Annotation:Rory O'More

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X:1 T:Rory O'More T:Good Omens M:6/8 L:1/8 Q:"Allegretto" R:Jig B:P.M. Haverty – One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 3 (1859, No. 273, p. 136) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G e|dGG {B}AGG|dGG (Gge)|(d>cB) (B>AG)|FAA A2 (B/c/)| dGG {B}AGG|DGG !fermata!e2 (d/c/)|(B>cd) def|gGG [B,2G2]|| g|(g>fe) eBB|{d}(cBA) G2F|(E>FG) (GAB)|(Bed) d2 (e/f/)| (g>fe) eBB|{d}(cBA) G2F|(E>FG) (GAB)|(Bed) !fermata![F2d2]!D.C.!||

RORY O'MO{O}RE (“Ruaidri Ua Morda” or “Ruadhraí Ó Mórdha”). AKA and see "Good Omens," "I'll Follow You My Dear," “King of Leix (The),” "March of the King of Laois," "Rory of the Hills." Scottish, Irish, New England; Double Jig and Country Dance Tune: English, Morris Dance Tune. A Major (Athole, Cole, Hardings, Kennedy, Kerr, Miller & Perron, Phillips, SweetSkye): G Major (Feldman & O’Doherty, Haverty): G Major {'A' part} & E Minor {'B' part} (Mallinson, O'Neill, Robbins, Sumner, Trim): F Major (Bacon): D Major (Winscott): C Major (Howe): B Flat Major (Stanford/Petrie). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Stanford/Petrie): AB (Bacon, Robbins): AAB (Skye): AABB (Athole, Cole, Haverty, Kennedy, Kerr, Miller & Perron, Sumner, Sweet, Trim): AABB' (Hardings, O'Neill): AA’BB’ (Feldman & O’Doherty): AABB'BB' (Phillips): AB,x6 (Mallinson, Winscott). "Rory O'More" was a very popular tune from the late 1830's to the end of the 19th century, frequently published and a common entry in period musicians' manuscript collections.

Colonel Roger “Rory” O’More (c. 1620-1655) was a minor Irish noble and the titular King of Laois, who rose to fame as the scourge of the English during the reign of Charles I. The jig was composed by Irish songwriter, novelist, composer and painter Samuel Lover [1] (1797-1868) and became the "hit tune" of 1837. Although initially a dance tune (a popular Scottish country dance is called "Rory O'More"), it was absorbed as a common march in the Victorian era British army and can be found in martial manuscript books dating from the 1850's (Winscott). “Rory O’More” also appears in English fiddler’s manuscripts from the same era (see Ellis Knowles and Joshua Gibbons, referenced below). The melody was picked up by morris dancers from the village of Adderbury, Oxfordshire, in England's Cotswolds and used as a rural dance vehicle sometimes called by morris musicians as “Haste to the Wedding” and played in the key of ‘F’.

Overseas, in America, it also caught popular fancy and appeared in Elias Howe's 1843 (Preceptor for the Accordeon) and 1858 collections, surviving and achieving some longevity in its initial genre, i.e. as a country dance tune. It was commonly played for country dances in Orange County, New York, as late as the 1930's (Lettie Osborn, New York Folklore Quarterly). Howe later (c. 1867) included it with dance instructions in his section of Contra Dances. The title appears in a repertoire list of Maine's Mellie Dunham, an elderly fiddler who was Henry Ford's champion on the instrument in the late 1920's. Perhaps the earliest recording is from 1904 by violinist Charles D’Alamaine, born in 1871 in England, who died in 1943. D’Alamaine immigrated to the United States in 1888, and by 1890 had established himself as “instructor on violin” in Evanston, Illinois; by 1910 he had removed to Yonkers, and in 1920 was a chiropractor in New York City (info. from Paul Gifford).

See note for “annotation:Rory of the Hills” for information on the Irish hero Rory O’More.

Despite the non-Irish provenance of the jig, “Rory O’More” was celebrated in the poem “The Ould Irish Jig,” by James McKowen (1814-1889):

An ould Irish jig, too, was danced by
The kings and the great men of yore,
King O’Toole could himself neatly foot it
To a tune they called “Rory O’More”.
And oft in the great hall of Tara,
Our famous King Brian Boru,
Danced an ould jig with his nobles,
And played his own harp to them too.

Then a fig for your new-fashioned waltzes,
Imported from Spain and from France;
And a fig for the thing called the polka -
Our own Irish jig we will dance.

Famed County Clare concertina player Mrs. Crotty played the tune, learned probably from recordings as it was not part of the local repertoire. The first woman to record Irish traditional dance music, melodeon player Mary Ellen Conlon, recorded "Rory O'More" for Gennett Records (5270) in 1923.

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - “From Miss Ross” [Stanford/Petrie]; fiddler Pete Sutherland (Vt.) [Phillips]; Francie and Mickey Byrne (County Donegal) [Feldman & O’Doherty]; the 1845-47 music manuscript of musician Ellis Knowles (Radcliffe, Lancashire) [Plain Brown]; the 1823-26 music mss of papermaker and musician Joshua Gibbons (1778-1871, of Tealby, near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire Wolds) [Sumner].

Printed sources : - Bacon (The Morris Ring), 1974; p, 12. A.S. Bowman (J.W. Pepper Collection of Five Hundred Reels, Jigs, etc.), Phila., 1908, No. 36, p. 9. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 62. Doyle (Plain Brown Tune Book), 1997; p. 17. Feldman & O’Doherty (The Northern Fiddler), 1979; p. 159. Frank Harding (Harding’s Original Collection), 1897; No. 185, p. 58. Hardings All-Round Collection, 1905; No. 186, p. 59. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 3), 1859; No. 273, p. 136. Howe (Complete Preceptor for the Accordeon), 1843; p. 35. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 75. Jarman (Old Time Fiddlin' Tunes), No. or p. 16. Kennedy (Traditional Dance Music of Britain and Ireland: Jigs & Quicksteps, Trips & Humours), 1997; No. 164, p. 39. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; No. 18, p. 37. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 167. Mallinson (Mally’s Cotswold Morris vol. 2), 1988; No. 23, p. 13. Miller & Perron (New England Fiddler’s Repertoire), 1983; No. 5. Milne (Middleton’s Selection of Strathspeys, Reels &c. for the Violin), 1870; p. 37. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 34. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1986; No. 116, p. 34. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 2), 1995; No. 85, p. 27. 377. Robbins Music Corp. (The Robbins collection of 200 jigs, reels and country dances), New York, 1933; p. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 91. Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 740, p. 185. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 144. Sumner (Lincolnshire Collections, vol. 1: The Joshua Gibbons Manuscript), 1997; p. 71. Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965/1981; p. 22. Trim (The Musical Legacy of Thomas Hardy), 1990; No. 32. Winstock (Songs and Music of the Redcoats), 1970; p. 217. Geoff Woolfe (William Winter's Quantocks Tune Book), 2007; No. 90, p. 40.

Recorded sources : - Alcazar Dance Series FR 204, Rodney Miller - "New England Chestnuts" (1980). F&W Records 1, "F&W String Band." Fretless 101, "The Campbell Family: Champion Fiddlers." Gennett 5270 (78 RPM), Mary Ellen Conlon (1923. Melodeon player). RTE RTECD225, Elizabeth Crotty - "Concertina Music from West Clare" (1999. Originally recorded 1957 & 1960).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Ng’s [3]

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