Black Headed Dearie

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X:1 T:Can duh Dilish M:6/4 L:1/8 R:Air B:Neal – Collection of the Most Celebrated Irish Tunes (1724, p. 16) K:Dmin A4c2 d4e2|f3g f2 Te4d2|c2A2f2 Te4d2|c2A2d2 D6| F3G F2 c2A2c2|dcdefg Te4d2|c2A2 GF G3A G2|F2D2D2 D6:| |:Tf4g2 a4b2|Tg4f2 e2d2c2|f2e2d2 g2f2e2|a2g2f2 e2d2c2| Tf4 g2 a3bab|g4 f2 efed c2|fgfefd gagfge| abagaf gfed c2|a2 bagf g2 agfe|f2 gfed e2 fedc| abagaf gagfge|fgfefd efedec|d2D2D2 D2E2F2| F2G2A2A2B2c2|c2C2C2 C2D2E2|F2G2A2A A2B2c2|d2D2E2 F3GA2|A2G2A2 D6:|]



BLACK HEADED DEARIE ("Ceann Dubh Dílis," "Clean Dubh Delish," "Cran Dubh Delish," or "Cean Dub Oilir"). AKA - "Black Haired Darling." AKA and see "Auld Jew (The)," "Old Jew (The)," "Love and the Novice," "Irish Round (The)," "Kennington Wells." Irish, Air or March (3/4, 6/4 or 6/8 {"airily"} time). D Mixolydian (O'Sullivan/Bunting): D Major (O'Neill): D Minor/Dorian (Haverty, Mulhollan, O'Neill): E Minor (Gow, Wright). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (most air versions): AAB (Gow, O'Neill – march version, Wright). This beautiful air is thought to have been composed in Ireland during the first decade of the 17th century or earlier, and early versions were often set in a minor key (though the great Irish collector Edward Bunting maintains "it was sung by the peasantry to this day" {i.e. around 1840} in the mixolydian mode). In England it was known as "Irish Round (The)" or "Kennington Wells" and was printed by London publisher John Young in the 1710 edition of his Second Volume of the Dancing Master (p. 146); in Scotland it was called "Auld Jew (The)." In addition to the printed sources listed below, Bunting finds the tune in a "small collection of Irish airs, published about 1726 by Neal, of Christ Church Yard, Dublin...and by Burke Thumouth as well as Oswald in his Caledonian Pocket Companion." O'Neill (Music of Ireland) prints the air in major and minor keys and then renders the tune as a major key march.

John Mulholland printed it in his Ancient Irish Airs (Belfast, 1810) under the title "Cean dubh dilios" (Black but lovely), which, in translation, is a different tune than the similar-sounding title "Black but Comely".

A 19th-century English translation by Sir Samuel Ferguson of the original Irish lyrics was published as "Cean Dubh Deelish," and has since been included in many Irish poetry compilations.

Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) claimed the melody was appropriated by the Irish from an old Gaelic air popular in the Highlands, called "Oran-gaoil" (see note for that tune for his remarks).

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - the index to the Irish collector Edward Bunting's 1840 collection states the piece was noted from "T. Conlan in 1831."

Printed sources : - Brysson (Curious Collection of Favourite Tunes), 1791; No. 19{a} (appears as "The Old Jew"). D'Urfey (Pills to Purge Melancholy, vol. 2), 1719; pp. 14–16 (appears as "A Consolatory Ode to Her Majesty"). Gow (Second Collection of Niel Gow's Reels), 1788; p. 30 (3rd ed. Appears as "Ceann Dubh Dileas"). P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs, vol. 3), 1859; No. 205, p. 98. Holden (A Collection of Old Established Irish Slow and Quick Tunes, vol. 2), No. 13 (appears as "Ceann Dubh Deelish"). Smollet Holden (Collection of favourite Irish Airs), London, c. 1841; p. 13. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867, 2001 (Mel Bay reissue); p. 102 (appears as "Cean Dubh Delish"). McFadden (Repository of Scots and Irish Airs), c. 1796. Mulhollan (A Selection of Irish and Scots Tunes), Edinburgh, 1804; p. 37. Neal (A Collection of the Most Celebrated Irish Tunes), 1724; p. 16 (appears as "Can dubh dilish"). O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. 1), c. 1805; pp. 34–35 (appears as "Curra Koun Dilish"). O'Flannagan (The Hibernia Collection), Boston, 1860; p. 24. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; Nos. 453, 454 & 1836, pp. 79 & 345. O'Sullivan/Bunting (Bunting's Ancient Music of Ireland), 1983; No. 101, pp. 146–148. Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 1062. Thompson (The Hibernian Muse), c. 1770–1790; No. 56, p. 34 (appears as "Curri Kown Dilich"). Walker (Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards), No. 31 (appears as "Cur do cheann dilis – Lay the dear head"). Wright (Aria di Camera), c. 1727; No. 62, p. 48 (appears as "Can dubh dilich").

Recorded sources: -RCA 09026-61490-2, The Chieftains – "The Celtic Harp" (1993).



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