Three Merry Sisters

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X:1 T:Three Merry Sisters M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel S:Ryan’s Mammoth Collection (1883) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Edor .B.E(3FED BdcA|.B.E(3FED dAFA|.B.E(3FED BdcA|(dD)(3DDD ADFA:| |:Beec d2 cA|Beec dAFA|Beec d2 cA|BABc dAFA:| |:BdcA BFAF|.B.E(3EEE BDFA|BdcA BFAF|(dD)(3DDD ADFA| BdcA BFAF|.B.E(3EEE BEFA|DFAc d2 eg|fdec dAFA:|



THREE MERRY SISTERS. AKA and see “Cross Road (1),” “Merry Sisters (The),” “Mill Town Maid.” Irish, Reel. Ireland, Donegal. E Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC. The reel is common in the County Donegal tradition. Caoinhin Mac Aoidh (1994) states the reel was very popular with the musical Doherty family, and believes they learned it from a recording by Frank O'Higgins. The title (the full version of which the Dohertys invariably used, not the shortened "The Merry Sisters") refers to the three fates of classical Greek mythology, Lachesis, Clotho and Atropos, the daughters of Erebus, who card, spin and finally cut the strands of each human life. Mac Aoidh see in this title perhaps evidence of the influence of old 'hedge scholars' who once roamed Ireland.

The reel “Cross Road (1)” in Cole's 1000 is part one and two of “Three Merry Sisters.” Altan's "Three Merry Sisters of Fate (The)" is perhaps distantly related.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 6. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883.

Recorded sources : - Green Linnet SIF 1109, Altan - "The Red Crow" (1990).




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