Irish Hautboy (The)
X:1 T:Irish Hautboy, The M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Country Dance Tune B:Aird – Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1 (1782, No. 14, p. 5) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G D>EGA|B2B2|c2 BA|BG E2|DEGA|B2B2|AGAB|GGG2:| |:gfed|efge|dcBA|BG E2|gfed|efge|dcBA|GG G2:|]
IRISH HAUTBOY, THE (An Fioeog Éirinneac). AKA - "The Irish Hoboy." AKA and see "Lisdoonvarna Reel," "Mary Donlevy," "Smuggler's Reel," "Tadhg a Rúin." Irish, Air (4/4 time). G Major (most versions): D Major (Howe). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. From the latter 18th century, at least. A hautboy (or 'hoboy') is an oboe, but it is possible the title refers to the uilleann pipes, another double-reed instrument. A simplified form of the melody is contained in the Joseph Kershaw manuscript. Kershaw was a fiddler who lived in Slackcote, Saddleworth, North West England, in the 19th century, and his manuscript dates from around 1820 onwards. The tune appears to have been first published in London by Longman, Lukey and Broderip in 1776 in Bride's Favourite Collection of 200 Select Country Dances, Cotillons. It appears in a few other period publications, and in several musicians' manuscript collections on both sides of the Atlantic, including London musician Thomas Hammersley's c. 1790 copybook, the c. 1792 Scottish John Carter copybook, American fluter Henry Beck's manuscript (1786), and Shelburne, Nova Scotia, flute player (Ensign) Thomas Molyneaux's collection of 1788, among others.
Irish collector and antiquarian George Petrie (1790-1866, in his Petrie Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland, 1855, pp. 162-163) said of it:
There are not many Irish tunes better known...but this popularity, it is probable, is much less ascribable to the perception of its tender sweetness than to the rude enjoyment afforded by the very objectionable and ill-suited Irish song, to which for the last two centuries it has been coupled, and which has given to it the only name by which it is now known. Mr. Curry, indeed, tells me that he has seen an Irish political song, which was written to it, about the year 1770, but of which he has no copy, and can now only remember a line or two. The air has already been published, but in a very rude way, in a small collection of Irish melodies called "The Hibernian Muse", and it has been made a popular reel tune by the Irish fiddlers.