Annotation:Mac Suibhne's Reel

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MAC SUIBHNE'S REEL. Irish, Reel. Ireland, County Donegal. Caoimhin Mac Aoidh (1994) relates that the famous Donegal fiddlers, Mickey and John Doherty, spun the tale that their father (who was a fiddler also) on his death-bed asked for his fiddle and proceeded to play "Mac Suibhne's Reel." His playing was so masterful, even at the end, that the tip of his bow whistled (a mark of accomplished musicianship which the Dohertys said happened regularly in the old man's playing), and, finished with the tune, he directed the fiddle be hung back up on the wall. When he died shortly thereafter the fiddle burst into pieces, never to be played again. Mac Aoidh points out that the shattering of the fiddle upon death is a bit of supernatural lore commonly found in the British Isles, where musicianship was once thought to have been divinely inspired.

John Doherty

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