Pigeon on the Gate (1)

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X:1 T:Pidgeon on the Gate [1], The M:C L:1/8 R:Reek S:James Goodman (1828─1896) music manuscript collection, S:vol. 3, p. 95. Mid-19th century, County Cork Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Edor dc|BE E2 BE dc|BE E2 B2 BA|AD (3FED AD (3FED|AD (3FED Adcd| BE E2 BE dc|BE E2 B2 BA|FDFA dfec|dBAF E2E2|| eB B2 efed|Bdef gfef|eg g2 bgaf|bgaf gfed| eB B2 efed|Bdef g2 ga|bgaf gfed|(3Bcd Ac BE E2||



PIGEON ON THE GATE [1] (“An colm air an gata” or “An Colúr ar an nGeata)”. AKA and see "Atholl Braes," "Bank of Ireland," "Drinking Reel (The)," "Drunken Tailor (The)," "Gallagher's Best," "Gearrchaile Oilean Pice,” “Hills of Clogher,” "Lagan Slashers," "League and Slasher," "Pigeon on the Pier (2)," "Reidy's Reel,” "Roddy Joe’s Reel,” "Scotch Braes (The),” “Wandering Tinker (The).” Irish, Reel. E Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Goodman, Miller & Perron, Roche): AABB (Cranitch, Mallinson, Mulvihill, O'Neill/Krassen, Taylor {Half-Door}, Tubridy): AA'BB (Breathnach): AABB' (Flaherty, Phillips): AA'BB' (Brody, Taylor, Vallely). The melody is at least as old as the mid-19th century, for it was entered into the large music manuscript collection of County Cork uilleann piper Canon James Goodman. The reel was also mentioned by Francis O’Neill (Irish Minstrels and Musicians, 1913) in his brief sketch of uilleann piper and fiddler William F. Hanafin (a Callinafercy, Kilcoleman, County Kerry, musician born in 1875 who emigrated to Massachusetts in his adolescence), as one of the first reels he learned as a boy. The "Pigeon on the Gate" title for this tune dates only to the beginning of the 20th century, however. Francis O’Neill (1922) remarks: “Altho' this splendid reel does not appear in the Bunting, Petrie or Joyce Collections, it was pretty generally known to the pipers and fiddlers of Chicago, hailing from the west, and south of Ireland and always by the same name (i.e. "Pigeon on the Gate"). It is a popular session tune in its many variations and variants, although two main strains, in E modal and A modal, predominate. "Pigeon on the Gate" is a popular reel in many versions in Donegal, although usually known as “Swallowtail (The).” Paul Stewart Cranford (1995) remarks that Irish-influenced Cape Breton fiddler Johnny Wilmot played this tune in the key of E minor, after Michael Coleman (although A minor or G dorian was the usual Cape Breton setting {see "Pigeon on the Gate (2)"). When Wilmot did so without accompaniment, he was wont to tune the bass string down to a low E (EDae tuning).

Occasionally variants of the tune are found in manuscript collections. In arrangement, (famed piper Patsy) Touhey's setting differs both in key and style from that printed in former O'Neill Collections. Brendan Breathnach, in his notes to the tune in CRE II (1976, No. 250) gives several alternate titles for the E dorian "Pigeon on the Gate," however, some of the Scottish titles, such as "Wandering Tinker (The)" and "Atholl Braes" do not seem related. Paul de Grae finds related tunes in “Dan McCart(h)y’s Fancy,” “Drunken Piper (2),” “Drunken Reel,” and “Old Pigeon on the Gate.” There are also similarities to "Pride of the Ball."


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Jean Carignan (Montreal, Canada) [Brody]; Andy McGann (New York) [Phillips]; Kerry fiddler Denis Murphy (b. 1912) [Miller & Perron]; flute player Laurence McDonagh, 1972 (Ballinfad, Co. Sligo, Ireland) [Breathnach]; fiddler Peter Horan (b. 1926, Kilavil County Sligo) [Flaherty]; “my mother” [Muvlihill]; Paddy Canny (Co. Clare) via Brendan Taffee [Fiddler Magazine]; Liz Carroll (Chicago) via Brendan Taaffe [Fiddler Magazine].

Printed sources : - Breathnach (CRÉ 2), 1976; No. 250 (2), p. 130. Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 217. Bulmer & Sharpley (Music from Ireland, vol. 3), 1976; p. 7. Cranitch (The Irish Fiddle Book), 1996; No. 57, p. 147. Fiddler Magazine, vol. 15, No. 2 (Summer 2008); pp. 42–43 (two versions). Flaherty (Trip to Sligo), 1990; pp. 64–65. Jordan (Whistle and Sing!), 1975; p. 61. Mallinson (100 Essential), 1995; No. 42, p. 19. Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 1977; Addendum (appears as “Denis Murphy Reel”). Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 2nd Edition, 2006; p. 98. Mulvihill (1st Collection), 1986; No. 142, p. 38. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 132. O’Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922; No. 290. Phillips (Fiddle Case Tunebook: British Isles), 1989; p. 39. Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 1), 1912; No. 168 and 169, p. 66. Taylor (Where's the Crack?), 1989; p. 14. Taylor (Through the Half-Door), 1992; No. 15, p. 12. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, vol. 2), 1999; p. 24. Vallely (Learn to Play the Fiddle with Armagh Pipers Club), 197?; No. 44, p. 39.

Recorded sources : - Columbia A3679 (78 RPM), Tom Ennis & James Morrison (1922) County 725, The Riendeau Family – "Old-Time Fiddling." Folkways FG 3531, Jean Carignan – "Old Time Fiddle Tunes" (1968). Great Meadow Music GMM 2003, “Rodney Miller’s Airdance” (2000). Green Linnet 1020, Brendan Mulvihill – "The Flax in Bloom." Green Linnet SIF-1092, Liz Carroll – "Liz Carroll" (1988). Green Linnet SIF-104, Liz Carroll – "The Celts Rise Again" (1990). Island ILPS9432, The Chieftains – "Bonaparte's Retreat" (1976). Kicking Mule 206, Eric Thompson – "Kicking Mule's Flat Picking Guitar Festival." Mulligan 028, Kevin Burke – "Promenade." Nimbus NI 5320, Proinsaias O Maonaigh, Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, Paula Doohan, Liz Doherty – “Fiddle Sticks: Irish Traditional Music from Donegal” (1991). Philo 2018, Jean Carignan – "Plays Coleman, Morrison and Skinner." Shanachie 29008, Frankie Gavin – "Traditional Music of Ireland." Shanachie 29009, "Andy McGann and Paul Brady." Shanachie 29003, Tommy Peoples and Paul Brady – "The High Part of the Road." Viva W103, Sean McGuire – “Irish Jigs and Reels” (c. 1960’s, a reissue of “Sean Maguire Plays,” the first recording of McGuire that Josephine Keegan accompanied on piano). Shaskeen – "Joys of Life." Shaskeen – "Shaskeen Live." Danny O’Donnell – “Ón tSean-Am Anall.”

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng’s Irishtune.info [2]
Hear piper Tom Ennis and fiddler James Morrison's 1922 recording at the Internet Archive [3] (3rd tune in set "Bag of Potatoes/Templehouse Reel/Pigeon on the Gate").



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