Annotation:Happy to Meet Sorry to Part

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X:1 T:Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig K:G dBB BAB|GEF G2A|Bee dBA|B2B gfe| dBB BAB|GEF G2A|Bee dBA|BGG G3:| |:g2g fed|Bdd def|g2g fed|Bee e2f| g2g fed|Bdd def|gfg eag|fef gfe:||

HAPPY TO MEET {AND SORRY TO PART} ("Is sultmar an casad's/teagmail's uaigneac an sgarad/scaramain" or "Ríméad ar chastáil"). AKA and see "Barrel Rafferty," "Conlon's Jig (2)," "Jemmie/Jemmy the Gom," "My Love in the Morning," "Sorry to Part," "Wake Jig (The)." Irish (originally), New England; Double Jig (6/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Cole, O'Neill/1915): AABB (Breathnach, Flaherty, Miller & Perron, Morrison, Tubridy): AABA (Howe): AABB' (O'Neill/1850 & 1001): AA'BB' (Taylor). Breathnach (1976) thought the tune related to "You'll Go a Hunting No More." O'Neill could find no previously published version in Irish sources, though he did find one printing in an American volume of miscellaneous dance music. He explained how he came to his version of the tune, soon after arriving in Chicago, writing:

To Bob Spence, a fellow boarder, in 1870, I am indebted for our setting of "Happy to Meet and Sorry to Part," a grand and spirited double jig not fund in any pervious Irish collections, although printed in one American volume of miscellaneous dance music. Spence was a devoted student, and while he patiently sawed away on his fiddle, a receptive memory enabled me to learn his tune and retain it.[1]

The 'miscellaneous volume' O'Neill referred was Boston publisher Elias Howe's 1000 Jigs and Reels (c. 1867, which included many Irish compositions, along with Scotch, American and "Ethiopian" melodies), easily found in a section of tunes from the playing of Jimmy Norton, "The Boss Jig Player." Norton was presumably a band-leader or principal instrumentalist in the eastern Massachusetts area in the mid-1800's. Paul Wells says "Norton is easily traced in [Boston city] directories from the early 1860's to the early 1890's. Often his business address was the same as [Boston music publisher Elias] Howe's" [2]. Paul de Grae, in his notes on sources of the tune in the O'Neill collections, remarks that O'Neill's setting is very close to the one printed by Howe (also, with the difference of one note from Howe, in Ryan's Mammoth Collection):

No doubt here, as elsewhere, O'Neill used a printed setting as the basis for his own, altering it only as necessary to conform with his own memory of how the tune was played, or indeed (and why not?) his own taste for how it should be played.[3]

Paul de Grae notes that "Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again' is a significant phrase among Freemasons, being an old Masonic toast and part of the chorus of a "Masonic Ode"."

See also the related "Priest's Jig"/"Port an tSagairt" and the slip jig "My Mind Will Never be Easy." "You'll Go a Hunting No More" is a a more distanced member of the tune "Happy to Meet" tune family. Compare also with the Cape Breton jig "Winston at Glenville Hall," which is similar in structure and has some superficial melodic similarity (mostly between the first two measures). It's hard to establish a relationship between the two.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Breathnach (Ceol Rince na hEireann vol. II), 1976; No. 28, p. 17. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 55. Flaherty (Trip to Sligo), 1990; p. 102. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 50. Howe (Musician's Omnibus No. 6), Boston, c. 1880-1882; p. Miller & Perron (New England Fiddlers Repertoire), 1983; No. 23. James Morrison (How to Play the Globe Accordion Irish Style), 1931; No. 15, p. 22. O'Neill (O'Neill's Irish Music), 1915; No. 177, p. 97. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 807, p. 150. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 78, p. 29. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 83. Taylor (Music for the Sets: Blue Book), 1995; p. 30. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, vol. 1), 1999; p. 30.

Recorded sources : - Cló Iar Chonnachta CICD 165, John Wynne & John McEvoy - "Pride of the West" (2007. Learned from Roscommon flute player Patsy Hanly, who had the tune from fiddle and flute player John Joe Gardiner of Ballymote, County Sligo). RCA 60939, Chieftains - "Another Country."

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Ng's [3]

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  1. Francis O'Neill, Irish Folk Music: A Fasinating Hobby, p. 101
  2. PAUL F. WELLS (2010). Elias Howe, William Bradbury Ryan, and Irish Music in Nineteenth-Century Boston. Journal of the Society for American Music, 4, p. 417.
  3. Paul de Grae, "Sources of tunes in O'Neill's Music of Ireland and Dance Music of Ireland", 2017.