Kate Kearney

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KATE KEARNEY. AKA and see "When the cock crows it is day (3)," "Big Bow Wow," "Beardless Boy (The)," "Dissipated Youth (1) (The)," "Giolla na Scriob," "Seanbhean Chrion an Drantain," "Ta an Coileach ag Fogairt an Lae (2)." Irish, Air or Waltz. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Roche, O'Neill): AABC (Ford), ABC (O'Neill): AABBCCDD (O'Farrell). The song "Kate Kearney" was written by Lady Morgan, however, the melody previously appeared as "Beardless Boy (The)" in Bunting (1796) and again in Bunting (1809) as "Dissipated Youth (1) (The)". Murphy's Irish Airs and Jigs (1809) gave the title as "Kate Martin." O'Farrell (c. 1810) set the tune in 6/8 time. O'Neill remarks on the melody in Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody (1922), noting that it was "a waning favorite":

Long before Lady Morgan wrote the words of "Kate Kearney", the melody was known. As "The Beardless Boy" it was printed in Bunting's General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music (1796) and again as "The Disipated Youth" in A General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland published in 1809. In the latter year it appeared also as "Kate Martin" in Murphy's Irish Airs and Jigs. As a waltz tune "Kate Kearney" had but one drawback--it lacked a serviceable second part or strain. This, however, was supplied by some orchesta leader, but it was essentially German in composition, and devoid of any trace of Irish feeling. O'Farrell, a celebrated Irish piper, who published in London six small volumes of music suitable for his instrument--1797 to 1810--attempted two variations on "Kate Kearney" with indifferent success. [pp. 134-135]

The Lady Morgan whom O'Neill references is an Irish writer, born Sydney Owerson [1] (c. 1776-1859), who wrote verses to Irish airs that she collected.

Lady Morgan

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Clinton (Gems of Ireland: 200 Airs), 1841; No. 11, p. 6. Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; p. 138. P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs, vol. 1), New York, 1858; No. 8, p. 3. O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. IV), c. 1810; p. 132. O'Flannagan (The Hibernia Collection), Boston, 1860; p. 16. O'Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 263, p. 46. Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 3), 1927; No. 166, p. 58. Saunders (New and Complete Instructor for the Violin), Boston, 1847; No. 66, p. 37.

Recorded sources:




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