Spailpín Rúin

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X:1 T:Spailpín! rúin! M:3/4 L:1/8 R:Air N:The tune can be played with all 'f' sharp notes. B:Stanford/Petrie (1905, No. 1379, p. 345) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:C AB|c2 ce dc|B3 AGA|B2g2B2|A4 GE|B3 AGB| A4 BE|E6|E4:|GA| B2d2 e^f|g4 fg|a2 g2 f^d| e4 =dB/A/|B2d2 e^f|g2e2 f^d|e4 =dB/A/|B2d2 e^f| g2e2 f^d|!fermata!e2 fe/f/!fermata!g/ AB|c2 ce dc|B3 AGA| B2g2B2|A4 GE|c2 BA GB|A4 GE|E6-|E4||

SPAILPÍN RÚIN (Spalpeen, My Love). AKA – “A Spailpín, A Rúin.” AKA and see "Tumbling down Teady's Acre," "Stranger (The)," "Along the Mourne Shore," "Reading made Easy (1) (The)." Irish, Air (3/4 time). D Mixolydian (Stanford/Petrie): C Mixolydian (Scanlon). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The song is a man's harsh rejection of the affections of an unappealing (but presumably wealthier) female suitor:

A chaile bhui chron, nior mhilis Iiom do phog,
Is ni ghlacfainn céad bo mar spré leat,
Is go mbfearr liomsa pog o chailin bheag og
na a bhfuil agat ar bhord an tsléibh’ amuigh.
(O swarthy yellow wench,
I would not think your kisses sweet and
I would not take a dowry of a hundred cows with you:
one kiss from a young little maid I would prefer
to all you possess on the verge of the mountain.)

The melody, which appears in the Stanford-Petrie collection (No. 1379), is a variant (or, as Cowdery {1990} says, an "outlining correspondent") of "The Blackbird," notwithstanding sean nos singer Joe Heaney's emphatic assertion that this was the older of the the two tunes. According to Brendan Breathnach, "The song belongs to the Waterford Gaeltacht and is, surely, one of the most beautiful of the older Irish melodies"[1].

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Ó Canainn (Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland), 1995; No. 59, p. 53. Charles Villiers Stanford (The Complete Collection of Petrie's Irish Music), 1905; No. 1379, p. Batt Scanlon (The Violin Made Easy and Attractive), San Francisco, 1923, p. 48.

Recorded sources : - Claddagh CC 9, Sean MacDonagh - "An Aill Bhain" (1971). Topic 12T175, Willie Clancy - "The Minstrel from Clare" (1967).

See also listing at :
Alan Ng's [1]

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  1. Breandan Breathnach, liner notes to Topic 12T175, "Willie Clancy: The Minstrel from Clare", 1967.