St. Patrick's Day

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X:1 T:St. Patrick’s Day – In Love in a Village M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Air B:Samuel, Anne & Peter Thompson – The Hibernian Muse B:(London, 1787, No. 52, p. 32) N:”A Collection of the most Favorite Compositions N:of Carolan the Celebrated Irish Bard” Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G D|GAG GAB|ded dBG|BAB GED|EFE E2D| GAG GAB|ded dBG|BAB GED|E3G3:| |:def g2e|f2d e2B|def g2e|f2d e2e| def g>fe |f>ed efg|GAG GAB|ded dBG|BAB GED| EFE E2D|GAG GAB|ded dBG|BAB GED|E3 G3:|]



ST. PATRICK'S DAY {"La Feile Naoim Patraic," "La Feile Padraig" or "La Gheile Paidric"}. AKA - "St. Patrick's Day in the Morning." AKA and see "Barbary Bell," "Kerry Dance (The)" (Roche), "Knight of Saint Patrick Lancers (The)," "Oh! Erin My Country." "Old Woman Tossed Up (2)," "Old Woman Tossed up in a Basket (1) (The)]]" (Sharp), "Patrick's Day," "Reel de St-Patrice," "Sheelah's Wedding," "Though Dark Be Our Sorrows." Irish, English, Scottish, American; Air, Set Dance (6/8 time) and Jig. USA; Maine, New York, Pennsylvania. England; Northumberland, Shropshire. G Major (most versions): D Major (Ashman): C Major (Sumner). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Kerr, O'Neill/1850 & 1001, Sumner, Sweet): AA'B (Robbins): AABB (most versions): AABA (Wilson): AA'BB' (Miller & Perron): AABBCCDD (O’Farrell). The first mention of the tune is that it was one of two tunes (with "The White Cockade") played by the pipers of the Irish Brigade attached to the French forces which helped turn the tide of battle against the English troops at the battle of Fontenoy on May 11, 1745. Flood (1906) and O’Neill (1913) believe was probably the last appearance in battle of the Irish Piob mor (war pipes or great pipes, which survived only in Scotland) of which there is any mention. Rutherford's 200 Country Dances, volume 1, 1756, contains the first country dance printing of the tune, which also appears in English collections as a jig by the name "Barbary Bell." Typically for popular melodies of the time, it also became the vehicle for many songs, including air 35, "A plague of these wenches," in the opera Love in a Village by T.A. Arne and I. Bickerstaffe (London, 1762). As song, country dance or quickstep it remained popular for many years. In later military tradition it was played on December 31, 1811 by the 87th Regiment band as a French attack became a rout at Tarifa, and Winstock (1970) remarks it was a favourite quickstep of the Napoleonic era Peninsular War in the British army. Queen Victoria requested the melody from piper Thomas Mahon when she and the Prince Consort visited Ireland for the first time in 1849. Mahon was surprised to learn that she and the Prince were familiar “with the best gems in Irish music,” and he also played “The Royal Irish Quadrilles” and “Garryowen” at their behest. The Queen must have been impressed with his playing, for she directed that henceforth Mahon have the title “Professor of the Irish Union Bagpipers to Her Most Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria” (O’Neill, 1913). English country dance versions appear several times in James Oswald’s Caledonian Pocket Companion (London, 1760), and James Aird printed it in Glasgow in his Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1 (1782). In fact, English printings of the tune by far predate Irish ones, and it may be the provenance is English, despite the Irish-sounding title.

The title was recorded by the Belfast Northern Star of July 15, 1792, as having been played in competition by one of ten Irish harp masters at the last great convocation of ancient Irish harpers, the Belfast Harp Festival, held that week. The harper’s name was Patrick Quin (1745?-18??), according to Edward Bunting’s introduction to his 1840 collection Ancient Irish Music. He says: “It is worthy of remark, that Quin was the only harper at the Belfast Meeting who attempted to play ‘Patrick’s Day’, of which he was very proud, having set, or, as he expressed it, ‘fixed it’ for the harp.” Little is known of Quin, who was originally from County Armagh, save that he was blind and played both the fiddle and the harp. Supposedly he received so many accolades on his playing at a Carolan commemoration in Dublin in 1809 that he gave up the fiddle altogether (Heymann, 1992), setting his fiddle pieces for the harp.

Seán Donnelly finds reference to the dance in Lady Morgan’s The Book of the Boudoir (2 vols., London, 1829), II, p. 231, referring to dancing on St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin Castle in the early 1800’s:

This is the only occasion on which country dances are performed at the Irish court. The ball on Patrick’s night is always opened by the lively dance of “Patrick’s day.” The dowagers of both sexes then come into play; and “the Irish trot” of many a veteran belle, recalls the good old times of the Rutland Court: when French quadrilles were “undreamed of in philosophy” of the dancing of that noted epoch.

In Irish tradition, “St. Patrick’s Day” is one of the four tunes called the Traditional Sets (i.e. set dances), along with “Job of Journeywork (1),” “Blackbird (1) (The)” and “Garden of Daisies (1) (The).”

The melody has been danced and marched to in North America for some two hundred years where it has been very popular, sustained in part by the large immigrant Irish population as a signature anthem. The jig appears earliest in America in Giles Gibbs' 1777 Connecticut fife MS. George White (Cherry Valley, New York) included it in his 1790-1830 fiddle manuscript, as did Elisha Belknap (Framingham Mass., 1784), Ira Clark (Simsbury Connecticut, c. 1801), fiddler Daniel Aborn (1790), fluter Henry Beck (1786), and numerous others. Clement Weeks, of Greenland, New Hampshire, copied dance directions to the melody in his MS copybook of 1783. Flute player Thomas Molyneaux of Shelburne, Nova Scotia, penned it into his 1788 copybook. It also appears in the music manuscript copybook of Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery’s invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Montreal from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly’s dancing season of 1774-1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York. American musican M.E. Eames entered three different (but closely related) versions of “St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning” his music copybook in 1859 (p. 71). It was played in the Civil War by musicians of both sides in the conflict, and appeared in the martial music tutors School for the Fife (Elias Howe, 1851) and Army Regulations for Fife and Drum (William Nevin, 1861). In relatively modern times it has been cited as having commonly been played for country dances in Orange County, New York, in the 1930's (Lettie Osborn, New York Folklore Quarterly), and it was in the repertoire of Maine fiddler Mellie Dunham (The elderly Dunham was Henry Ford's champion fiddler in the late 1920's). The tune is, of course, still a popular marching tune played at annual St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States. The melody for the American shape-note hymn “Old Fashioned Bible” is an adaptation of “St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning.”

Samuel Bayard (1981) observes there are two main sets of the tune that have coexisted; a standard form and an extension form (having extra measures: 10, 12, 14 or 16 have been recorded). He notes references under the given title above date back to 1748 and 1762 (see Moffat, p. 272). Another form also has also existed for over 150 years to which Thomas Moore wrote his song "When in death I shall calm recline;" this form often appears in older collections under the title "The Legacy [1]." Bayard collected both the standard and extension forms of the tune in southwestern Pennsylvania (he also collected a 2/4 version {No. 225, pg. 183} the source called by the floating title "The Drunken Sailor").

“St. Patrick’s Day” was famously recorded on a 78 RPM by piper Leo Rowsome (recorded with “The Blackbird”). Rowsome’s recording has a story associated with it, as told by Sean Reid in the sleeve notes to "Leo Rowsome volume 1" (Ossian OSS 66), to the effect that “it was an impromptu studio session where Leo wrote out the music on the back of an envelope for two English musicians, who had no knowledge of Irish music, but who just happened to be there and ad-libbed their way through some truly great music” (communicated by Anthony Buffery). Buffery says that, according to Reg Hall, “in reality, Rowsome had been invited to London specifically to play at dance hall ceilis, and on those recordings the fiddle player and the two drummers were highly competent Gasra na nGael London-born Irish musicians who knew the tunes inside out. They would have had plenty of opportunity to rehearse during the ceilis. Sean Reid probably got the myth story from Rowsome after a few drinks back in Dublin.” Others corroborate at least part of the myth: Rowsome was known to have had the ability to quickly write out music in musical notation on the spot.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - six southwestern Pa. fiddlers and fifers [Bayard]; the Irish collector Edward Bunting noted the tune from Patrick Quinn the harper in 1792; a c. 1837-1840 MS by Shropshire musician John Moore [Ashman]; the 1823-26 music mss of papermaker and musician Joshua Gibbons (1778-1871, of Tealby, near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire Wolds) [Sumner]; New Jersey flute player Mike Rafferty, born in Ballinakill, Co. Galway, in 1926 [Harker].

Printed sources : - Aird ('Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1), 1782; No. 50. Ashman (The Ironbridge Hornpipe), 1991; No. 79, p. 32. Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 633, pp. 555 557. Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 391. Bunting, 1840; p. 67. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 76. Cranitch (Irish Fiddle Book), 1996; No. 95, p. 164. Crosby's Irish Music Repository, p. 41 (appears as "Sheelaghs Wedding"). Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; p. 63. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 3), 1806; p. 18. Harding's All Round Collection, 1905; No. 185, p. 59. Harding Collection (1915) and Harding's Original Collection (1928), No. 41. Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 292, p. 95. Heymann (Legacy of the 1792 Belfast Harp Festival), 1992; pp. 29-30. Howe (Complete Preceptor for the Accordeon), 1843; p. 38. Howe (Diamond School for the Violin), 1861; p. 44. Howe (School for the Violin), 1851; p. 32. Hughes (Gems from the Emerald Isles), London, 1867, No. 30, p. 8. Johnson (A Further Collection of Dances, Marches, Minuetts and Duetts of the Latter 18th Century), 1998; p. 1. JWFSS, vol. 4, p. 64. Kennedy (Fiddlers Tune Book, vol. 1), 1951; No. 80, p. 39 (appears as "Barbary Bell"). Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880, No. 35, p. 39. R.M. Levey (First Collection of the Dance Music of Ireland), 1858; No. 104, p. 41. MacFadyen's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. II, No. 18. McDermott (Allan's Irish Fiddler), c. 1920’s, No. 117, p. 30. Miller & Perron (New England Fiddler’s Repertoire), 1983; No. 48. O’Farrell (Pocket Companion), c. 1805; pp. 10-11. O’Flannagan (Hibernia Collection), Boston, 1860; p. 12. O'Malley, 1919; p. 8. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 298, p. 52. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 975. O'Sullivan/Bunting, 1983; No. 91, pp. 135-136. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion), 1760, vol. 2, p. 132. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 106 (appears as "Barbary Bell"). Robbins Music Corp. (The Robbins collection of 200 jigs, reels and country dances), New York, 1933; No. 43, p. 14. Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 3), 1927;, No. 191, p. 67 (appears as the set dance "Patrick's Day") and vol. 2, No. 293 (appears as "The Kerry Dance"). Rutherford (200 Country Dances, vol. I), 1756; No. 1, p. 1. Saar, 1932; No. 7. Spadaro (10 Cents a Dance), 1980; p. 44. Sumner (Lincolnshire Collections, vol. 1: The Joshua Gibbons Manuscript), 1997; p. 23. Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965/1981; p. 26. Sym, 1930; p. 15. Thompson (Hibernian Muse), 1786; p. 32. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music), 1999; p. 16. Walker's Irish Bards, p. 33. White's Excelsior Collection, 1907; p. 80. Wier, p. 413. Wilson ('Companion to the Ball Room), 1816, p. 116.

Recorded sources : - Edison 51381 (78 RPM), Jasper Bisbee, 1923 (appears as 2nd tune of "Girl I Left Behind Me" medley). Folkways FA 2381, "The Hammered Dulcimer as played by Chet Parker" (Michigan, 1966). John Edwards Memorial Foundation JEMF 105, L.O. Weeks "New England Traditional Fiddling" (1978). PearlMae Muisc 004-2, Jim Taylor – “The Civil War Collection” (1996). Topic 12T 259, Leo Rowsome - "Classics of Irish Piping vol. 1" (1975). Topic 12TS 373, John Rea - "Tradtional Music on the Hammer Dulcimer" (1979).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng’s Irishtune.info [2]



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