Bird Alone (1) (The)

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X:1 T:The Bird Alone [1] M:2/4 L:1/8 S:Hugh O'Beirne 1846, piper, Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim, via William Forde S:Joyce - Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:F c/d/e|f>g f/e/d/c/|d>e c/A/G/F/|!trill!A>GF~G|FF F>B|A>G A/G/F/D/| F>G A/c/d/e/|f>g a/g/f/d/|cA c>B|A/GF/G/ A/G/F/D/|F>G A/c/d/e/| f3g a/g/f/d/|c>Ac c/d/e/|f>g f/e/d/c/|d>e c/A/G/F/|A>GFG|FFF||



BIRD ALONE [1], THE. Irish, Slow Air (2/4 time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. "In Stanford-Petrie there are two airs with this name, both different from the one given here." Joyce also gives one line of an old song set to the tune:

If my Peggy leaves me for ever, I'll be a bird alone.

A version of the tune, obtained from the music manuscript collection of collector John Edward Pigot (1822-1871), was entered into Book 2 of the large mid-19th century music manuscript of County Cork uilleann piper and Church of Ireland cleric James Goodman (musicologist) (1828-1896).


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Hugh O'Beirne, professional piper[1] Ballinamore, south County Leitrim, 1846, via County Cork collector William Forde (1795-1850) [Joyce].

Printed sources : - Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Song), 1909; No. 603, p. 312.






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  1. P.W. Joyce concluded that O'Beirne had been a fiddler in his Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909, p. 296). However, William Forde, the only collector who had direct contact with O'Beirne, wrote in a letter to John Windele of Cork, dated Sept. 21, 1846, that he had obtained over 150 airs from a piper, Huge Beirne. Forde was seeking to supplement his collection with music from Connaught and the north, and was glad to make the musician's acquaintance, staying on in Ballinamore longer than he originally planned. He also found O'Beirne in poor health in the time of Great Famine, writing "Stirabout and bad potatoes were working fatally on a sinking frame," and aided the piper by improving his diet ("but a mutton chop twice a day has changed Hugh's face wonderfully").
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