Yellow Flail (1) (The)
X:1 T:Yellow Flail , The T:Súiste Buídhe, An M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Playful but not too fast." B:Joyce - Ancient Irish Music (1873, No. 5) S:Joseph Martin (County Limerick) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G dc|B2G GFG|D2E FEF|GAG GAB|cAG FGA| BcB BAG|ABA ABc|dcB AGF|A2G G2|| D|G2A B2c|ded d2c|BAG FGA|cAG F2A| BcB BAG|ABA ABc|dcB AGF|A2G G2||
YELLOW FLAIL , THE (An Súiste Buídhe). Irish, Air or Jig (6/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Joyce, Mulvihill): AABBCC (O’Neill). A flail is an old farm implement used to separate grain from its shaft. It is a laborious process, which in the end produces a pile of grain and a pile of straw. The handle of the flail, in Irish, is súiste, while buídhe is a variant of buígh, which does mean the color yellow, although the color is thought to refer to the grain rather than the tool. Thus, the title is more accurately translated as "flailing the yellowing corn" (i.e. the ripening grain).
P.W. Joyce printed two versions in his Ancient Irish Music (1873), of which the present air is the second of the two referred to in his remarks:
This air I have known from my childhood, and always by the name of the "An Súiste Buídhe," or "The yellow flail." But the air immediately following, which I noted down fromt he singing of Joseph Martin, a native of county Limerick, was, according to him, known by the same name. They are both similar in character and expression--airy and graceful in movement; and as they are precisely alike in measure and rhythm, it is probably that an Irish song called "Súiste Buide" was sung to both indifferently, and gave them the same name. Observe that both are song airs, and are to be played somewhat slower than double jig time.
O'Neill's version adds a middle strain in between Joyce's two, and is meant to be played as a jig.
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