Nancy's Branching Tresses

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X:1 T:Nancy of the Branching Tresses M:C L:1/8 R:Air Q:”Andantino” B:J. Clinton – Gems of Ireland: 200 Airs (1841, No. 57, p. 29) H:Irish-born Clinton was a flute teacher for the Royal Academy, London Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:A e|(a>bc'>)a (f>ga>).f|(d<c)(B>c) A2 (c>e)|(f>ea).c (B>cB)A|A4-A3:|| e|(e>fg).a {ab}(c'2 b).a|g2 {g}f>e .e3 .e|(e>f).g.a {ab}(c'2 b).a|(g>a) (g/f/c'>b/) !fermata!e2 (fg)| (a>b).c'.a (f>g).a.f|(e<c)(B>c) A2 (ce)|(f>ea>).c TB4 {AcB}|A4-A3||

NANCY'S BRANCHING TRESSES (Cuil Craobaig Anna). Irish, Air (4/4 time). F Major (O'Neill): A Major (Clinton). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Clinton): AABB (O'Neill). Paul de Grae suggests the tune may be a reworking of Edward Bunting's "Anna na geraoiḃ" (Nancy of the Branching Tresses). "Nancy of the Branching Tresses" is also the name of a poem by Belfast nationalist poet Mary Balfour (1780-1819), begins:

The star of evening slowly rose,
Through shades of twilight gleaming,
It shone to witness Erin's woes,
Her children's life-blood streaming;
'Twas then, sweet star, thy pensive ray
Fell on the cold unconscious clay,
That wraps the breast of Bessy Grey,
In softened lustre beaming.

Bessy or Betsy Grey/Gray was a real-life heroine of the Rising of '98, from County Down.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - credited to Chicago Police Sergeant James O'Neill, a fiddler originally from County Down and Francis O'Neill's collaborator [O'Neill].

Printed sources : - Clinton (Gems of Ireland: 200 Airs), 1841; No. 57, p. 29. Smollet Holden (Collection of favourite Irish Airs), London, c. 1841; p. 19. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 374, p. 65.

Recorded sources: -

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