Contradiction Reel (2) (The)

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X:1 T:Contradiction Reel [2], The 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. 59) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D c|dcBA BEEc|dcdA FDDc|dcBA dgfe|dcdA FDDf:| gebe geef|gebe fddf|gebe gebe|dcdA FDDf| gebe geef|gebe fddf|ebgb egfe|dcdA FD D2||



CONTRADICTION REEL [2], THE. Irish, Reel. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The reel was collected in the Slieve Gullion region of south County Armagh and contained in a manuscript possessed 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). 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).

Donnellan's "Contradiction Reel" is not musically related to "Contradiction Reel (1) (The)," which is the tune usually known by that title today. However, it does indicate the title was in circulation probably in the late 19th century, at least in Ulster.


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

Printed sources : - Donnellan (Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, vol. II, No. 2), 1909; No. 59. O'Connor (The Rose in the Gap), 2018; No. 21, p. 35.






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  1. Donnellan researcher Gerry O'Connor is of the opinion that the ms. is not the work of Donnellan, even though he was a fiddler. Rather, O'Connor believes it was the work of an unknown but able fiddler who collected it over the course of a lifetime, and that the ms. came into the possession of Donnellan at some point.
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