Port Gordon (1)

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X:1 T:Port Gordon [1] M:C| L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Slow" B:Smollet Holden - Collection of favourite Irish Airs (London, c. 1841; p. 34) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Dmin a/g/|f2f2f2 ed|edeg agfe|d2 dc A2 A^c|d4 d3|| a/g/|f2g2 a2 gf|g2a2 c'2 bc'|d'2a>a a3f|g3f d2 ag| f2f2f2 ed|edge agfe|d2 ~dc A2 A^c|d4 d3||



PORT GORDON{AC} [1] (Gordon’s Tune). AKA and see "Ballyhauness," "Mary of Ballyhaunis." Scottish/Irish, Air (4/4 time, "with spirit"). D Minor (Holden): G Dorian (O’Neill): A Dorian (Ó Canainn). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Ó Canainn): AB (Holden, O’Neill). A harp air composed for a Scottish patron by early 17th century Ulster-born (Francis O’Neill says he was born c. 1646) harper Rory Dall O'Cahan, who traveled into Scotland and long played for the great families of that country. The tune was reworked a century later by blind Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738) and later used for the Irish song "Maire beil ata h-Amnair." Several early Scottish versions of the melody appear in the (Crawford of) Balcarres Lute Manuscript, compiled in 1694. It can be found in Cooke’s Selection of Twenty-one Favourite Original Irish Airs arranged for Pianoforte (Dublin, 1793). Collector George Petrie [1] (1790-1866) printed the tune as "Ballyhauness," set in 'A' minor. Further afield is the hornpipe "Humors of Ballyconnell (2) (The)," more distanced but still related.

There are actually several airs entitled “Port Gordon.” One of them is in John Bowie’s Collection of Strathspey Reels and Country Dances (1789), a partial version of which (under the title “Port 2nd”) also appears in the MacLean-Clephane Manuscript of 1816, written by the seventeen-year-old Lady Margaret Wemyss, a member of a prominent Lowland Scots family. The subject of one of the 'Port Gordon' tunes is likely to have been George Gordon, the first Marquess of Huntly (1562-1636), maintain Sanger & Kinnaird (Tree of Strings, 1992), who defeated Argyll at the battle of Balrinnes. It had been foretold that Argyll’s harp would be played in the Gordon territory of Strathbogie, encouraging Argyll to attack thinking his victory was assured; indeed the harp was so played—-but as the spoils of war.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Chicago Police Sergeant and fiddler James O’Neill, originally from County Down [O’Neill].

Printed sources : - Smollet Holden (Collection of favourite Irish Airs), London, c. 1841; p. 34. Ó Canainn (Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland), 1995; No. 61, p. 55. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 40, p. 7. O’Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922; No. 63.

Recorded sources: -

See also listing at:
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [2]



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