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MARGARET MALONE. AKA - "Madge Malone." Irish, Planxty (2/4 time). A Minor (O'Sullivan): E Minor (Clinton). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Composed by blind Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738). The tune appears in Bunting's Ancient Irish Music (1796) as "Mreagud Ni Maoleoin--Madge Malone. Carolan," noted from the playing of harper Rose Mooney of County Meath., one of the harpers (and the only female) who played at the 1792 Belfast Harp Festival. Bunting also obtained versions of nine other harp melodies from her, including "Charles Coote," "Lady Blayney," "Madam Maxwell" and others. Mooney was one of the few professional women harpers at the end of the 18th century, blind since birth. The other female harper in Ulster at the time was Catherine (Kate) Martin, also of Meath, and also blind (although she could see enough to walk around without a guide).
O'Sullivan (1958) notes that the subject "is probably Margaret, daughter of John Malone of Cartrons." Margaret remained unmarried, but O'Sullivan believes she was known to Carolan.
Source for notated version: Edward Bunting's A General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music (1796, p. 20) [O'Sullivan].
Printed sources: Clinton (Gems of Ireland: 200 Airs), 1841; No. 135, p. 68. Complete Collection of Carolan's Irish Tunes, 1984; No. 98, p. 75. O'Sullivan (Carolan: The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper), 1958; No. 98, p. 153.