St. Patrick was a Gentleman (2)

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X:1 T:St. Patrick was a Gentleman [2] M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Moderately Quick" B:R.M. Levey – First Collection of the Dance Music of Ireland (1858, No. 99, p. 39) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Bmin f/e/|(dBBB)|(FB)BB|cA A/B/c/d/|e2 dc|dBBB| FBBB|cA A/B/c/d/|e2 dc||(Bb)ba|(bf)fe|(fb)ba| b2 (bc')|d'bc'^a|bf fe/d/|cA A/B/c/d/|e2 dc:|]



ST. PATRICK WAS A GENTLEMAN [2]. AKA and see “Alasdair MacAlister,” “Denis Doody's (2),” “From Billy to Jack,” “Glen Cottage Polka (2) (The),” “Green Cottage (2) (The),” “Green Cottage Polka, No. 2,” “Glin Cottage Polka (1) (The),” “McAllister's Fling,” “Quarry Cross Polka (The),” "St. Patrick was Your Patron Saint." Irish; March, Polka or Air (4/4 time). Ireland, West Kerry. E Minor: B Minor (Haverty): F Dorian (Stanford/Petrie). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Stanford/Petrie): AABC. The tune is set in a minor key as are a majority of the variants with this title. The exception is Francis O'Neill who printed a major key version in his Music of Ireland (1903, for which see "St. Patrick was a Gentleman (1)". Samuel Bayard[1] discerns considerable resemblance between this tune and the Northumbrian smallpipe piece "Black Cock o' Whickham (The)". The ancestral tune to all the variants is possibly the Scottish strathspey/reel "Alasdair MacAlister."

Bayard also records that Hans Nathan (1962), in his book on blackface minstrel and musician Dan Emmett, states that American songwriter Septimus Winner was the author of the words generally sung to this tune (c. 1861?).

See also the American shape note hymn “Mecklinburg,” printed in a supplement to the Kentucky Harmony, first published around the year 1815, wherein the tune is attributed to ‘Lowry’.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - "The original melody of ‘St. Patrick was a Gentleman’ as played by the Irish Militia Bands" [Stanford-Petie]; Conant (Pa., 1930's) [Bayard].

Printed sources : - Bayard ('Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; Appendix No. 26, p. 583. Clinton (Gems of Ireland: 200 Airsd), 1841; No. 12, p. 6. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 3), 1859; No. 280, p. 140. Mac Amhlaoibh & Durham (An Pota Stóir: Ceol Seite Corca Duibne/The Set Dance Music of West Kerry), No. 25, p. 23 (appears as “Gan Ainm” {untitled}). Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 346, p. 87. Robbins, No. 190. Wier, p. 432.






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  1. Samuel Bayard, Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife, 1981.