Gramachree

Find traditional instrumental music
Jump to: navigation, search

Back to Gramachree


X:1 T:Gramachree M:C L:1/8 B:Straight and Skillern – Two Hundred and Four Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1 (c. 1775, No. 87, p. 44) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D D|(A>B)A>F (B>c){e}d>{c}B|(A>F)(D>F) (E>D)(E>F)|(A>B)(A>F) (B>c){e}(d>{c}B)| (A>F)(E>F) D/D/D D:||{Bc}|d>cd>e .d.c.B.A|(B>A)(d>F) (A>B)(A>F)| {Bc}d>cd>e .d.c.B.A.|(B>A)(d>F) [F4A4]|{Bc}d>cB>A B>cd>g| [g}f/e/f/g/ a>f e>de>f|d>c.B.A (B>d)(g>b)|a>fe>f d/d/d d||



GRAMACHREE. AKA and see "Will You Go to Flanders?," "Harp that Once (The)," "Molly Asthore," "Little Molly O!," "Graidh Mo Chroidhe," "Gramachree Molly," "Maid in Bedlam." Irish, Air (4/4 time). G Major (Thompson): D Major (Mulhollan, Straight & Skillern). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Mulhollan): AB (O'Farrell): AAB (Straight & Skillern): AABBCC (Colclough). "Gramachree" is an air dating from the time of the Confederation of Kilkenny (1642-1648) as it is alluded to in a pamphlet in Dublin in 1737, and "purloined," asserts musicologist Grattan Flood (1906), by Scottish cellist-composer James Oswald in 1742. However, provenance is debated, and their are Scottish claims to the melody as well (see the excellent discussion in James Hogg, ‎Peter Garside and ‎Peter Horsfall's The Forest Minstrel, 2006, p. 250 [1]). Published versions of the tune can be found in the latter eighteenth century publications Thompson's Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances and in volume one of Straight and Skillern's Two Hundred and Four Favourite Country Dances (London, c. 1775). It was featured in Thomas Linley's comic opera The Duenna; or, Double Elopement, staged in London in 1775.

The song "Gramachree" is by the Rt. Hon. George Ogle (1742-1814), who represented the City of Dublin in Grattan's Parliament and voted against the Union with Britain. 'Gramachree' is an Englished version of the Irish Grá Mo Croi (Graidh mo chroidhe), or 'love of my heart.' The song appears in Songs of the Gael, 1st series (1922), and begins:

As down by Banna's banks I strayed
One evening in May,
The little birds, in blithest notes
Made vocal every spray.
They sang their little notes of love,
They sung them o'er and o'er.
Ah! Gra Machree ma Cholleen Oge,
'Shee Molly veg Mashtore!

A note to the song indicates the editor of Songs of the Gael was given his version of the air by a priest who had taken the tune down some fifty years before from "the singing of an old woman in County Carlow, who was then nearly a hundred years old. She had learned the version from her grandmother."

The air proved to be quite popular and was used for piano works by Georg Christoph Wagenseil (c. 1770), Thomas Skillern (c. 1770's) and Charles Thomas Carter (c. 1785). Prominent oboist Johann Christian Fischer (1733-1800) wrote variations on the air set for a number of instruments, "likely...composed for his own performances at the Dublin Rotunda concerts during the 1771 and 1776 seasons" [Una Hunt, "The Harper's Legacy: National Airs and Pianoforte Music" (2010)]. Thomas Moore set his song "The Harp that Once through Tara's Halls' to this air. Thomas Moore used the melody as the air for his song "The Harp that Once through Tara's Halls."

The first 'recorded' version of the melody was on a mechanical clock by the skilled craftsman Timothy Williamson of London (worked c. 1769-1790), one of four tunes played every hour; "Gramachree," "Smirking Nan," "[{Topsey Turvey]]," and a hornpipe. Williamson made clocks for the export market, primarily to China. His masterpiece was a musical clock with an automaton figure which could write Chinese characters (now housed in the Palace Museum, Beijing).

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Clinton (Gems of Ireland: 200 Airs), 1841; No. 43, p. 22. Colclough (Tutor for the Irish Union Pipes), c. 1830; p. 18. Mulhollan (Selection of Irish and Scots Tunes), Edinburgh, 1804; p. 23. O'Farrell (National Irish Music for the Union Pipes), 1804; p. 46. Straight and Skillern (Two Hundred and Four Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1), c. 1775; No. 87, p. 44.

Recorded sources: -

See also listings at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [3]



Back to Gramachree