Girls Have You Seen George?

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GIRLS, HAVE YOU SEEN GEORGE? AKA - "A chailíní an bhfaca tú Seóirse?," "Conchubhar Mhac Coiréibhe," "Conor Macareavy." Irish, Air (3/4 time). A Minor (Mulholland): E Minor (Bunting, Clinton). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Clinton): AB (Bunting): AABBCCDDEEFF (Mulholland). A comic song in which the elderly protagonist keeps getting younger, enjoying the company of women, good brew, and tobacco. Edward Bunting (1840) printed the air as "Conchobhar Mac Areibhe/Connor Mac Areavy," collected from Cornelius Lyons (who also supplied variation sets), Lord Antrim's harper and a friend of Turlough Carolan. Lyons was one of the last harpers to play and compose in the pure old style, although only one of his compositions, "Miss Hamilton (1)" survives (although his variation sets to other tunes such as "Coolin/Coolun (The)" and "Eileen Aroon (1)" also can be found).

Source for notated version: Cornelius Lyons [Bunting]. The following is from the Irish-American Almanac (1875, pp. 70-71):

He was...a man of good manners and attainments; and Lord Antrim, being a wit and a poet, found great pleasure in Lyons's company. The following humourous anecdote of their intimacy is told:-- The Earl and Lyons, when in London, arranged a plan for an adventure at a tavern in that city, kept by a famous Irish harper named Heffernan. "I will call you Cousin Burke," said the Earl to Lyons, and do you call me Cousin Randal." They went to the tavern, and after regaling for some time, called for Heffernan, desiring he would bring his harp and give the gentlemen "his company," which Heffernan did, and played a good many tunes in grand style. The room was filled; and when Heffernan had ceased, and the cheering which followed had subsided, the Earl called upon his "Cousin Burke" to play a tune. The supposed cousin, after many apologies, at length took the harp and commenced playing one of his best airs, with a boldness and brilliancy which called forth uproarious applause. Heffernan started to his feet, and turning to Lord Antrim, cried out, "You may call him Cousin Burke, or whatever cousin you like, but dar Diah, he plays upon Lyons's fingers." Heffernan had never see or heard Lyons before, but he was acquainted with his name and manner.



Printed sources: Bunting (A General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland), 1796; No. 6, p. 4. Bunting (Ancient Music of Ireland), 1840; No. 30. Clinton (Gems of Ireland: 200 Airs), 1841; No. 102, p. 50. Mulholland (Ancient Irish Airs), 1810; pp. 36-39.

Recorded sources: Dorian Records DOR-90021, Baltimore Consort – "The Road from Erin: Ireland's Musical Legacy" (2011). Dorian Records DOR-90279, Baltimore Consort – "The Mad Buckgoat: Music of Ireland" (2011).




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