgroup from our front room. Growing up I heard lots of stories about her and about her singing and her poetry. Later, when I began to play myself I was fascinated by her. I didn’t know any professional musicians, especially women musicians and she was a very inspiring figure. I think as well, as a child, I found it difficult to understand the tragedy of her death at such a young age and I remember looking at her image on the cover of the album she made for ‘Gael Linn’, almost hoping to find answers there. In 2005 I directed and wrote a documentary for TG4 called ‘Concerto Chaitlín Maude’. The programme was divided into musical movements and I wrote music for each one. ‘Bainis Chaitlín’ was one of the tunes written for that project. It’s a light, happy tune and I associate it with Caitlín as a young woman, so full of energy and vitality.

    Learn the tune

    Interactive Score -- Transcription

    Bainis Chaitlín [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig [played slowly] / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle


    The Sperrin waltz [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic]

    The Sperrin waltz [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic] / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle

    This is a three part waltz written in and named after our first house which was on Sperrin Road in Drimnagh, where we lived for many happy years.
    Aoife Nic Cormaic

    This recording The Sperrin waltz is track 2 from Aoife's 2013 album Cuas na bhfáinleog : The hollow of the swallows.

    The Sperrin waltz [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic] / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle ; and others

    Learn the tune

    Interactive Score -- Transcription

    The Sperrin waltz [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic] [played slowly] / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle


    Jigs: Béal bán [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig ; 56 [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig

    ‘Béal Bán’ and its partner jig ‘56’ were two of the first tunes I ever wrote.

    Béal bán [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig ; 56 [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle

    Béal Bán [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig

    I grew up in an Irish speaking household in Dublin but my parents weren’t native Irish speakers and they only began to speak Irish at home when I was born. Consequently and probably as a result of trying to pacify a crying baby while also looking up words in a dictionary our early vocabulary was peppered with words that didn’t mean what we thought they meant or sometimes didn’t exist at all! ‘Béal Bán’ was one of those.

    Learn the tune

    Interactive Score -- Transcription

    Béal Bán [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig [played slowly] / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle


    56 [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig

    56 was the number of the house my maternal grandparents, Marie and Dermot Power, lived in Dublin. When my granny wrote us letters, which she often did when we were away, she would simply write ’56’ in the top right hand corner for the address. We spent a lot of our childhood with them and in that house and this tune is a small tribute to them.

    56 [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle

    56 [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig [played slowly] / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle


    Bainis cathrach [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], waltz

    Bainis cathrach [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], waltz / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle

    Bainis Cathrach was written for my brother Ruadhán and his wife Jean on their wedding day which took place on a cold winter’s day in City Hall in Dublin.

    Learn the tune

    Interactive Score -- Transcription

    Bainis cathrach [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], waltz [played slowly] / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle


    An glaoch [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], instrumental piece

    An glaoch [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], instrumental piece / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle

    An Glaoch is one of those tunes that arrived, seemingly out of nowhere, fully formed.
    Aoife Nic Cormaic

    It was written in Schiphol airport while waiting for a delayed flight. I remember taking the fiddle out of the case and plucking the strings, willing the time to pass more quickly. By the time we were ready to board, An Glaoch had arrived. The word ‘glaoch’ can mean a few things- a vocation, a call but I always think of it as meaning ‘the call’ in relation to this tune.

    This recording of An Glaoch is track 4 from Aoife's 2013 album Cuas na bhfáinleog : The hollow of the swallows.

    An glaoch [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], instrumental piece / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle ; and others

    An glaoch [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], instrumental piece [played slowly] / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle


    An cailín mara - do Shadhbh [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig

    An Cailín Mara is a light, happy jig in A major written for my water-loving six year old daughter, Sadhbh.

    An cailín mara - do Shadhbh [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle

    An cailín mara - do Shadhbh [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], jig [played slowly] / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle


    Céim ar chéim [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], slow reel

    This tune was written over the course of a few winter evening walks and conveys for me a feeling of rhythmic and constant movement. It was written during a very busy period where there was a lot going on and there seemed to be very little opportunity to stop or even pause for a moment. It’s my reminder to myself that’s sometimes there’s no harm in standing back a little and taking things one step at a time.

    Céim ar chéim [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], slow reel / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle

    Céim ar chéim [comp. Aoife Nic Cormaic], slow reel [played slowly] / Aoife Nic Cormaic, fiddle


    About Aoife Nic Cormaic

    Aoife Nic Cormaic
    Aoife Nic Cormaic

    Aoife Nic Cormaic is a musician and broadcaster from Dublin. She was introduced to traditional music at primary school when she was eight years old and she has been playing ever since.

    In 2011 she completed an MA in Music Performance in DIT, writing her thesis on the music of Paddy Cronin and she released an album of her own compositions, Cuas na bhFáinleog/The Hollow of the Swallows in 2013.

    She has won numerous awards for her radio and television programmes including an IFTA and Gradaim Chumarsáide an Oireachtais for her television documentary Concerto Caitlín Maude and a Celtic Media Festival award for a special edition of The Rolling Wave featuring Donegal fiddle player Danny Meehan.

    As a radio producer she has worked on a wide range of programmes including Arts Tonight, Off the Shelf, Today with Pat Kenny and Sunday Miscellany. She is currently the producer of RTÉ Radio 1’s long running programme Céilí House and since 2018 has presented and produced the weekly traditional music programme The Rolling Wave.


    Presented by Treasa Harkin, December 2022, with thanks to Aoife Nic Cormaic