Swallowtail Jig (2) (The)

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X:1 T:Swallow Tail T:Swallowtail Jig [2], The M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig S:White’s Unique Collection (1896), No. 38 Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:E Minor (E/F/) | GEE BEE | GEE BAG | FDD ADD | d^cd AGF | GEE BEE | GEE (B2^c) | d^cd AGF | (GE)E E2 :| |: B | B^c^d e2f | efe =d2B | B^c^d e2f | (ed)B d3 | B^c^d e2f | e2f edB | d^cd AGF | (GE)E E2 :|



SWALLOWTAIL JIG [2], THE (Drioball na fáinleoige). AKA and see "Dancing Master (The)," “Dromey's Fancy,” “From the New Country,” "Gigue de Barnabé," "Heart of Me Kitty (The)," "Swallow's Nest (1)." Irish, English, Canadian, American; Double Jig (6/8 time). USA; New England, southwestern Pa. E Dorian (most versions): A Dorian (Allan's): B Minor (Shears). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Bayard): AABB (most versions). A once-popular tune in Ireland, Britain and North America, useful for beginners although often considered too hackneyed for session play. The provenance is unknown, but generally credited as Irish. The "Swallowtail" title (in conjunction with the alternate title in O’Neill’s, “The Dancing Master”) may possibly refer to the type of coat with tails typically worn by early 19th century dancing masters. Bayard (1981) identifies the melody as another member of his "protean" "Welcome Home" tune family. Ken Perlman (1979) dates “Swallowtail Jig” to the mid-nineteenth century (perhaps on the strength of its appearance in Ryan's Mammoth and Kerr’s Merry Melodies collections, published in the 1880's), and says it is often used as the vehicle for Northumbrian sword dancing (for five dancers with two handled swords). See also O’Neill’s related tune “Dromey's Fancy.” French-Canadian fiddler Joseph Allard (1873-1947) recorded the tune as "Gigue de Barnabé" in 1931 in the key of A minor, perhaps in honor of Barnabé Morin, one of his neighbors in Ville St-Pierre, Quebec[1].

Additional notes

Sources for notated versions: - Hiram Horner (fifer from Westmoreland and Fayette Counties, Pa., 1960); Thomas Hoge (fiddler and fifer from Greene County, Pa., 1948); Amasiah Thomas (elderly fiddler from Jefferson County, Pa., 1952) [Bayard]; Winston Fitzgerald (1914-1987, Cape Breton) [Cranford].

Printed sources : - Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 594A C, pp. 522 523. Brody (The Fiddler's Facebook), 1983; p. 270. Carlin (Master Collection), 1984; No. 239, p. 139 (appears as "Swallowtail Jig #2"). Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 69. Cranford (Winston Fitzgerald), 1997; No. 193, p. 76. DeVille, 1905; No. 52. Jarman (Old Time Fiddlin' Tunes); No. or p. 17. S. Johnson (The Kitchen Musician No. 6: Jigs), 1982 (revised 1989, 2001); p. 8. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 2), c. 1880’s; No. 271, p. 29. McDermott (Allan's Irish Fiddler), c. 1920’s; No. 21, p. 6 (appears as "Swallow's Nest"). Miller & Perron (New England Fiddlers Repertoire), 1983; No. 51. Reavy (The Collected Compositions of Ed Reavy), 1979; No. 28. Reiner (Anthology of Fiddle Styles), 1979; p. 50. Robbins, 1933; No. 143. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 100. Shears (The Gathering of the Clans Collection, vol. 1), 1986; p. 65 (pipe setting). Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 155. Spadaro (10 Cents a Dance), 1980; p. 22. Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965/1981; p. 31. White's Unique Collection, 1896; No. 42. White's Excelsior Collection, 1907; p. 22.

Recorded sources: -Fretless 101, "The Campbell Family: Champion Fiddlers" (1977). Front Hall 05, Fennigs All Stars "Saturday Night in the Provinces" (1975). Gael-Linn CEF 045, “Paddy Keenan” (1975). Kicking Mule KM-228, Bonnie Phipps – “Autoharpin” (1982). Living Folk LFR-100, MacArthur Family – “On the Mountains High” (1971). Transatlantic 341, Dave Swarbrick "Swarbrick 2." Victor 263864 (78 RPM), Joseph Allard (1931, as "Gigue de Barnabé").

See also listings at: Alan Snyder’s Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Ng’s Irishtune.info [3]



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  1. Jean Duval, "La Musique de Joseph Allard, 2018, p. 75.