Annotation:Byrne's Hornpipe (3)

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X:1 T:Birnes Hornpipe T:Byrne's Hornpipe [3] M:C L:1/8 R:Hornpipe B:J. Anderson - Anderson's Budget of Strathspeys, Reels & Country Dances B:for the German Flute or Violin (Edinburgh, 1820, p. 20) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:D (A/B/c/)|(dA).F.A (BG).E.G|(FA) d4 c2|B2 (gf) (fe)(ed)|c2 A2 A3G| (FA).B.c (dA).G.F|Edcd ecAg|fgaf bgec|d2d2d2|| (fe)|(df).b.a (gf).e.d|(ce).a.g. (fe).d.c|Bdgf edcd|B2B2 B3c| d2 (de) dAGF|Edcd ecAg|fgaf bgec|d2d2d2||

BYRNE'S HORNPIPE [3]. AKA - "Birnes Hornpipe," "Burns' Irish Hornpipe." AKA and see "Cordick's Hornpipe," "Miss Carroll's Hornpipe," "Pleasures of Hope (1)." Scottish, Irish; Hornpipe. B Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Robin Williamson (1976) speculates that the title might refer variously to a Border minstrel named Burne the Violer, a famous Irish giant named Charles Byrne (who Williamson says died in Margate at the age of twenty-three after requesting that his coffin, which measured nine feet, four inches, be thrown into the ocean because of his fears his body would be medically dissected), and finally the Irish blind fiddler Michael Byrn (who was hired by the notorious Captain Bligh at the beginning of the ill-fated voyage of The Bounty). All of which seems pure speculation for what is a fairly common name. The melody appears in Irish collector P.W. Joyce's Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909) as "Cordick's Hornpipe."

The reel was collected in the Slieve Gullion region of south County Armagh by the biography: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).

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Rev. Luke Donnellan music manuscript collection[1] [O'Connor].

Printed sources : - Anderson (Anderson's Budget of Strathspeys, Reels & Country Dances), c. 1820; p. 20 (as "Birnes Hornpipe"). Donnellan (Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, vol. II, No. 2), 1909; No. 46. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 3); No. 337, p. 36. Gerry O'Connor (The Rose in the Gap), 2018; No. 5, p. 120. Williamson (English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish Fiddle Tunes), 1976; p. 57.

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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.