Betty Black (2)

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X:1 T:Betty Black [2] M:C L:1/8 R:Reel S:Rev. Luke Donnellan – “Oriel Songs and Dances", S:Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society (vol. II, No. 2, 1909; No. 88) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D F|GFED A2d2|GFED A,2D2|GFED A2d2|A,2D2D2g2:| |:fefg a2A2|BABc d2D2|fefg a2A2|BABc d2 D2:| |:EFEF G2 FE|FDFA dAFD|EFEF G2 FE|D2 d2 d3g:| |:f4 f4|Adfd edfd|f4 f4|Adec d2 dg:|] |:f2d2 dcBA|FAGB Aceg|f2d2 dcBA|A,2D2D2c2:| |:defg agfe|(3fga ec dcBA|defg agfe|(3fga ec d2d2:|]

BETTY BLACK [2]. Irish, Reel or Barn Dance. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDDEEFF. The reel was collected in the Slieve Gullion region of south County Armagh by the Rev. Luke Donnellan (1878-1952), a rector at Dromintee, who published a collection of over 100 tunes, mostly reels, in 1909 in an article entitled "Oriel Songs and Dances" in The Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society (vol. II, No. 2). Oriel [1] (now Oirialla), or Airgíalla, and Anglicizations, Oriel, Uriel, Orgiall, or Orgialla, was the name of an ancient Irish federation or kingdom largely in what is now the County Armagh, in the north of Ireland. Donnellan was enthusiastic about P.W. Joyce's then recently published Old Irish Music and Songs (1909), but found Irish music rather rare in his area.

The old people of Dromintee will tell you of the number and the skill of musicians who used to come to [nearby] Forkhill fair. I was told there used to be as many as thirty playing at it. They display an extensive knowledge of the names of songs and dance tunes, but cannot sing them. The reel known as “Black Haired Lass (2) (The)” No. 66 inf., seems to have been a great favourite with everyone. These facts point to a vanishing and disappearing musical culture.

Forkhill Fair, held on Michaelmas Day (Sept. 29th) was once the great horse and cattle fair, and festival of the area (St. Michael is the patron saint of horsemen).

Betty Black or Bessie Black was the name of a country dance that was once danced in County Down and County Armagh, but which seems to have died out in the mid-20th century.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Rev. Luke Donnellan music manuscript collection [O'Connor].

Printed sources : - Donellan (Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, vol. II, No. 2), 1909; No. 88. O'Connor (The Rose in the Gap), 2018; No. 68, p. 52.

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