Morgan Megan

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MORGAN MAGAN. AKA - "Planxty Morgan Megan," "Welch Morgan." Irish; Slow Air, Planxty or March (4/4 time). G Major (Barnes, Brody, Johnson, Miller & Perron, Ó Canainn, Sullivan): A Major (Complete Collection.., Keegan, O'Sullivan): D Major (Wright). Standard tuning (fiddle). One Part (S. Johnson, Keegan): AB (Barnes, Brody, Sullivan, Wright): AABB (Complete Collection..., Miller & Perron, Ó Canainn, O'Sullivan). The air was composed by the blind Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670–1738) in honor of one Morgan Magan of Togherstown, County Westmeath. Magan died in 1738, and is probably the "Captain Magan" referred to in another of O'Carolan's tunes. Donal O'Sullivan (1958) finds he was a younger son of Morgan Magan of Cloney, Westmeath. His sister Susanna married Sir Arthur Shaen, the subject of another O'Carolan air that bears Shaen's name. The melody appears to have been first published by John and William Neal in A Collection of the Most Celebrated Irish Tunes (Dublin, 1724, p. 23) as "Morgan Macgann." Another early version of "Morgan Megan", according to the Appendix to the 2001 edition of O'Sullivan's seminal work, appears in Daniel Wright's Aria di Camera (London, c. 1730) as "Welch Morgan." It was collected by Edward Bunting (1773–1843) and appears in his General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland (London, 1809, p. 71).

The tune is a "revival" favorite and is one of the most enduring of Carolan's compositions, still played in Irish sessions today and frequently recorded. See also the anecdote told about Magan's sister's wedding circumstances in another of Carolan's compositions, "Sir Arthur Shaen."

Turlough O'Carolan


Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Chieftains (Ireland) [Brody, Sullivan].

Printed sources : - Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 60 (appears as "Hillingdon Heath", the name of a dance by Charles Bolton set to the tune). Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 196. Complete Collection of Carolan's Irish Tunes, 1984; No. 92, p. 72. S. Johnson (Kitchen Musician's No. 1: Waltz, Air and Misc.), 1991; p. 3. S. Johnson (Kitchen Musician No. 3: Carolan), 1983 (revised 1991, 2001); p. 8. Keegan (The Keegan Tunes), 2002; pp. 96-97 (piano arrangement). Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music vol. 1), 1977; No. 68 (untitled). Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 2nd Edition, 2006; p. 145. John & William Neal (A Collection of the Most Celebrated Irish Tunes), 1724; p. 3. Ó Canainn (Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland), 1995; No. 109, p. 92. O'Sullivan (Carolan: The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper), 1958, No. 92. Sannella (Balance and Swing), 1982. Sullivan (Session Tunes, vol. 3), No. 35, p. 14. Wright (Aria di Camera), London, 1727; No. 44 (as "Welch Morgan").

Recorded sources: - Castle Music CAS 36205-2, Dave Swarbrick – "It Suits Me Well: the Transatlantic Anthology" (2005). Claddagh CC14, Chieftains – "Chieftains 4." Front Hall 05, Fennigs All Stars – "Saturday Night in the Provinces." Green Linnet GLCD 1128, Brendan Mulvihill & Donna Long – "The Morning Dew" (1993). June Appal 028, Wry Straw – "From Earth to Heaven" (1978). North Star NS0031, "Dance Across the Sea: Dances and Airs from the Celtic Highlands" (1990). Rounder 0113, Trapezoid – "Three Forks of Cheat." Shanachie 79024, "Chieftains 4" (1972/1983). Shanachie 97011, Dave Evans – "Irish Reels, Jigs, Airs and Hornpipes" (1990). Transatlantic 341, Dave Swarbrick – "Swarbrick 2."

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



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