Miss Hamilton (1)

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X:1 T:Miss Hamilton [1] M:C L:1/8 R:Air C:"Lyons in 1706" Q:"Rather Slow and Gracefully" B:Bunting – Ancient Music of Ireland (1840, No. 107, p. 79) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G B2d2(cBAG) |(d>c) (B/c/d) D2Dz|{CD}(E2 D)-C (B,D)(GD)|{D}CB,{B,}A,G, (A,2 A,)z| (Bd){d}cB) {B}(AGAF)|(GBAG) {EF}(ED/E/) G2|(dB)(.A.G) (EF/G/)| (.D.C)|B,z A,z (G,2G,)z:| {^c}(ded)=c {cd}(cB){AB}(AG)|{^c}(ded=c) {cd}(cB){AB}(AG)|(Bdgd) (ed)(cB)|(cB)(AG) (A2A)z| (B/c/d) (cB) (AGA).F|{A}(G/F/G/A/) (BG) {EF}E(D/E/) G2|(dB)(.A.G) (E/F/G) (.D.C)|B,z A,>G, (G,2G,)z||



MISS HAMILTON [1] (Ingean Uí Amiltuin). Irish, March (4/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Abeyta, Heymann, O'Neill): AABB (O'Sullivan/Bunting). The Irish collector Edward Bunting maintained this piece was composed by one of the last of the ancient Irish harpers, Cornelius Lyons (1680-1750), harper to the Earl of Antrim, in 1706 (it is the only surviving piece attributed to him, although his variations to other tunes are extent). Lyons, from Rattoo near Ballyduff, County Kerry, was a contemporary of and friend and companion to the famous harper Turlough Carolan (1670-1738), although unlike Carolan Lyons traveled to England repeatedly to concertize. O’Neill (1913, taking his information from the Irish-American Almanac, 1875, pp. 70-71) reports that this is the only one of Lyons’ compositions to survive, but that he was famous as an arranger of variations in more ‘modern’ style to such airs as “Eileen Aroon (1)” and “Coolin/Coolun (The).” He did not know of the Miss Hamilton of the title, but speculated she was a member of the Killeagh family. Bunting also told this story about Lyons and his patron:

His lordship was both a wit and a poet, and delighted in equality where vulgarity was not too gross. At one time he and Lyons, when in London, went to the house of a famous Irish harper named Heffernan, who kept a tavern there; but beforehand they formed the following plan. 'I will call you Cousin Burke,' said his lordship. 'You may call me either Cousin Randall or My Lord, as you please.' After regaling for some time, Heffernan was called up, who was by this time well aware of the dignity of his host from the conversation and livery of his lordship's servants. When Heffernan came into the room he was desired to bring his harp and sit down, which he did, and played a good many tunes in grand style. His lordship then called upon his cousin Burke to play a tune. The supposed cousin, after many apologies, at length took the harp and played some of his best airs. Heffernan, after listening a little while, started up and exclaimed, 'My lord, you may call him Cousin Burke, or what cousin you please, but 'dar Dhia' [by God] he plays upon Lyons's fingers.' What is very extraordinary, Heffernan had never seen Lyons before. His lordship then retired, leaving the minstrels to indulge in Bacchanalian rivalry.

O'Sullivan finds a variant to the tune, called "Blossom of the Raspberry (The)" (with added sections), in Oswald's 'Caledonian Pocket Companion, volume IV, p. 17.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - the index to Bunting's 1840 edition gives the tune noted from Patrick Linden the harper in 1802; his MS, however, lists Hugh Higgins, harper, as the source.

Printed sources : - Bunting (Ancient Music of Ireland), 1840; No. 107, p. 79. Heymann (Off the Record), 1990; pp. 16-18 (includes a set of variations). O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1830, p. 344. O'Sullivan/Bunting, 1983; No. 107, pp. 153-155. Abeyta et al (Drawing from the Well), 2010; p. 9.

Recorded sources: - Temple Records 013, Ann Heymann & Alison Kinnaird – “Harper’s Land” (1983).



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