Little Molly O!

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LITTLE MOLLY O! (Mairin Beag O!). Irish, Air (3/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The Irish collector Edward Bunting maintains that this triple-time air was the original from which developed the famous (duple-time) "Molly Asthore" (Molly My Treasure) although Donal O'Sullivan (1983) thinks there is little evidence either way. He finds a 4/4 version of Bunting's tune in MacBean's Songs and Hymns of the Gael (1900) under the title "Mo mhali bheag og" (My Dear Little May) {along with five verses with the note "Composed by a Highland officer, who accidentally killed a lady"). The melody was played by harper James Duncan (1747-c. 1800) at the famous Belfast Harp Festival in 1792. Elderly harper Arthur O'Neill told Bunting that Duncan was born into a wealthy family and received his training on the harp as part of his education. He had a reputation as an excellent performer.

Source for notated version: Bunting noted the tune (along with "Molly Astore") from the harper Charles Fannin in 1792; O'Neill's version is copied from Bunting.

Printed sources: Bunting (Ancient Music of Ireland), 1840; No. 90, p. 67. Heymann (Legacy of the 1792 Belfast Harp Festival), 1992; p. 32. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 162, p. 28. O'Sullivan/Bunting, 1983; No. 90, pp. 134-135.

Recorded sources:




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