Apples in Winter (1)
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APPLES IN WINTER . E Minor (O'Neill, Taylor, Williamson): E Dorian (Moylan, Mulvihill). AAB (O'Malley): AA'B (Taylor): AABB (O'Farrell, O'Neill): AABB' (Taylor, Williamson): AA'BCDD' (Moylan).
A setting of this tune named "Kennedy's Jig" appears in Joyce's Ancient Irish Music, Dublin 1890. David Taylor (1992) remarks that this tune follows a basic structure found in many minor key Irish tunes: two bars of melody built around the tonic, followed by two in the dominant chord, two more tonic, and finally a bar each of the dominant and tonic. He advances that this is why many tunes that follow this structure can sometimes be confused or mixed up, pointing out similarly sounding, though different tunes, such as "Over the Hills" are frequent. The melody is at least as old as the latter 19th century, for O'Neill (1913) records it was the first jig learned as a boy by Callinafercy, Kilcoleman, County Kerry fiddler and uilleann piper William F. Hanafin, born in 1875 (who later, as an adolescent, emigrated to Massachusetts). O'Neill (1922) remarks: "Known to the fiddlers and pipers on this side of the Atlantic in later years as 'Apples in Winter', it was printed under that name in the O'Neill collections, but no variant of the popular jig so far in circulation, displays the skill of that played by the versatile Billy Hanafin, proficient on both instruments."
Williamson (1976) states anecdotally that the apple was anciently known as 'the salvation of the poet' and relates the tale of a Welsh bard named Sion Kent who was about to be taken by the Devil. Just in time he managed to catch hold of an apple tree, thwarting the evil one, though at the same time insuring fate, for though untouchable to hell he is unsuitable for heaven and is thus doomed to wander the winds of the world evermore. See also the different, though similar in some respects, tune "Old Apples in Winter," while Paul de Grae finds related tunes in "Gillan's Apples (1)," "Captain Holmes" and "Rattle the Quilt." Sliabh Luachra musicians, such as fiddler Denis Murphy and accordion player Johnny O'Leary, played an extended version of the tune.