Rocking the Cradle (1)

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X:1 T:Rocking of the Cradle, The T:Rocking the Cradle [1] M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Moderato" B:P.M. Haverty – One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 3 (1859, No. 251, pp. 122-123) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D (D/E/)|FFF GGA/G/|FFD (ED) (D/E/)|FFF (A/G/)FE|EDD D2 (D/E/)| FFF GG=A/G/|FFD (ED) (D/E/)|FFF A/G/FE|EDD D2|| (A/B/)|(=c>dc) (B>^cd)|(AA/G/A/)G/ FDD|(=c>dc) (BAF)|A>B^c d2d| (d>ef) (d>ef)|(A A/B/A/)G/ FDD|(D/E/F/G/A/)B/ (A/G/)FE|EDD D2||



ROCKING THE CRADLE (Luasgugad an cliaban). AKA – “Rocking a baby that's none of my own.” AKA and see "I sat in the vale." Irish, Slow Air (6/8 time). D Mixolydian/Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. A piece in which the cry of a baby is mimicked by a trick on the fiddle. O’Neill found that the song and air almost entirely forgotten in Ireland and had an imperfect setting himself. The version he printed in Music of Ireland (1903) was taken from an American publication of c. 1850, though he found a “fair version” in Smith’s Irish Minstrel (Edinburgh, 1825). Paul de Grae remarks that O'Neill's 'American' setting is likely drawn from J.T. Surenne's 1854 song setting called "I sat in the vale," for which "Rocking athe Cradle" is the indicated air, while another similar song air is "The Irish Boy" printed in September, 1842, in The Dublin Monthly Magazine. O’Neill included two versions of this tune in his Waifs and Strays of Irish Melody (1922), one of which is identical to the Music of Ireland setting.

O'Neill (1922) remarked upon performance peculiarities among Irish fiddlers:

To bring out the tones approaching human expression the fiddle is lowered in pitch, and the fiddler holding a long old-fashioned door key firmly between the teeth lightly touched the bridge of his instrument with it at appropriate passages. Those expert In manipulation produced very amusing if not edifying results.

A good description of “Rocking the Cradle,” noted O’Neill (in Irish Minstrels and Musicians, 1913), was to be found in the biography of John Coughlan, the Australian piper. According to Caoimhin Mac Aoidh, the great Sliabh Luachra fiddler player Pádraig O’Keeffe employed the technique (a recording of which can be heard on his album “Kerry Fiddles”), though it was also known and used in Donegal by John Doherty. A version of the air can be found under the title "Old Man Rocking the Cradle (The)" in the Rice-Walsh manuscripts, finds de Grae, who also finds O'Neill's own "Dancing the Baby" (from Dance Music of Ireland (1907) nearly identical. "Goodman," he says, "also has another variant under the Irish form of the title, 'An Seanduine ag Luasgadh an Chliabhain'" (see Tunes of the Munster Pipers, No. 295). See also County Leitrim piper and fiddler Stephen Grier's "Old Woman Rocking the Cradle (The)."

References were also made regarding it's use in Scotland. The technique has become an anachronism and but is sometimes demonstrated by modern fiddlers.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Sergeant James O’Neill (Chicago, originally from County Down, northern Ireland) [O’Neill].

Printed sources : - P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 3), 1859; No. 251, pp. 122-123. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 547, p. 96. O’Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922.

Recorded sources : - Arty McGlynn – “Music at Matt Molloy’s.”

See also listing at :
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [1]



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