Róisín Dubh (1)

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X:1 T:Róisín Dubh [1] M:3/4 L:1/8 R:Air B:Bunting - Ancient Music of Ireland (1840, p. 16) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Dmin G>F|D2D2 G>F|D2D2 G>A|{e}B2 z2A2|G2 z2 G>A| B2 B>dc>B|A2 A>cB>A|G2z2G2|G2 z2 DE| F>C F>GA>B|c2 c>d c/B/A/G/|F2 z2 D>E|D2 z2 FC| c2 B>AG>F|G>A B>cB>A|F2 z2 D2|D4||



RÓISÍN DUBH [1] ("The Small/Little Black Rose" or "The Dear Dark Rose"). AKA and see "Little Black Rose (3), "Black Rose Bud," "Little Black(-haired) Rose Bud," "Rois/Ros Bheag Dubh," "Rois Gheal Dubh (An)," "Róis bheag dubh (An)," “My Dark Rosaleen.” Irish, Air (3/4 time). D Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. A harp tune of the Jacobite period (late 16th century) written and composed, some have said, in praise of Hugh Roe O'Donnell (Red Hugh O'Donnell) and in support of the Stuart kings. The title is widely reported to have been an allegorical name for Ireland (Grattan Flood, 1906), at least at one time in history, but whether the song was political allegory or an ode to love, it was probably the most widespread of Gaelic Irish folk songs in the 18th century with words collected from all four provinces of the country. O'Daly (1851) remarks that the original song was supposed to have been composed in the reign of Elizabeth for the celebrated Aodh Ua Domhnaill, Prince of Tir Chonaill (Tirconnell), and, while the allegorical allusions to Ireland under the name of 'Roison' had long been forgotten, "Róisín Dubh" by the time he wrote was known by the populace as "merely a love song." O'Sullivan (1983) begs to differ, saying there is no reason to believe the "original" song was composed in the Elizabethan era for Red Hugh O'Donnell (who was Chief of Tirconnell, not Prince), and finds that only three verses out of all those in a large number of variants have a possible "political bearing." Parenthetically, as alluded to, O'Donnell was one of the leaders of the native Irish in the war against the Elizabethan English. In his struggle he was assisted by troops from Catholic Spain, and on a visit to that country in 1602 to recruit further troops, he died and was buried in the Franciscan Church at Valladolid.

Edward Bunting (1840) thought the melody to have been "undoubtedly very ancient." His source sang the tune and "played chords in the Arpeggion style with excellent effect. The key note at the end of the strain, accompanied by the fifth and eighth, without the third, has a wailing, melancholy expression, which imparts a very peculiar effect on the melody." Cowdery (1990) finds the tune a member of "The Blackbird" family, and analyzes it in his work "The Melodic Tradition of Ireland." Actually, there are two melodies extent which carry the "Roisin Dubh" text. Sean nos singer Joe Heaney identified that the Blackbird-family version is "the Connemara version" while the "Roisin Dubh" melody more often heard is "the Munster version" (as, for example, sung by another sean nos singer, Paddy Tunney).

A Róisín, ná bíodh brón ort na cás anois,
Tá do phardún ón Róimh is ón bPápa 'gat,
Tá na bráithre 'teacht thar sáile is a' triall thar muir,
Is ní cheilfear fion Spáinneach ar mo Róisín Dubh.

Tá grá 'gam i m'lár duit le bliain anois
Grá cráite, grá cásmhar, grá ciap(a)tha,
Grá 'd'fhág mé gan sláinte, gan rian, gan rith,
'S go brách, brách, gan aon fháil agam ar mo Róisín Dubh.

Do shiúlfainnse an Mhumhain leat is ciumhais na gcnoc,
Mar shúil go bhfaighinn rún uait nó páirt le cion;
A chraobh chumhra, tuigtear dúinne go bhfuil grá agat dom,
'S gurb í plúrscoth na mban múinte mo Róisín Dubh.

Beidh an fharraige 'na tuilte dearga 's an spéir 'na fuil,
Beidh an saol 'na chogadh craorac de dhroim na gcnoc
Beidh gach gleann sléibhe ar fud Eireann is móinte ar crith,
Lá éigin sula n-éagfaidh mo Róisín Dubh.

O'Sullivan finds either lyrics or melody and lyric in the following publications: Hardiman (Irish Minstrelsy, volume I), 1831, p. 254; Hudson (The Citizen of Native Music of Ireland), 1842, Nos. 12 & 25 (appears as "Ros Bheag Dubh"); O'Daly (Poets and Poetry of Munster), 3rd edition, 1851, pp. 210-217 (appears as "Rois Gheal Dubh--Little Black-haired Rose"); Petrie (Ancient Music of Ireland), 1855, pp. 93-95; Walsh (Irish Popular Songs), 2nd edition, 1888, pp. 60-65 (appears as "An Ros Gheal Dubh"); Joyce (Irish Music and Song), 1888, pp. 13-14 (appears as "An Ros Gheal Dubh"); Stanford/Petrie (Petrie Collection of Irish Music), Nos. 1240 & 1241;

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - the melody was noted by the Irish collector Edward Bunting in 1796 (or 1792) from the playing of Irish harper Daniel Black.

Printed sources : - Bunting (General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland), 1840, p. 16. Mac Amhlaoibh & Durham (An Pota Stóir: Ceol Seite Corca Duibne/The Set Dance Music of West Kerry), No. 94, p. 53. Ó Canainn (Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland), 1995; No. 45, p. 41. O'Sullivan/Bunting, 1983; No. 18, pp. 27-31. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, vol. 1), 1999; p. 42.

Recorded sources: - Cherish the Ladies – “Out and About.” MKM 7590, Mike McHale – “The Schoolmaster’s House” (2000). 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).



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