John McGrath's Composition

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JOHN McGRATH'S COMPOSITION. AKA and see "Andy McGann's No. 2," "John McGrath's Reel." Irish, Reel. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Composed by New York musician John McGrath, and, according to Luke O'Malley and others, the only composition that can reliably be attributed to him (although there have been claims for others-see "Providence (The)"). McGrath was originally from Rossport, County Mayo, and played the fiddle until and accident cost him some of his fingers, whereupon he switched to the accordion and mastered the instrument. He was an important Irish music teacher in the Bronx (a contemporary of Michael Coleman's), and a fixture of the New York Irish music scene until his death in the mid-1950's. The tune is sometimes called "Andy McGann's" and has even been mistakenly attributed to that New York fiddler on some albums. McGrath's student, Luke O'Malley, give it pride of place in his 1976 collection, where it appears as the first melody in the volume.

John McGrath (d. 1955)



Source for notated version: New York fiddler John McGrath (1900-1955, originally from County Mayo) [O'Brien, O'Malley].

Printed sources: O'Brien (Traditional Irish Music). O'Malley (Luke O'Malley's Collection of Irish Music, vol. 1),1976; No. 1, p. 1.

Recorded sources: Chonnachta CICD 173, Brian Conway - "Consider the Source" (2008). Folkways F 8876, Kevin Burke - "Sweeney's Dream" (1978). Smithsonian Folkways SFW CD 40481, Brian Conway - "First Through the Gate" (2002. Learned from New York fiddler Andy McGann).




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