Annotation:Major (3) (The)

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X:1 T:Mayjor [3], The M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig S:Geoghegan - Compleat Tutor for the Pastoral or New Bagpipe (c. 1745-46) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Dmix TF2D D/F/A/D/ | DF/G/A/D/ EFG | F2D DF/G/A/D/ | GEC EFG :| |: FDA ABc | (B/c/d)B (A/B/c)A | FDA Bdc | B2E EFG | FDA ABc | (B/c/d)B (A/B/c)A | TB2G F/G/AF | GEC EFG :| |: FED dcd | AFD EFG | FED cBc | GEC EFG :| |: (B/c/e)B (A/B/c)A | G/A/BG F/G/AF | B/c/dB A/B/cA |B2E EFG | B/c/dB A/B/cA | G/A/BG F/G/AF | dcB A/B/cF | GEC EFG :| |: AFD DF/G/AD | AFD EFG | AFD A(F/G/A/F/) | GEC EFG :| |: A(F/G/A/F/) cBA | dcB A/B/cB | F/GAF (B/c/d)c | {c}B2E EFG | A(F/G/A/F/) cBA | dcB A/B/cA | F/G/AF cAF | GEC EFG :| |: D/D/Dd D/D/DF | D/D/DF EFG | D/D/DA D/D/DF |GEC EFG :|

MAJOR [3], THE. AKA and see "Mooncoin Jig (The)," "Nelly Cusack." Irish, English; Jig (6/8 time). A Major (Hime, Mulhollan, O'Farrell, Thompson): G Major (Geoghegan). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Thompson): AABBCC (Hime): AABBCCDD (Kennedy, O'Farrell): AABBCCDDEEFFGG (Geoghegan): AABBCCDDEEFFGGHHIIJJKKLLMMNNOOPPQQRRSSTTUUVV (Mulhollan). The tune was widespread in Britain and Ireland, from the 1730's on, albeit under various titles. The melody first appears as "The Major" in [Daniel] Wright's Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances, vol. 2, published in London by John Johnson in 1742. Mulhollan (Edinburgh, 1804) identifies the tune's provenance as "Irish," and it was printed in Samuel, Ann & Peter Thompson's collection of Irish tunes, The Hibernian Muse (1787). Irish variants can be found under the titles "Mooncoin Jig (The)," and, from the mid-19th century James Goodman manuscripts, "Nelly Cusack."

Templeogue, County Dublin, was the site of a celebrated spa in the 18th century (remembered in today's placename, Spawell), where dances were held in the morning, attracting a fashionable crowd. "The Major" was a specialty of a "Miss Smalley", one of the celebrated beauties there who vied for attention[1]. .

"The Major" also was entered into the 1762 music copybook of Cumbrian musician Joseph Barnes. "Major (1) (The)" is a Northumbrian variant of the same tune. First strains of the tune tend to be the same, second strains differ, perhaps the result of the numerous variation settings of the tune. "Kilfenora Jig (3)", the signature tune of the famous céilí band from County Clare, is thought to be a derivative of the "Ur" melody "The Major [3]" [2].

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1), 1782; No. 141, p. 49. Geoghegan (Compleat Tutor for the Pastoral or New Bagpipe), c. 1745–46; p. 25. Hime (Forty Eight Original Irish Dances Never Before Printed with Basses), Dublin, 1804; No. 5. Kennedy (Fiddler's Tune-Book: Jigs & Quicksteps, Trips & Humours), 1997; No. 111, p. 28. Mulhollan (Selection of Irish and Scots Tunes), Edinburgh, 1804; p. 46. O'Farrell (Pocket Companion), c. 1805; p. 24. Samuel, Ann & Peter Thompson (The Hibernian Muse), London, 1787, No. 83, p. 51. Thumoth (12 Scotch and 12 Irish Airs), 1748; No. 6, p. 36–37. Walsh (Compleat Country Dancing-Master, vol. 6), 1754; p. 166.

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng's [2]

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  1. Seán Donnelly, "A German Dulcimer Player in Eighteenth-Century Dublin", Dublin Historical Record Vol. 53, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), p. 81
  2. ibid