Shan Van Vocht (2) (The)

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X:1 T:Shan Van Vauch [2], The M:C L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Moderato" B:J. Clinton – Gems of Ireland:200 Airs (1841, No. 200, p. 104) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G (G>A)|(B>c)(d>e) .d2 (B>A)|.G2.G2!fermata!.G2 (G>A)|(B>A)(B>c) .d2 (e>g)|.a2.a2!fermata!.a2 (g>a)| (b>a)(g>e) .g2 (f>e)|(d>e)(d>B) !fermata!.A2 (G>A)|(B>c)(d>e) .d2 (B>A)|.G2.G2!fermata!.G2||



SHAN VAN VOCHT [2], THE (An t sean bean boct). AKA and see “<incipit title="load:Poor" width=850 link="https://tunearch.org/wiki/Poor Old Woman (2)">Poor Old Woman (2)</incipit>.” Irish, Air (4/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The title is an Englished version of the Gaelic An t-sean bean boct or A Sheana bhean bhochd, which translates as ‘the poor old woman,’ or more literally, ‘the tight old hag.’ The old woman is a personification of the Irish nation. The allegorical song concerns the 1798 Irish uprising, and while collector P.W. Joyce sourced it from the Young Ireland movement of the mid-19th century others think it may date from 1707-98. Vic Gammon (1989) points out that even if it were written later, it's hopeful sentiments would have been re-aroused in the Irish with the ascendance more than a decade later of Napoleon. “Many settings of this air have been published. I give one here which I think has not yet seen the light" (Joyce). A version of it can be found in Patrick Galvin's Irish Songs of Resistance. It begins:

O the French are on the sea
Says the Shan Van Vocht
O the French are on the sea
Says the Shan Van Vocht
O the French are in the bay
They’ll be here without delay
And the Orange will decay
Says the Shan Van Vocht.


Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 119, p. 60. Ó Lochlainn, Colm (More Irish Street Ballads), No. 60. Stanford-Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 1204 (appears as “An t sean bean boct”).

Recorded sources: -



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