O Mary My Darling (1)

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O MARY, MY DARLING [1] (A Mháire’s a Mhúirnín). AKA - "Mary My Sweetheart." Irish, Air (3/4 time, "plaintive"). D Minor (Joyce): D Major (Shields). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. "There are two settings of this in Stanford-Petrie, different from each other, and both different from mine. both are in the major scale; but the tune should be in the minor: so I took it down from James Buckley, and so I heard all others play and sing it. Moreover, the ornamented setting given below, copied from Mr. Pigot, is also in the minor. There is a bad (major)_ setting in O'Daly's Poets and Poetry of Munster, 2nd ser., p. 224, where will also be found the pleasing Irish peasant song of which this is the air. I give the tune here, partly to restore it to its proper minor form, and partly because it gives me an opportunity to record a good specimen of the variations and ornamentations which Munster fidders and pipers were fond of introducing into this and many other slow airs; such as 'Rois geal dubh,' 'Rabhais ag an g-carraig (An),' 'Seadhan O'Duibhidhir an Ghleanna,' etc. The musicians always played the simple unadorned melody first; after which came the ornamented form, or 'Variations'" (Joyce). Despite Joyce's protestations that the tune should be rendered in a minor key, Goodman (like O'Daly) gives it in major.

Source for notated version: a manuscript collection dated 1861 of Rev. James Goodman [1], an Anglican cleric who collected primarily in County Cork [Shields].

Printed sources: Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 147, pp. 74-75. Shields (Tunes of the Munster Pipers), 1998; No. 12, p. 9.

Recorded sources:




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