Here is the song of Skellig Michael. I have included some comments on natural pitch below.
I wrote this tune after a visit to Skellig Michael, which is rock about 5 miles out into the Altlantic Ocean off the coast of Kerry in the south-west end of Ireland. The monastic cells on the rock are preserved to this day, even though the monks left about eight hundred years ago.
Here is a picture of Skellig Michael taken on the day of my visit.

My comments on the tune in relation to my natural notes. As a fiddle player, I have always had a natural inclination to play "out of tune". However as I spent many hours playing in orchestras and folk bands I realised that I could also play in tune, provided I could first hear and pitch to the other instruments. As a physicist I have started to analyse my natural sense of pitch and compare the results against the standard chromatic scale as determined by my tuner.
My analysis shows me that in the first bar of the above tune I anchor my opening arpeggio on the first note E natural (330 Hz), then run up to the final semibreve (C sharp) and play it very sharp with a dying wail. The note that I use on my fiddle appears to come from the seventh harmonic of E at 577 Hz. By contrast the note C sharp is 554 Hz and D is 587 Hz. Thus the note I use is somewhere between C sharp and D. If you have a keyboard or fixed pitch instrument such as a fretted guitar you simply wont be able to play the tune the way I want to play it.
In the second stanza I find that I again depart from standard pitch. Although I am happily playing back in tune I make sure that the C sharp semibreve in the second bar is not sharp, then play the D semibreve in the third bar deliberately flat, followed by a very flat E semibreve in the fourth bar. The E quaver that begins the fifth bar is back to standard pitch (this can be an open string on the violin and mine is always tuned as sharp as I can get away with). In this fashion tension builds up during the second, third and fourth bars of the second stanza and a release occurs as the fifth bar opens.
Did I compose this tune? I can't say, I just went to the rock and tried to sense the atmosphere of the place and then later that day I sat down and tried to find a tune that suited my feelings. I was going to try and find chords to accompany the tune but chords don't come easily to fiddle players, especially when unsual tunes are involved. I am happy for anyone to copy and reset the tune provided they allow me the natural right to continue playing my tune under the name of Skellig Michael.

Return to the index here.