High Caul Cap
X:2 T:High Caul Cap,aka. RHu.144d T:Donkey Riding,aka. RHu.144d T:Cockleshells,aka. RHu.144d T:Highland Laddie,aka. RHu.144d T:Lass of Livingstone,aka. RHu.144d T:Scotch Set Of Quadrilles.#4. RHu.144d S:R.Hughes MS,1823,Whitchurch,Shrops. A:Whitchurch, Shropshire Z:Tony Weatherall 2006 M:2/4 L:1/8 Q:1/4=100 K:Amaj E|A>Bcc|dB c2|cBB (A/B/)|cBB (A/B/)|! A>Bcc|dB c2|AFF (E/F/)|AFF||! e|faef|d/c/B/A/ c2|cBB (A/B/)|cBB e|! (fa)(ef)|d/c/B/A/ c>B|AFF (E/F/)|AFF|]
HIGH CAUL/CAUL'D CAP, THE ("An Caip Cul-Ard" or "Caiop an Cuil Aird"). AKA - "My High Cauled Cap." AKA and see "Bonny Laddie," "Bonny Lassie," "Bonny Lass of Livingston (The)," "Cockleshells," "Donkey Riding," "Gabhairin Bui (An)," "Hielan Laddie )(1)," "Original Highland Laddie(1) (The)," "Piper's Dance (The)," "What Shall I Do?" Irish, English; Set Dance (2/4 time), March, Polka, "Barn Dance" or Country Dance Tune. A Major (Allan, Mallinson): G Major (Kennedy, Mulvihill, O'Neill/1001): F Major (O'Neill/1850). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Allan, Kennedy, Mallinson, O'Neill): AABB' (Mulvihill). O'Neill (1913) mentions that a special dance was performed to this tune, and indeed The High Caul Cap has long been considered one of the 'traditional' ceili dances, a set eight-hand reel. Frequently the tunes played to accompany the dance The High Caul Cap are "The High Cauled Cap," "Dashing White Sergeant (The)" and "White Cockade (The)," although occasionally others are substituted (such as "O'Connor's/Hayden Fancy." A high caul cap was a style of close-fitting head covering worn by women to shield their hair, most popular during the Renaissance period. It could be made of cloth or leather, sometimes featured a turnback around the face (as we might nowadays think of for baby bonnets), and occasionally sported a short tail or peak at the crown. Men's versions were worn to protect the head when wearing a metal cap or helm. In modern usage a caul refers to the part of the hat that is not the brim.
The term 'caul' derives from the Old English cawl, Middle English calle, and denotes the fetal membrane. In this sense the term caul is meant metaphorically, for occasionally a baby is born with the caul covering its head. This phenomenon has much folklore attached to it. In Estonia the color of a child's caul foretold his fortune, red for luck and black for misfortune, while in Russia's Carpathians, a child born with a caul or "cap" on the head was expected to have good luck. More sinister, a Polish folk superstition has it that an infant born with a caul on his head would later become a Vjesci, or vampire. If, however, the cap was removed, dried, ground up and fed to the child on his seventh birthday it would prevent him from maturing into the monster.
That playing the tune over and over for a dance can sometimes get tedious is well-known to ceili musicians (it goes on for 576 bars!). Button accordion great Billy McComiskey had this spontaneous solution while playing for one ceili dance in Washington, D.C.-he roared out "Circle of fifths" to the accompanying musicians and proceeded to go from key to key through the circle. Most ceili groups play a medley of tunes, perhaps starting and ending with "The High Cauled Cap." "High Caul Cap" is also the name of a specific ceili dance, with more complicated figures than most. See also "Piper's Dance (The)," a version collected by Belfast musician and collector Edward Bunting, noted from "Macdonnell the piper in 1797." The tune appears in the c. 1841 music manuscript collection (No. 360) of Henry Hudson, a Dublin dentist and an early collector. He was music editor of The Citizen or Dublin Monthly Magazine from 1841-1843. Hudson lists as his source "Maggy Foley" who contributed several air and tunes to him, and evidently was a singer (he refers to her sometimes as "Mrs. Foley"). See also her versions of "Catherine Ogly" and "Rakes of Mallow (The)."