Hawks Hornpipe

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HAWKS HORNPIPE ("Cornphiope Ui Eachaigh" or "Crannciuil {Ui} Sea{l}baig"). AKA and see "Hawke's Hornpipe." Irish, Hornpipe. A Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Breathnach, O'Neill/Krassen): AA'BB' (O'Neill/1850 & 1001). O'Neill (1913) remarks on the difficulty in accurately transcribing a traditional improvisational performance into standard notation. A Chicago musical colleague of O'Neill's and a contributer to his works, Uilleann piper Patsy Tuohey, tried to learn "Hawk's Hornpipe" from the famous fiddler John McFadden (born in Carromore, Westport, County Mayo), when the latter was performing in the city in 1911. The two sat down together and progressed phrase by phrase, with Touhey submitting patiently to the many minor changes according to McFadden's fancy, until he though he had the tune noted correctly. Pleased with his effort, he played it back a final time, only to have McFadden say kindly, "Let me show you, Patsy," upon which he played the it again a couple of times. "Why, man alive, that's not how you gave it to me at all! You've changed the tune again; I guess we'll let it go this time," exclaimed Tuohey, who started to play something else on his pipes. See also the related "Brian the Brave"/"Poll Ha'Penny"/"Molly MacAlpin" family of tunes.

The earliest sound recording is from the first decade of the 20th century, made by Capt. Francis O'Neill of the playing of Chicago piper Bernard Delaney.

Source for notated version: flutist Jim Conroy, 1969 (Co. Galway, Ireland) [Breathnach]; Chicago fiddler John McFadden [O'Neill].

Printed sources: Breathnach (CRÉ 2), 1976; No. 311. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 211. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1754, p. 326. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 926, p. 158.

Recorded sources: Ward Irish Music Archives WIMA 002, Bernard Delaney – "The Francis O'Neill Cylinders" (2010).




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