Annotation:Wearing of the Green

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X:1 T:Wearing of the Green, The M:C L:1/8 R:Air B:P.M. Haverty – One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 2 (1859, No. 199, p. 90) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:C C>D|E2 EE EGG>A|E<D D>E D2 EG|AGcA A<G EC|{E}DCC>C C2:|| c>B|A2 G>G G2 CD|E2 E>E E2 c>B|A2 GG G<E CE|D2 DE D2 C>D| E2 EE EGG>A|E<D D>E D2 EG|AGcA A<G EC|{E}DCC>C C2||

WEARING OF THE GREEN, THE (Caitead An Glas). Irish; Air, March and Air (4/4 time). G Major (most versions): F Major (Hudson). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Hudson, Sweet): AAB (O'Neill). Bayard (1981) notes that (Anne Geddes) Gilchrist and Alfred Moffat identified this air as a descendant of an old Scots air called "Tulip (The)," a march composed by James Oswald and appearing in his c. 1747 Airs for the Spring. Ernest MacMillan identifies it as a variant of "Balance the Straw (1)," from a 1759 instrumental setting. The melody has been the vehicle for numerous songs, sacred and profane, and has been extensively studied. The title "Wearing of the Green" first appeared on a political broadside of 1798, the year of the Rebellion, and a “Wearing of the Green” song [1] was published in The Citizen in 1841. However, the most famous text of the song comes from a play called Arrah-na-Pogue, produced in Dublin in 1864 and New York in 1865. The stage version lyrics were rewritten by Dion Boucicault (1820-1890), “to an old melody,” at the suggestion of his mother. The tune itself is printed in Havety's One Hundred Irish Airs, 2nd series, (1859). The ‘wearing of the green’ refers to the outlawed green cockade worn by the Irish rebels, an adaptation of the French cockade and Tree of Liberty of the 1789 revolution. Redfern Mason wrote in his Song Lore of Ireland (1910):

There is, in true national poetry an accent of sincerity which goes straight to the heart and cannot be imitated...nowhere does it ring with a more pathetic thrill than in "Wearing of the Green". The writer was a lad when he first heard it sung in Boucicault's Arrah na Pogue (1865)...Because it was sung in Boucicault's drama, many people have imagined that the clever playwright wrote it. But nobody can claim its authorship. It is an inspired street ballad, born of the sorrow and bitterness of the people.

The great Irish tenor John McCormack recorded the Dion Boucicault version in 1912 for Victor Records. It was issued in the United States and England, and remained in the company’s catalog into the 1950's. In Scotland the melody is used for the song "Sae Will We Yet,” a convivial end-of-evening song.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 2), 1859; No. 199, p. 90. Henry Philerin Hudson (Collection of Irish Music, vol. 1), c. 1840-50; No. 80. O'Neill (O’ Neill’s Irish Music), 1915; No. 99, p. 55. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 467, p. 81. Sweet (Fifer’s Delight), 1965/1981; p. 15.

See also listing at :
Hear tenor John McCormack's 78 RPM recording on [2]

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