Finnegan's Wake

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FINNEGAN'S WAKE (Torran UíFinnguine). AKA - "Tim Finnegan's Wake." AKA and see "Bhean Spáinneach (An)," "Doran's Ass," "French Musician (The)," "Paddy Doyle," "Spanish Lady (The)." Irish, New England; Air (cut time), Polka or March (2/4). D Major (Mallinson, Miller & Perron, Taylor): C Major (O'Neill): G Major (Tubridy). Standard tuning. AB (O'Neill): AABB (Mallinson, Miller & Perron, Taylor. Tubridy). A tune derived from a comic "stage-Irish" song, which Bayard (1981) says was known in Pennsylvania as a folk song called "Dolan's Ass." The first part of the tune, he observes, is perhaps older than the second. Cazden (et al, 1982) report that Edwin Ford Piper gives 1884 as the date for the first appearance of the song "Finnegan's Wake," while Charles Kennedy uses the date of about 1870 for the piece he identifies as an "Irish-American vaudeville" work. The sheet music was listed as published in New York by Wm. A. Pond Co. in 1864, while a different reference from the same year names the air to the song as "The French Musician." The Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol. IV, p. 294, gives three sets of the air, two from the early 18th century and one from camp meeting spirituals known in Britain and the U.S. (all sets resemble the first strain of "Finnegan's Wake"). The song "Willie Taylor" is sometimes sung to this tune in Ireland.

Source for notated version: Hiram Horner (Westmoreland and Fayette Counties, Pa., 1960), Henry Yeager (Centre County, Pa., 1930's), Fred Miller and Glen Gelnette (Jefferson County, Pa., 1949) [Bayard]; set dance music recorded at Na Píobairí Uilleann, late 1980's [Taylor].

Printed sources: Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 184A-C, pp. 140-141. Hopkins (American Veteran Fifer), 1905, No. 62. Mallinson (100 Irish Polkas), 1997; No. 93, p. 36. Miller & Perron (New England Fiddler's Repertoire), 1983; No. 57. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 265, p. 46. Ostling (Music of '76), 1939; p. 23. Roche Collection vol 2; 1913; No 298 (4th figure and 1st tune of a quadrille). Taylor (Music for the Sets: Blue Book), 1995; p. 21. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, vol. 2), 1999; p. 6.

Recorded sources:

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




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