O'Neill - The Dance Music of Ireland, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 4

O'Neill - The Dance Music of Ireland, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 4
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periodical Publisher
Regan Publishing, Chicago
periodical Editor
O'Neill, Capt. Francis
periodical Title
O'Neill - The Dance Music of Ireland
volume Number
issue Content
4INTRODUCTIONrather incline to the view of Dr. Petrie, that our jig tunesand he might have added our reel tuneswere originally clan marches. The editor, notwithstanding theopinion of such eminent authorities, has no hesitation instating thit not a few of our Jigs and reels were Sinhl)lysongs, lyrical, sentimental and topical, in conimon circu-lation among the peasantry for generations such, for in-stance, as Nell Flahertvs drake, No. 44; The prettybrown girl (Cailin deas (lonn), No. 151; Give us adrink of water, No. 420 My mind will n,ever bea sv, No. 421 I have a wife of my own, No. 450;The green fields of America or Charming Molly Bral-laghan. No. 513; The reel of lullinavat, No. 578.the air of a Kilkennv folk song. and many others. Thetempo and but little else has been changed in convertingtue airs into dance tunes,We are informed in an article on Irish music inGroves Dictionary of Music, with an air of authoritythat the jig as as its name implies an imitation of theGiga of Corelli am! (ieniiniani, both very popular in Ire-land in the eighteenth century, in the face of the fact thatcollections of Irish music printed as early as 1650, longbefore their time or their influence could have been felt,contain jig tunes. Besides, the English authors, Chapmall, Martin, Spencer, Beaumont and Fletcher, who men-tion jig and jiggs in their writings, Sir Henry Sydneyin his correspondence to Queen Elizabeth in 1569, en-thusiastically alludes to the dancing of Irish jigs by theAnglo-Irish ladies of Galway. The earliest mention of thereel or reill as a dance is fdund in News from Scot-land, printed in 1598.Only brief reference can be made here to the originand history of Irish (lances and dance music, which isvery cleverly treated in tile work on that subject beforementioned. It can be stated, however, that three Irishdances, the Irish Hey, the Trenchniore and tile RinnceFada are frequently mentioned by writers of the sixteenthcentury, tile latter being specifically mentioned in theComplainte of Scotland published in 1549. Playwrightsof that and the succeeding century give much prominenceto tile Irish hey, which Grattam Flood in his History ofIrish Music claims was the origin of the English roundor country dance. It will be reasonably inferred, writeMessrs. OKecfe and OBrien, that the old Irish Heywas tile earliest and simplest form of our modern Irisllround (lances, such as the four, six, eight, twelve andsixteen-hand reels. It is difficult today to realize tileextent to which Irish dance and Irish music permeatedEnglish life in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,Successive editions of Playfords Dancing Master,which appeared between the years 1651) and 1725 includeda considerable number of Irish dance tunes. Fully one-half of the contents of a volume of country dances issuedserially by different authors, and printed in London in therears 17961798 (now in the writers possession), arerecognized as Irish and Scotch tunes. \\ith tile singleexception of time hornpipe, about the origin of which thereis considerable doubt, say the a itliors before quoted,all the evidence that can be adduced on the subject goesto show that tile round and long dances are older than tilestep or short dances. This theory is supported byhistorical and traditional evidence.It is at once apparent how difficult is tile task of com-piling a book of exclusively Irish dance II1USiC. Theorigin of many hornpipes, well known under various titlesamong the Gaelic and English speaking races, is not easilydetermined. The hornpipe commonly known as tileFlowers of Edinburgh, No. 920, at once suggests aScotcil origin, yet when compared with Beside a rath(Cois Leasa), No. 943, its evolution from the latter tra -ditional Irish strain becomes evident, Tile College horn-pipe or Jacks the ia(l, the Tinware lass, the Sol-diers joy, the Devils dream, Fishers hornpipe andthe Sailors hornpipe were as common (at least inMunster) over fifty years ago as Garryowen or theLittle stack of barley. The first setting of the Sailorshornpipe, No. 826, was found in the Encyclopedia ofMelody, printed in London early in the last century. Itbears little resemblance to the tune of that name in -com-mon circulation. If not derived from Irish sources, thesetunes are certainly Irish by adoption, and if we have tres-passed on our British neighbors, we hardly owe them anapology, as from their own admission they availed them-selves very liberally of our dance musicThr centuries, andit is quite probable that we are merely reclaiming our ownheritage. The influence of Irish music and dances inCanada and in the United States has been felt no less thanin England and Scotland. Irish dance music, not infre-quently much varied and modified, is to be heard at dancesand other festivities, even in the native rural communitiesthroughout the earlier settled States. Irish jigs are ingreat favor as quick-steps in the United States army, theinspiring strains of Garrvowen being the music to whichthe brave General Custer always went to battle.Among the thousands of Irish melodies which havesurvived througil centuries of adversity, tile dance tunesare relatively few. Tile strains of the older airs fromwhicil they have been evolved are plainly traceable innluch of the popular Irish dance music of the presentday. For instance, tile rare set dance John ODwyerof the Glen, first printed in tilis volume (No. 967) orig-inated from tile air of that name, whicil in turn is hut avariant of tile still older melody, A little hour beforeday printed in Buntings tilird collection. Its autilorand origin were unknown to Byrne tile harper, then 97years old, from wilose playing it had been noted down in1806, No effort is required to identify the long dancePoll HaPenny (No. 983), with Moores Remnenlbertile glories of Brian tile Brave or its still older settingMolly Macalpin, printed in I3untings first collection ill1796. Rodneys glory, a very popular long dancediffers hut little from tile song of tllat nanle. The airwas also known as tile Praises of Limerick and Myname is Moll Mackey. The Garden of daisies. 110Wbest known as a long (lance, was the air of a folk songamong tile peasantry of Mtlnster as late as fifty rears ago.Tile gold ring, No. 12 in this work, is a modification ofthe Pharrah or war march, printed also in Buntings
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periodical Author
O'Neill, Capt. Francis
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O'Neill - The Dance Music of Ireland

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