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EAVESDROPPER, THE (Cluas Le Eisdeacd). AKA and see "Riding on a Handcar." Irish, Double Jig. G Major (most versions): A Major (Miller). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Miller): AABB (Cranitch, Flaherty, Mallinson, O'Neill): AA'BB' (Taylor/Blue). See also the similar "Roman Wall," attributed to Borders fiddler Willie Taylor. Niel Gow's (1727-1807) "Athole Volunteers Quickstep (The)" employs a similar second strain as that of "The Eavesdropper," although this may just be musical coincidence rather than imitation. A similar musical coincidence may be seen in French-Canadian repertoire with Joseph Allard's "Gigue de la Débauche," which is also similar to "The Eavesdropper" (although it has more in common melodically with "Larry O'Gaff (1)"). O'Neill's source for the tune may have been Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883), where the exact same tune appears under the title "Riding on a Handcar."
Source for notated version: flute player James Murray (b. 1947, Ougham, outside Tubbercurry, County Sligo) [Flaherty]; set dance music recorded at Na Píobairí Uilleann in the 1980's [Taylor].
Printed sources: Cranitch (Irish Fiddle Book), 1996; No. 5, p. 126. Flaherty (Trip to Sligo), 1990; p. 174. Mallinson (100 Enduring), 1995; No. 34, p. 15. Miller (Fiddler's Throne), 2004; No. 37, p. 33. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 715, p. 133. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 17, p. 19. Peoples (Fifty Irish Fiddle Tunes), 1986; No. 29. Taylor (Music for the Sets: Yellow Book), 1995; p. 5. Taylor (Music for the Sets: Blue Book), 1995; p. 2.
Recorded sources: Green Linnet 3002, Kevin Burke & Jackie Daly - "Eavesdropper" (1981).