Ironbridge Hornpipe (The)

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IRONBRIDGE HORNPIPE, THE. AKA and see "Athlone Bridge (The)," "Bridge of Athlone (2) (The)." English, Hornpipe. England, Shropshire. B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Editor Gordon Ashman suggested in 1991 that the hornpipe may be a locally composed Shropshire tune, and suggested possible associations with an iron bridge in Colebrook Dale, Shropshire, begun in 1777 and the first bridge to be made of that metal in the world. A village that sprang up at the site of the work took its name from the structure.

Francis O'Neill published the tune as "Bridge of Athlone (2) (The)." There are no Irish sources that predate Moore's manuscript and it is likely, as with many other hornpipes in his books, that O'Neill gave his own "Irish" title to a tune he had found in an earlier collection, replacing the English "Ironbridge" with the name of the most famous railroad bridge in Ireland. O'Neill's published setting retains two flats throughout but the tune really shifts to F major in the second part.

Source for notated version: a c. 1837–1840 MS by Shropshire musician John Moore [Ashman].

Printed sources: Ashman (The Ironbridge Hornpipe), 1991; No. 44a, p. 16.

Recorded sources:

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