Pigeon on the Gate (2)

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PIGEON ON THE GATE [2] (“An Colm Ar an nGeata” or “An Colúr ar an nGeata”). AKA and see “Jack Tar,” “Pigeon on the Gatepost (2),” “Pigeon on the Pier (2),” “Sturgeon Tea (The),” “Twin Sisters (1) (The).” Irish, Canadian; Reel. Canada; Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island. A Dorian (Breathnach, Cole, Dunlay & Greenberg/Gillis, Dunlay & Reich, O'Neill/1850): G Dorian (Allan, Cranford, Dunlay & Greenberg/Briand, Little): G Mixolydian (Perlman). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Breathnach): AA'B (O'Neill/1850 & 1001): AABB (Allens, Cole, Dunlay & Greenberg, Dunlay & Reich): AA’BB (Perlman): AABB’ (Cranford). Some Cape Breton settings tend to have a more minor flavor than Irish ones; pipe settings are in the key of A minor. In nearby Prince Edward Island the tune is played in (at least by Francis MacDonald, whom Perlman says was heavily influenced by Cape Breton fiddling) G Mixolydian so that it sounds double-tonic. Dunlay & Greenberg (1996) report the tune seems to have developed two main strains on Cape Breton, one in A Dorian and one in G Dorian. Angus Chisholm is credited with the local popularity of the tune in Cape Breton (Cranford). The Irish County Donegal setting is a close variant of the Scotch settings. Caoimhin Mac Aoidh remarks that years ago Paddy Glackin recommended Allan’s Irish Fiddler as a text which had a number of County Donegal settings, and Mac Aoidh himself believes “Pigeon on the Gate” in Allan’s to be “the same setting as that which is considered to be diagnostic to (County Donegal fiddler) Neily Boyle of Dunlgoe.” Boyle credited his version to his mother, Annie Sweeney of Cruit Island, and chose the key to reflect the character of her lilting.

Source for notated version: Stephen MacLean (Washabuck, Cape Breton {and Boston, Mass.}) [Dunlay and Reich]: flute player Sonny McDonagh, 1966 (Bunanadden, Co. Sligo, Ireland) [Breathnach]: Cape Breton style fiddler Harvey Tolman (Nelson, New Hampshire) [Little]; Alex Gillis/Donald Campbell (Cape Breton) [Dunlay & Greenberg]; Elmer Briand (Cape Breton) [Dunlay & Greenberg]; Francis MacDonald (b. 1940, Moreel Rear, North-East Kings County, Prince Edward Island) [Perlman].

Printed sources: Breathnach (CRÉ II), 1976; No. 250 [1], p. 129. Carideas na bhFidleiri Donegal Fiddle Tutor, volume 2. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 8. Cranford (Jerry Holland’s Collection), 1995; No. 193, p. 54. Dunlay & Greenberg (Traditional Celtic Violin Music of Cape Breton), 1996; pp. 64 & 99. Dunlay and Reich (Traditional Celtic Fiddle Music of Cape Breton), 1986; p. 46. Little (Scottish and Cape Breton Fiddle Music in New Hampshire), 1984; p. 5. McDermott (Allan's Irish Fiddler) c. 1920’s, No. 59, p. 15. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1406, p. 261. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 648, p. 116. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 48. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 30.

Recorded sources: ACC-49G3, Tara Lynn Touesnard - “Bowing the Strings” (1992). Boot BOS 7231, Jerry Holland﷓ "Master Cape Breton Fiddler" (1982). Cairdeas na bhFidleiri, Roisin McGrory and Damian Harrigan - "The Fiddle Music of Donegal Volume 2.” Celtic 58 (SCX-58), Elmer Briand - "And His Cape Breton Fiddle." Celtic CX 29, CX 51, BDMF 5-7009, Paddy (“Scotty”) LeBlac - “This is Sydney”, “The Fiddling French Canadain Scot.” Decca 14024 (78 RPM), "Alex Gillis" (c. 1930's). EMI, Neilly Boyle – “The Irish Phonograph.” LC9501, Lee Cremo - “The Champion Returns” (1995). Marimac C-6501, “The Old Time Fiddlers of Prince Edward Island.” WMT002, Wendy MacIsaac – “That’s What You Get” (1997?).




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