Blacksmith’s March (The)

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X:1 T:Blacksmith’s March, The T:His Son 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. 90) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G G2 BG AGBG|GABG A2 FD|G2 BG AGBG|(3EFE ED (3EFE EF| G2 BG AGBG|GABG A2 FD|GFED EGFA|(3DED DE (3DED DF|| K:D c|defd cBAc|BABG A2 FD|defd cBAc|(3EFE EF (3EFE Ec| defd cBAc|BABG A2 FD|GFED EGFA|(3DED DE (3DED D2||

BLACKSMITH'S MARCH, THE. AKA - "His Son." Irish, Reel (can be played as a Highland). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The title may be "Blacksmith's March or his Son". There is a song air in collector William Forde's collection with a similar title called "Blacksmith and His Son (The)," although it is a different melody.

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)[1]. 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).

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

Printed sources : - Donnellan (Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, vol. II, No. 2), 1909; No. 90. O'Connor (The Rose in the Gap), 2018; No. 113, p. 70.

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  1. Donnellan researcher Gerry O'Connor came to believe the ms. is not the work of the curate but rather was originally compiled by an unknown but able fiddler over the course of a playing lifetime, probably in the late 19th century. The ms. later came into the possession of Donnellan, who was also a fiddler.