Peevish Child (The)

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PEEVISH CHILD, THE (An Paisdin Neimneac). AKA and see “Troubled Child (The).” Irish, Slow Air (2/4 time). G Minor (O’Neill): G Dorian (Stanford/Petrie). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. Attributed to the 18th century Co. Leitrim harper Jerome Duigenan by collector George Petrie [1] (1790-1866). This annecdote was printed by Edward Bunting in his Ancient Music of Ireland (1840):

Some curious tales are told of Jerome Duigenan, a Leitrim harper, born in the year 1710. One is of so extraordinary a character, that, were it not for the particularity of the details, which savour strongly of an origin in fact, the editor would hesitate to give it publicity. He is, however, persuaded that he has it as it was communicated to O'Neill, between whose time and that of Duigenan there was scarcely room for the invention of a story not substantially true. It is as follows : — " There was a harper," says [harper Arthur] O'Neill, "before my time, named Jerome Duigenan, not blind, an excellent Greek and Latin scholar, and a charming performer. I have heard numerous anecdotes of him. The one that pleased me most was this. He lived with a Colonel Jones, of Drumshambo, who was one of the representatives in parliament for the county of Leitrim. The colonel, being in Dublin, at the meeting of parliament, met with an English nobleman who had brought over a Welsh harper. When the Welshman had played some tunes before the colonel, which he did very well, the nobleman asked him, had he ever heard so sweet a finger? "Yes," replied Jones, "and that by a man who never wears either linen or woollen." "I bet you a hundred guineas," says the nobleman, "you can't produce any one to excel my Welshman."

The bet was accordingly made, and Duigenan was written to, to come immediately to Dublin, and bring his harp and dress of Cauthack with him; that is, a dress made of beaten rushes, with something like a caddy or plaid of the same stuff. On Duigenan's arrival in Dublin, the colonel acquainted the members with the nature of his bet and they requested that it might be decided in the House of Commons, before business commenced. The two harpers performed before all the members accordingly, and it was unanimously decided in favour of Duigenan, who wore his full Cauthack dress, and a cap of the same stuff, shaped like a sugar loaf, with many tassels; he was a tall, handsome man, and looked very well in it."

See note for “Troubled Child (The)” for more.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 474, p. 83. Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 590, p. 149.

Recorded sources:




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