O'Fenlon's Hornpipe

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O'FENLON'S HORNPIPE (Crannciuil Ui Finnallain). AKA and see "Silver Box (The)," "Vincent's Hornpipe," "Vinton’s Hornpipe." Irish, Hornpipe. B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. A very popular hornpipe found in many printed an manuscript collections under a variety of titles, including "Vinton’s Hornpipe," "Lord St. Vincent's Hornpipe," "St. Vincent's Hornpipe," "Silver Box (The)" and "O'Fenlon's Hornpipe." Professor Samuel Bayard thinks the "Silver Box Hornpipe," dated c. 1770 (in Alfred Moffat and Frank Kidson's Dances of the Olden Time, 1912; p. 31), is a simple, perhaps early, version of the tune. As "Lord St. Vincent's," "St. Vincent's Hornpipe" or "Vincent's Hornpipe" the hornpipe appears in several 19th century publications and manuscripts. The tune appears under this title in London publishers Samuel, Ann & Peter Thompson's Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1799 (p. 33). It also appears under this title in the mid-19th century music manuscript papers of Long Island painter and musician William Sydney Mount. Shropshire musician John Moore included it in his 1837–1840 music manuscript as "St. Vincent's Hornpipe," dropping the "Lord" from the title. John Burks' music manuscript, dated 1821, has a version (as "Vincent's Hornpipe") similar to the one in Moore's manuscript, and likewise is set in the key of B Flat. All of these titles probably honor Admiral Jarvis, Lord St. Vincent, a contemporary of the celebrated Lord Horatio Nelson's and himself a hero of the Napoleonic Wars and the victor of the Battle of Cape St. Vincent. The title "Vinton's", by which the tune appears in the Boston, Massachusetts, publisher Elias Howe's various editions (from the mid-19th century on) is a probably a corruption of the original title honoring Jarvis. The piece is in the repertoire of Missouri fiddler Kelly Jones (b. 1947) who, having the ability to read music, learned the melody from Cole's 1000 Fiddle Tunes, as previous generations of sight-reading mid-western fiddlers had learned this and similar tunes from both Cole's 1000 and its direct predecessor, Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883). Both Howe publications which included instructions for a contra-dance to the tune. Indeed, the tune seems common to many of Howe's publications, notes Paul Tyler, and first appears in the 1844 edition of his Musician's Companion (p. 61) {"containing 18 setts of cotillions arranged with figures, and a large number of popular marches, quick-steps, waltzes, hornpipes, contra dances, songs, &c.&c."}. Francis O'Neill (1903) prints the tune as "O'Fenlon's Hornpipe," which is also presumably a mis-hearing of the name "Vinton’s Hornpipe."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 178. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1618, p. 300. Phillips (Fiddle Case Tunebook: British Isles),1989; p. 38.

Recorded sources:




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