White Blanket (1) (The)

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X:1 T:White Blanket [1], The M:4/4 L:1/8 Z:Lorna LaVerne K:G Major (3ABc |dFFE FGAF | EF (3ABc d3B |cBAF E2FA | B2Bc B2AB | cBAF ECEF | A2AB A2 (3ABc |dFFE FGAF | EF (3ABc d3B | cBAF E2FA | B2Bc B2AB |cBAF ECEF | A2AB AAce | f2fe fgaf | ec (3ABc d3B |cBAF E2FA | B2Bc B2AB | cBAF ECEF | A2AB AAce |f2fe fgaf | ec (3ABc d3B | cBAF E2FA | B2Bc B2AB |cBAF ECEF | A2AB A2 |]



WHITE BLANKET [1], THE (An Súisín Bán). AKA - "White Cushion (The)," "White Flail (The)." AKA - "Súisín bán (An)." Irish, Long or Set Dance (2/4 or 4/4 time). G Major (Mulvihill, O'Neill, Roche, Tubridy, Vallely, Williamson): A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (O'Neill/1001, Williamson): AABB (Mulvihill, O'Neill, Roche, Tubridy, Vallely). "The White Blanket" (An Súisín Bán) is the name of both a contemporary and traditional set dance in Ireland. The set dance is derived from the air of the same name (for which see O'Farrell's "Cooleen Bawn AKA O'Neill's Maid without Dower (The)"). The title is sometimes known in Englished Gaelic as "The Suisheen Bawn." Musically, it begins on the subdominant chord and for those versions with separate parts, the 'A' and 'B' parts are not the same lengths, as is not uncommon in set dances. However, there are many and diverse variants of the melody. An early instrumental version of the melody appears John and William Neales' Collection of the Most Celebrated Irish Tunes (Dublin, 1726), the first real collection of Irish folk music (Ó Canainn, 1978).

Paul de Grae points out O'Neill's settings in Music of Ireland (1903) and Dance Music of Ireland (1907) are not the same. In the former, source Edward Cronin altered the first strain of the tune from its usual six bar length to eight bars, while the second has twelve bars, "being basically the second part of the air repeated, with a linking phrase between the repeats. This setting does not seem to have gained widespread popularity, as the tune is still played today with a six-bar part (with and without repeats)"[1]. The setting in Dance Music of Ireland reverts back to the older format.

“An Súisíin Bán” is also a sean-nós song that appears in Hyde’s Love Songs of Connaught (1893). Dr. Douglas Hyde (1860-1949) of Castlerea, County Roscommon was a scholar, a founder of the modern Irish theatre, and one of the seven co-founders of the Gaelic League. He was elected its first president, and later, in 1938 was unanimously acclaimed Ireland’s first president.

Belfast collector Edward Bunting's air "White Blanket (3) (The)" may be a related tune.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Fiddler Edward Cronin [O'Neill].

Printed sources : - Cotter (Traditional Irish Tin Whistle Tutor), 1989; 92. Mulvihill (1st Collection), 1986; No. 10, p. 111. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 223. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1794, p. 335. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 981, p. 168. Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 2), 1912; No. 273, p. 30. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, Book Two), 1999; p. 15. Vallely (Learn to Play the Fiddle with Armagh Pipers Club), 197?; No. 30, p. 29. Williamson (English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish Fiddle Tunes), 1976; p. 79.

Recorded sources : - Cló Iar Chonnachta CICD 165, John Wynne & John McEvoy – “Pride of the West” (2007). Gael-Linn CEF 020, Tommy Delaney & May Keogh - "Rince: An Dara Ceim" (1968). RCA 09026-60916-2, The Chieftains - "An Irish Evening" (1991). Shanachie 79024, “Chieftains 4” (1973). Shanachie 79024, "Chieftains 4" (1973). Learned by Uilleann piper Paddy Moloney from Junior Crehan at the funeral of Irish piping great Willie Clancy {Alun Owen}). Gearóid O hAllmhuráin - "Traditional Music From Clare and Beyond" (appears as “An Cuisin Ban”).

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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  1. Paul de Grae, "Notes on Sources of Tunes in the O'Neill Collections", 2017 [3].
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