White Leaf (The)

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WHITE LEAF (An duilleog bhán). AKA and see "Marquis of Tullibardine (The)." Irish, Reel. A Major (Miller & Perron): G Major (Breathnach). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Randy Miller and Jack Perron thought it might have been composed by their source, Oliver O'Higgins, but it is considerably older than that. “The White Leaf” is thought by a few to be similar to the well-known “Mason's Apron (The), but researcher Conor Ward finds that it is cognate with and probably derived from another Scottish reel called "Marquis of Tullibardine (The)." He writes: "This was one of the most popular tunes played in the area of Leitrim and Longford. I have found it across several regional manuscripts from the late 19th century onwards, all mostly with the title "The White Leaf." See also the variant “Tinker's Bib (The)” (Stephen Grier MS, Co. Leitrim, 1883). "The White Leaf" was sometimes called “Green Leaf (The).” Ward also finds a musician's manuscript from the Leitrim/Longford area in which the tune is ideosyncratically called "Donegal Lasses (The)" (the title belongs to other tunes).

T:Donegall [sic] Lasses, The
e|dGBG dGBG|dGBG edcB|ABcd eAAf|edef gedB|
dGBG dGBG|dGBG edcB|ABcd edef|gfed (eg) g2:|
|:gG G2 BG G2|gG G2 edcB|aA A2 cA A2|aAAf gedc|
gG G2 BG G2|gG Gf edcB|ABcd edef|gfed (eg) g2:|]

North Longford fiddler Michael Francis McNerney (1898-1975), Ward notes, played the tune in ADae tuning. Belfast fiddler Sean McGuire recorded both "Mason's Apron" and "The White Leaf" in the 1960's (see Avoca AV 139 for "White Leaf").

Source for notated version: Oliver O’Higgins (Cloon, County Leitrim) [Miller & Perron]; the mid-20th century collection of Jack Wade (County Monaghan), who included the note “This is the old way of playing it. It is played quite differently now like many more” [Breathnach].

Printed sources: Breathnach (CRÉ IV), 1996; No. 191, pp. 88-89. Bulmer & Sharpley (Music from Ireland, vol. 4), 1976; No. 26. Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 1977; Addenda. Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 2nd Edition, 2006; p. 109.

Recorded sources: Cló Iar-Chonnachta CICD 173, Brian Conway – “Consider the Source” (2008). Green Linnet GLCD 1227, Oisín Mac Diarmada – “Ar an bhFidil” (2004).

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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