Funny Tailor (The)

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X:1 T:Funny Tailor, The M:6/8 L:1/8 S:O'Neill - Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems (1907), No. 960 Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G B/A/|GED GAB|GBA G2G|G2A Bcd|efg fed| e2B d2A|Bcd efg|fed g2B| DBA GED|GAB GBA|G2G G2A|Bcd efg| fed g2B|dBA GED|GAB GBA|G2G G2||



FUNNY TAILOR, THE ("Tailliuir an magaid" or "Gaueger meisceach (An)"). AKA and see "Lark in the Clear Air (2)," "Return Home (1) (The)." Irish, Set Dance (3/8, 6/8 or 9/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). In modern times The Funny Tailor is one of the jig-time set dances performed in competitions sponsored by An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelachha (The Irish Dance Commission, Dublin). Instead of a traditional pattern of steps, however, each dance teacher choreographs original steps for their students to dance this tune to. Among dancers, it is also referred to as The Drunken Gauger, although there is another unrelated set dance tune by that name and there is some resultant confusion between the tunes for that reason.

P.W. Joyce (Ancient Irish Music, 1873) writes: "We have a class of Irish airs, each phrase of which consists of the unusual number of five bars. To this class belong Bunting's air 'Pretty Red Girl (2) (The)', (known in Munster as 'Banathee haive'); 'Red Haired Man's Wife (1) (The)', 'Drahareen-o-machree', (p. 39 of this book); and many others. Most of them are slow tunes; but a few like the present are quick. Some would perhaps reduce tunes like this to six-eight time, by doubling the length of every fifth bar (which could be done by prolonging the crotchet to the length of five quavers, i.e. dotted crotchet and crotchet); but to do so in the present case, would be simply to falsify the tune. The set dance was adapted to it in the way in which I give it here." Paul de Grae concludes:

The strategy here complained of by Joyce is precisely that adopted by Petrie, except that Petrie opts for 9/8 time. O'Neill, though opting for 6/8 time rather than Joyce's preferred 3/8, does not alter the length of each phrase by adding a dotted crotchet [quarter note], as Petrie does; thus, although his melody differs in places from Joyce's, O'Neill may be considered closer to the present tune, with three five-bar phrases of 6/8, making fifteen bars in total[1].

De Grae also points out the set dance "Blackthorn Stick (2)" is of a similar structure to "The Funny Tailor", with three five-bar phrases of 6/8, making fifteen bars in total.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Joyce (Ancient Irish Music), 1873; No. 69, pp. 70-71. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 960, p. 165. Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 594, p. 150. Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 1517, p. 379. Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 594, p. 150.






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  1. Paul de Grae, “Notes on Sources of Tunes in the O’Neill Collections”, 2017 [1].