Annotation:Never was Piping so Gay

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X:3 T:Never Was Piping So Gay M:C L:1/8 R:Reel C:Ed Reavy S:Brian Conway Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:G G,2 (B,D) GBdB | caf(d cA)FA | G2 BG DGB,G | AF (3FFF dFAF | G2 BG DGB,G | Aaf(d ^cd)e(f|{a}gf)gd ~c3A |1 FGAF G2 DB, :|2 FGAF G2 || |: Bd | ~g3(d ^cd)BG | DGB(d cA)FA | G(B{c}B)A Bc (3dcB | caf(d ^cd)ef | |1 ~g3(d ^cd)BG | DGB(d cA)FA | B~G3 A(DF)A | d(B{d}cA) GABd :| |2 gb (3agf g(d^c)d | BGDG cAFA | B~G3 A(DF)A | d(B{d}cA) G2 DB, ||

NEVER WAS PIPING SO GAY. AKA and see "Blacksmith’s Anvil (The)." Irish, Reel. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'BB (Feldman & O'Doherty): AA'BB' (Bégin, Reavy). One of the more popular and enduring compositions of fiddler-composer Ed Reavy [1] (1898-1988), originally from County Cavan, Ireland, who spent much of his life working as a plumber in Corktown, near Philadelphia, Pa. Ed's son Joseph Reavy explains the title comes from the last line of Yeat's poem "The Host of the Air" uttered by O'Driscoll, who awoke from a dream in which he imagined his wife had died while he was peacefully playing cards. All that remained of the dream was the distant sound of a piper -

Ed Reavy (in uniform) at home with Louis Quinn, Sean Quinn and Joe Reavy

But he heard high up in the air
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad
And never was piping so gay.

The tune was probably composed in the 1950's, says musician and collector Philippe Varlet. Armagh-born New York fiddle player and band leader Louis Quinn, who himself introduced a number of Reavy compositions to musical friends in Ireland, told Mick Moloney in an oral history interview:

There was a little girl, a little Donegal girl here that went home to Ireland, she played some tunes over there and she played one of Reavy’s reels, a very good reel of Reavy’s, and they call it “Shannon Mulhern’s Reel.”

Fr. John Quinn/An tAthair Seán Ó Coinn finds the tune in the c. 1960 manuscripts of the Longford area Reilly family as "Reavy's No. 4." Back then, he explains, the Reavy tunes were becoming popular and circulated without names; instead numbers were assigned to the various compositions.

Fr. Quinn writes:

Michael Reilly formerly of Drumreilly, Co. Leitrim, but having moved to Glannagh, Moatefarrell, Co. Longford, wrote it down around 1960 using that numerical title. Around the same time, William Doherty of Cloone, Co. Leitrim, sent this same tune to Michael’s brother, Hughie Reilly of Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, using the title "Shaney Mulhern’s", and saying it was as played by Larry Redican. These manuscripts are now in the Irish Traditional Music Archive, having been donated by Marie Reilly, Michael’s daughter. I myself, about that time too, got a setting of it from Joe Dowd under the title "Shaney Mulhern (Reel)", as arranged by P. J. McGuire and Joe Dowd. It has piano-accordion chords added in, presumably by McGuire. To add a little diversity to the story, I also received a copy of this tune around 1960 from Frank McCollam of Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, transcribed from the playing of Larry Redican and Andy McGann, who gave no title, but just wrote "Reel by Martin Wynne"!

County Galway fiddler-composer Paddy Fahy played a variant of the tune, which as Martin Hayes related to New York musician Don Meade, he believed he composed himself. As with all his tunes, this version is simply called "Fahy's" or "Paddy Fahey's." See: "Paddy Fahey's Reel (10)".

X: 1
T: Paddy Fahy's
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:G,2 B,D GBdB|c2 ag fgdc|B~G3 BcdB|cBAG FDCA,|
|(3G,G,G, B,D GBdB|c2 ag fgdc|B~G3 BcdB|1 cAFA G2 DB,:|2 cAFA G2 Bc|
|:dgfa gdBG|FGAB c2 Bc|Aaag a3g|fdad bdad|
|(3ggg fa gdBG|FGAB c2 Bc|d~g3 defd|1 cAFA G2 Bc:|2 cAFA G2 DB,| 

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Francie and Mickey Byrne (County Donegal) [Feldman & O'Doherty]; Dawson Girdwood (Perth, Ottawa Valley, Ontario) [Bégin].

Printed sources : - Bégin (Fiddle Music in the Ottawa Valley: Dawson Girdwood), 1985; No. 7, p. 21 (appears as "Ravey's Reel"). Feldman & O'Doherty (The Northern Fiddler), 1979; p. 171 (appears as 1st half of "Untitled Reel"--the 2nd half of the piece is another Reavy composition, "Maudabawn Chapel"). Reavy (The Collected Compositions of Ed Reavy), No. 3, p. 3.

Recorded sources : - Smithsonian Folkways SFW CD 40481, Brian Conway - "First Through the Gate" (2002. Learned from New York fiddler Andy McGann). Stockton's Wing - "Light in the Western Sky" (appears as second reel of "Chicago Set"). Brenda Stubbert - "Music All Around." Jimmy Power - Irish Dances Recording Sessions (1967).

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