Blind Mary

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X:1 T:Blind Mary M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Air B:P.M. Haverty – One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 3 (1859, No. 272, p. 135) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D "Moderato"A|[F2d2] d>c|{c}[D2B2] (AF/G/)|(A>B) (AF)|[C3E3] (F/G/)| (Af) (f>e)|(dB) (AD/E/)|F>G {F}(E>D)|D3||(d/e/)| (f>g) (fB)|(e>c) (AB/c/)|(d>D) (DE/D/)|[C3E3] (A/G/)| (F>G) (Ad)|(f>e) (dD/E/)|(F>G) {F}(E>D)|D3||



BLIND MARY (Máire Dhall). Irish, Planxty ("very slow" air in 2/4 time, O'Neill: 4/4 time, Joyce & Vallely). D Major (Johnson; Ó Canainn, O'Neill {2 editions}, O'Sullivan, Vallely): F Major (Joyce): G Major (Sing Out). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Ó Canainn, Sing Out): AB (Johnson, Joyce, O'Neill, O'Sullivan, Vallely). The tune is attributed to blind Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738), although Donal O'Sullivan, in his definitive work on the bard, could find no incontrovertible evidence of its origin. It was copied by Chief Fancis O'Neill from Co. Cork collector William Forde's two-volume Encyclopaedia of Melody (c. 1845), which carried the attribution to O'Carolan. Unfortunately, only the first volume survives (in the O'Neill papers donated to Notre Dame University), and it is presumed that "Blind Mary" is in the second, a copy of which has not been located in Ireland, Britain or the United States. Donal O'Sullivan (1958) does not think the piece characteristic of O'Carolan's melodies, and "But for Forde's high authority we should hardly be justified in including it" in his collected O'Carolan works. If Carolan did compose the tune, it was probably for another blind harper named Máire Dhall (Blind Mary) who lived in his locality, and whom he undoubtedly knew. Máire Dhall was a professional harper (one of the few women recorded as being in the profession) who taught another blind woman, Rose Mooney, who appeared at the Belfast Harp Meeting of 1792, one of the last gatherings of ancient Irish harpers (Sanger & Kinnaird, Tree of Strings, 1992). Harper Charles O'Conor's diary mentions that in October, 1726, his two younger brothers were learning harp from a woman harper named Máire Dhall. The tune appears to have been recently popular with flute players.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Miss Ellen Phelan, Cork [Joyce].

Printed sources : -Complete Collection of Carolan's Irish Tunes, 1984; No. 182, p. 127. P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 3), 1859; No. 272, p. 135. S. Johnson (The Kitchen Musician No. 3: Carolan), 1983 (revised 1991, 2001); p. 8. Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 814, p. 396. Ó Canainn (Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland), 1995; No. 56, p. 50. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 233. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 655, p. 117. O'Sullivan (Carolan: The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper), 1958; No. 182. Sing Out, vol. 35, No. 2, Spring 1990; p. 24. Vallely (Learn to Play the Fiddle with Armagh Pipers Club), 197?; p. 24.

Recorded sources: -Claddagh Records CC18, Derek Bell - "Carolan's Receipt" (197?). Island ISLP9432, The Chieftains - "Bonaparte's Retreat" (1976). Shanachie 79013, Derek Bell - "Carolan's Receipt" (1987).

See also listings at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [2]



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