Molly Asthore

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MOLLY ASTHORE (Molly My Treasure). AKA and see "Harp that Once (The) through Tara's Halls," "Gramachree," "Little Molly O!" Irish, Air (2/4 time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. Thomas Moore used this popular air for his famous song "The harp that once through Tara's halls," taking it probably from Thomson's Scottish Airs, set I (1793), according to O'Sullivan (1983). The word 'asthore' is a phonetic spelling of the Gaelic 'a stoir,' meaning 'my store' or 'my treasure,' while the alternate title 'Gramachree,' phonetic for 'gradh mo chroidhe' means 'love of my heart.' O'Sullivan finds the earliest printing of the tune in William McGibbon's Scots Tunes, book II (1746) under the title "Will you go to Flanders?" (a version reprinted in Moffat's Minstrelsy of Ireland, p. 351). The Irish collector Edward Bunting collected a triple-time melody called "Molly Bheag O" (Little Molly O!) that he maintains was more ancient and the original source of "Molly Asthore," though O'Sullivan demurs, asserting that, while there is a connection between the two tunes, there is no evidence that one is older than the other.

There is a setting of "Molly Asthore" arranged for 'Temperance Band' in The Dublin Magazine (November, 1842, No. 4); instruments included flute, three clarinets (separate parts for each), a horn in F, trumpet in F, and trombone or bass.

Source for notated version: Bunting noted the tune (along with "Little Molly O!") from the harper Charles Fannin in 1792, according to the index of his 1840 collection.

Printed sources: Bunting (Ancient Music of Ireland), 1840; No. 62, p. 46. P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 1), 1858; No. 44, p. 18. O'Sullivan/Bunting, 1983; No. 62, pp. 95-97.

Recorded sources:

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