Pinch of Snuff (1) (The)

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X:1 T:Pinch of Snuff [1], The R:reel H:There are two other versions of this tune, #236 and #634 N:There is a different tune by the same name, #441 D:Chieftains Live. D:Paddy Glackin: Ceol ar an bhFidil le Paddy Glackin Z:id:hn-reel-36 Z:transcribed by henrik.norbeck@mailbox.swipnet.se M:C| L:1/8 K:D D2DF EA,CE|F2DF EFGE|F2DF EA,CE|G2BG EFGE:| |:DFAF BFAF|DFAF EA,CE|DFAF BFAF|G2BG EFGE:| |:fgfe dcdB|AF~F2 AFA=c|BGBd =cBcG|E=C~C2 ECEG:| |:f2df eAce|f2df efge|f2df eAce|g2bg efge:| |:dfaf bfaf|dfaf eAce|dfaf bfaf|g2bg efge:| |:fgfe dcdB|AF~F2 AFA=c|BGBd =cBcG|E=C~C2 ECEG:| P:"Variations" |:F2DF EFDE|F2DF EFGE|F2DF EFDF|G2BG EFGE:| |:DFAF BFAF|DFAF EFGE|DFAF BFAF|B2BG EFGE:| |:fgfe dddB|AF~F2 AFA=c|BGdB =cBcG|E=C~C2 ECEG:| |:f2df efde|f2df efge|f2df efdf|g2bg efge:| |:dfaf bfaf|dfaf efge|dfaf bfaf|g2bg efge:| |:fgfe dcdB|AF~F2 AFA=c|BGBd =cBcG|E=C~C2 ECEG:|



PINCH OF SNUFF [1], THE/A (An Pinsín Snaoisín). AKA and see “Four Courts (2) (The),” "Humors of Swanlinbar (The)," “Wise Maid (2) (The).” Irish, Reel. Ireland, Donegal. D Mixolydian (most versions): D Mixolydian/Major (McGuire & Keegan): D Major (‘A’, ‘B’, ‘G’, ‘H’, ‘I’ parts) G Major (‘C’, ‘D’ parts) & A Major (‘E’ and ‘F’ parts). Standard or AEae tunings (fiddle). ABCDEC (Breathnach/Doherty): AABBCCDDEEFF (Sullivan): AABBCCDDEEFFGGHHII (Mallinson): AABB’CCDDEEFF’GGHHII’ (Miller). Known as a northern Irish reel, and especially one from County Donegal where it is particularly popular. Caoimhin Mac Aoidh (1994) recounts the origins of the tune in the faerie folklore of Donegal (Seamus Ennis appears to have told the same story). It seems that the fairies were trying to abduct a bride at a wedding in the Teelin, southwest Donegal, area by trying to trick her into uttering the magic words which would bind her to them and seal her fate. As luck would have it, hiding in the rafters was a young man who had been her suitor, but whom had lost in the bid for her hand. He saw what was about to happen to his still-beloved (who was dancing below), and from his high hiding place he thought to shake down some snuff upon her. The bride breathed it in, sneezed, and was greeted with a polite chorus of “Dia agus Muire dhuit” (God and Mary bless you) from members of the wedding party. This was anathema to the fairies, who took flight. The tune the fiddlers were playing while the bride was dancing at the time of her rescue was dubbed “The Pinch of Snuff.”

Sliabh Luachra regional (County Kerry, south Ireland) fiddler Padraig O’Keeffe played a tune he called simply “A Pipe Reel” whose two parts correspond to the first two of “A Pinch of Snuff.” According to Mac Aoidh, he played the tune in AEae tuning with the first four bars on a single double stopping down bow and the second four bars on a double stopping up bow; this pattern in repeated on the ‘B’ part. In some versions a part is/parts are an octave transposition of another part; for example, John Doherty’s ‘D’ and ‘E’ parts are the ‘A’ and ‘B’ parts played an octave higher. Sligo fiddlers (such as Peter Horan) sometimes play the tune cycled through a few keys (D, G, A, then back to D)--Kevin Burke recorded such a version. See also the related “Mil na Maidí.” The tune printed by Mitchell is parts two and three of a three part version from piper Seamus Ennis.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - fiddlers Micky and John Doherty, 1965 (Stranorlar, Co. Donnegal, Ireland) [Breathnach]; flute player Roger Sherlock [McGuire & Keegan]; piper Willie Clancy (1918-1973, Miltown Malbay, west Clare) [Mitchell].

Printed sources : - Breathnach (CRÉ II), 1976; No. 182, p. 95. Bulmer & Sharpley (Music from Ireland, vol. 2), 1974; No. 8. Mallinson (100 Essential), 1995; No. 37, p. 17. Miller (Fiddler’s Throne), No. 230, p. 141. Mitchell (Dance Music of Wille Clancy), 1993; No. 122, p. 100. Sullivan (Session Tunes, vol. 2); No. 2, p. 2.

Recorded sources: -EMI Records ISRM 006, Tulla Ceili Band – “Dance Tunes” (1990). Front Hall 018, How To Change a Flat Tire - "Traditional Music of Ireland and Shetland." Gael-Linn CEF060, “Paddy Glackin” (similar to John Doherty’s version). Great Meadow Music GMM2013, “Best of Wild Asparagus” (2003). Green Linnet GLCD 3009, Kevin Burke - "If the Cap Fits" (1978). Island ILPS 9501, "The Chieftains Live" (1977). Leader Records, “Music from Coleman Country” (1971). Nimbus NI 5320, Ciaran Touish, Dermot McLaughlin, Seamus Glackin, Kevin Glackin - “Fiddle Sticks: Irish Traditional Music from Donegal” (1991). Shanachie SH78041, Solas – “The Hour Before Dawn” (2000). Seamus Ennis – “Masters of Irish Music” (c. 1960’s).

See also listings at:
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng’s Irishtune.info [2] [3]



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