Piper through the Meadow Straying (The)

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X:4 T:Piper on the Meadows Straying, A M:C L:1/8 S:Hime's Pocket Book for the German Flute or Violin, vol. IV, c. 1810, p. 38 N:An admired duett in the opera of Zorinski N:Fleischmann no. 5251 K:G G|d3 c B3 A|G2 G3/2A/ B2 G2|AB cA G2 F2|G2 GA/B/ B2 A2| d3 c B3 A|G2 G3/2A/ B2 G2|AB cA G2 F2|G2 B2 G2 z2| A3 B c2 A2|B3 c d2 A2|B^c d2 ef gz/g/|f2 e2 d2 zd| d3 c B3 A|G2 G3/2A/ B2 G2| Ae cA G2 F2|G2 B2 G2z2|]



PIPER THROUGH THE MEADOW STRAYING, THE. AKA - "Piper o’er the Meadows Straying," "Piobaire ar strae sa mhoinear." English, Irish; Air, Hornpipe or Set Dance. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (O’Neill): AAB (Joyce): AABB (Colclough). “A piper on the meadows straying” was a duet in the three-act musical play Zorinski (1795), for which music was selected and composed by Dr. Samuel Arnold (1740-1802) (sung in the original production in the Little Theatre in the Haymarket by Mrs. Bland and Mr. Fawcett), although whether he composed this air or simply adapted an existing melody for the vehicle of his song in not known. The libretto was the work of Thomas Morton, and the work was based on the historical King Stanislaus of Poland. The music was published the following year in Walker’s Hibernian Magazine. It seems to have caught on among uilleann pipers early, drawn by the title no doubt, for it appears in O’Farrell’s c. 1800 publications Collection of National Music for the Union Pipes and Pocket Companion for the Irish or Union Pipes (c. 1808), and a bit later in Englishman John Colclough’s uilleann pipe tutor. The melody was learned by collector P.W. Joyce as a child in Co. Limerick, c. 1840. The opening verse (printed in Charms of Melody, Dublin, c. 1795-1810) tells of romance dimmed by marriage:

A piper on the meadows straying,
Met a simple maid a-maying.
Straight he won her heart by playing,
Fal de ral, &c.
Wedded, soon each tone grew teazing,
Fal de ral, &c.
His pipe had lost the power of pleasing,
Fal de ral, &c.

Many people will recognize the similarity between "Piper o'er the Meadow Straying" and the popular Christmas carol “Deck the Halls," particularly noticeable in the second strain, not to mention the similar "Fal de ral, &c." burden.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Colclough (Tutor for the Irish Union Pipes), c. 1830; p. 12. Paul Deloughery (Sliabh Luachra on Parade), 1980; p. 138. Hime's Pocket Book for the German Flute or Violin, vol. IV, c. 1810; p. 38. Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 131, pp. 66-67. O’Farrell (Pocket Companion for the Union Pipes, vol. III), 1808; p. 24 (appears as “A Piper o’er the Meadows straying”). O'Neill (O’Neill’s Irish Music), 1915; No. 70, p. 43 (appears as “The Piper O’er the Meadows Straying”). Vallely (Learn to Play the Tin Whistle. Part 1), 1976; No. 14, p. 9.

Recorded sources : - Gael-Linn CEF 020, Tommy Delaney & May Keogh - "Rince - An Dara Ceim" (1968). RCA 09026-60824-4, Chieftains – “Bells of Dublin” (1991. Appears as last tune of “The Wren! The Wren!” medley).

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



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