Banshee (1) (The)

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 Theme code Index    116L3L 1153
 Also known as    McMahon's Reel
 Composer/Core Source    
 Region    Ireland
 Genre/Style    Irish
 Meter/Rhythm    Reel (single/double)
 Key/Tonic of    G
 Accidental    1 sharp
 Mode    Ionian (Major)
 Time signature    4/4
 Structure    AABB
 Editor/Compiler    Bernard Flaherty
 Book/Manuscript title    Trip to Sligo
 Tune and/or Page number    p. 158
 Year of publication/Date of MS    1990
 Artist    Bothy Band (The)
 Title of recording    First Album
 Record label/Catalogue nr.    Green Linnet GLCD 3011
 Year recorded    1975
 Score   ()   

BANSHEE [1], THE. AKA and see "McMahon's Reel." Irish, Reel. G Major ('A' part) & A Dorian ('B' part). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Flaherty, Silberberg, Songer): AA'BB' (Harker/Rafferty). Apparently the "Banshee" title for this tune originated with the Bothy Band, according to Philippe Varlet. However, the tune was composed by a Fermanagh fiddle and flute player named John McMahon who later removed to County Antrim, near Muckamore. In Fermanagh and many other places it is still called "McMahon's Reel" after its composer. "The Banshee" title also appears frequently, however, there is no evidence that McMahon ever used this title himself. According to Crofton Croker the banshee is "a small, shrivelled old woman with long white hair, supposed to be peculiarly attached to old houses or families, and to announce the approaching dissolution of any members by mournful lamentations. This fairy attendant is considered as highly honourable." Paul de Grae suggests the McMahon's tune was derisively nicknamed after the banshee by someone not very enamoured of the melody.

Sources for notated versions: flute player Harry McGowan (b. 1937, Carrowmore, Co. Sligo, Ireland) [Flaherty]; New Jersey flute player Mike Rafferty, born in Ballinakill, Co. Galway, in 1926 [Harker].

Printed sources: Flaherty (Trip to Sligo), 1990; p. 158. Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 17, p. 6. Silberberg (Fiddle Tunes I Learned at the Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 4. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 23.

Recorded sources: Green Linnet GLCD 3011, The Bothy Band – "First Album" (1975).

X: 1
T:Banshee, The
S:Michael Hogan, Ir-Trad, 4/97
N:this version is from Henrik Norbeck's collection
|:eaag efge|dBBA B3z|eB~B2 gBfB|eBBA B3z|
eaag efge|dBBA B3z|eged BAGA|BAGE EDD2:|