The Coolin waltz

Also known as An Chúileann, An Chuileann, An Chuilfhionn, An Chúilfhionn, An Chuilfhionn, An Chúilfionn, An Chuilin, An Coolin, An Coulin, An Cúilfhionn, An Cuilfhoinn, An Cuilfion Le Atrugad, An Cuilrionn, Coolin, The Coolin’, Coolun, The Coolun, Coulin, The Coulin, Cuilin, The Cuilin, The Fair-Haired Beauty, The Fair-Haired One, Had You Seen My Sweet Coolin, In This Calm Sheltered Villa, Lady Of The Desert, The Lady Of The Desert, My Fair-Haired Beauty, Oh! Hush The Soft Sigh, Oh! The Hours I Have Passed, Though The Last Glimpse Of Erin, Whispering Wind.

There are 69 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Coolin has been added to 197 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: The Coolin
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Cmaj
G A/2B/2| (c2 B/2c/2) (d>B/1)| c2 E2 (3CEG|(c>B/1) cd/2e/2 d> c/1|
c2B2 c> B/1|A2> B/1 c/1 (d/2c/2) (B/2A/2)|G2 (EG) c G|B/2A/2G/2F/2 E C {D/2E/2}D C |
C4 G> F/1| (E>D/1) (C>D/1) (E>^F/1)|(G>^F/1 G>A/1) B> G/1|(c>B/1) (cd/2e/2) d> c/1|
(c2 B2) c> B/1|(A2> Bc) (d/2c/2) (B/2A/2)|G2 (EG) c G|B/2A/2G/2F/2 E C {D/2E/2}D C | C4||
X: 2
T: The Coolin
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:(3ABc|d2 ~d>f (f/e/)d/c/|~d2 A2 (3DFA|d2 (de/f/) {f}e>d|(d2c)z ~d>c|
~(B2 B)c/d/ (e/d/)(c/B/)|A2 (FA) (d>A)|(c/B/)A/G/ F2 E2|D4:|
|:A>G|~F>E (D>E) (FG)|A>^G AB cA|~d>c (de/f/) ed|(d2c2) d>c|
~B2 (B/c/d/c/) (e/d/)(c/B/)|A2 (FA) d>A|(c/B/)(A/G/) F2 E2|D4:|
X: 3
T: The Coolin
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Cmaj
|:de/f/|g2 g2 a>f|gd B2 (3GBd|g>f (3gab ag|g2 f2 gf/d/|
e3 f/g/ a(3g/f/e/|d2 B>d g>G|GB/d/ f3{fgf}e/d/|dc/A/ B2 GA/B/|
A2 G2 GF|G4 G2|dc B3A|GA Bc|d^c de fd|g>f (3gab a>g|
g2 f2 g>f/d/|e3 f/g/ a(3g/f/e/|d2 B>d g>G|GB/d/ f{fgf}e/d/|
dc/A/ B2 GA/B/|A2 G2 GF|G4 G4| G4 z2||
# Added by JACKB .

Sixteen comments

The Coolin

I normally play this transposed to the key of G, there some variations, which I will try to include sometime.

Leahy’s version

The details list this coolin as being one of Leahy’s tunes, I don’t think it is. They play a piece by the same name but I believe they composed it themselves.

Leahy’s version

The details say no such thing.

All it says is:
"Recordings of a tune by this name:"

That’s not the same as:
"Recordings of this tune"

Tip o’ the Whistle

Help me out here. I think the Cheftains recorded this as tip of the whistle on album 3 or 4? Anyone? And isn’t it: An Cuilin ?

An Cuilin

Hi Whistle Bare,
I think you might be referring to An Sean Chuilfhionn on the Chieftains 5 album. That tune also a slow air is a much older tune and one which I will post in the near future if you want.

An Cuilin

I’ve been looking all over for the slow air version of the Coolin
The Dubs had this down as The Cuilin although I can’t seem to track down my old vinyl copy.
Also I can’t find a mention on Chieftains 5 of the track/tune you mention. (I know they often lump loads of good tunes together under questionable headers)
If anyone can help with a recording/source I’d be gratefull

An cuilin

An sheanchuilfhionn is on track 5 as Knock the door, it is after two Clare Reels, actually I think you might find it listed on this board under the recordings category for the Chieftains 5 album.
I intend to post the sean chuilfionn air soon.
regards daithic

Bar lengths

The version here is full of impossible bar lengths for 3/4 time. Some of it is easy to see that quavers should be semiquavers. But how should bars 6 and 14 be played?

Fiddlers companion has lots of info/history and abc’s of this tune/title.

In correct meter, they give as an air.

T:An Chuilfhionn
S:Gow – 2nd Repository (1802)
Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion
|:(3ABc|d2 ~d>f (f/e/)d/c/|~d2 A2 (3DFA|d2 (de/f/) {f}e>d|(d2c)z ~d>c|
~(B2 B)c/d/ (e/d/)(c/B/)|A2 (FA) (d>A)|(c/B/)A/G/ F2 E2|D4:|
|:A>G|~F>E (D>E) (FG)|A>^G AB cA|~d>c (de/f/) ed|(d2c2) d>c|
~B2 (B/c/d/c/) (e/d/)(c/B/)|A2 (FA) d>A|(c/B/)(A/G/) F2 E2|D4:|

… but I have to admit, I really do like John Doherty’s rendition on The Floating Bow

“An Chúilfhionn” / An Coolin’ / The Coolin’
Most-Recorded Airs: The Top Ten Airs of the 20th Century

#9 | Air | Coolin, The / An Chúilfhionn / An Chuilfhionn / An Chúileann / The Coulin / Though the Last Glimpse of Erin / In this Calm Sheltered Villa / Oh! Hush the Soft Sigh / The Lady of the Desert

With the dots and with lyrics in Irish and an English translation, the Irish as sung by sean nós singer Terry Kane / Treasa Ní Chatháin:

Terry Kane / Treasa Ní Chatháin
Her first CD on Ossian ~ "Some Sean Nós"

Coolin’ is one of the most popular airs in Irish, see above, #9 on the IrishTuneInfo list… Within this popularity scale it also features as a choice for some for their wedding music… It is placed here in the waltz category by nature of the basic time signature ~ 3/4. It is one of our ‘fiddles’ here on the site that we don’t have a section for airs or for marches because of the varied time signatures they come in…

Historically, this is in the Bunting collection (1773 - 1843) where he gives it as a ‘harp air’… However, Bunting, and I want to use the word ‘bowdlerized’, but that isn’t quite right ~ he didn’t leave well enough alone. He was a ‘romantic’ about it all, which many of us can understand, placing its origins, as he imagined it, back in the 13th Century, but also he answered the demands of his peers and public, so motivated to in some part please the tastes of his time by ‘adjusting’ the music ever so much to meet his and their expectations and preconceptions ~ ‘COMMERCIAL’ demands… ;-) This cannot and shouldn’t take away from a very important early collection ~ and he is responsible in large part for the continuance and survival of the harp in Eire, whether or not that makes you happy… He deserves respect despite his failings, weaknesses or influences. The ‘essence’ of those airs he collected are hard to do too much damage to, and many remained as carried along by tradition. While they changed under his guidance, choices and pen, like sean nos, they are a power beyond transcription ~ which can only give the hint, dem bones…

I also like Doherty’s playing of this air, though he likes it a bit more spritely than most. For pipes, some choices, there’s Felix Doran’s, Leo & Kevin Rowsome, Eoin Ó Riabhaigh, and I quite like the take on it by Joe Burke and Máire Ní Chathasaigh ~ on one of my favourite albums: "The Tailor’s Choice"… It was also a favourite of Seán Ó Riada and features on the recordings "Ceol na Nuasal: Music of the Nobles" (featuring Seán Ó Sé) & "Ó Riada’s Farewell" (keyboard)… Among the sung choices, the best place to learn to play any air is from sean nos singing, there is that of of Maire Ni Ceocain Ui Crualai (Seán Ó Riada at work again) on the double CD, 44 songs ~ "Cú-Cú-Ín"…

For a take on the march ~ hell, Paul O’Shaugnessy & Harry Bradley on their album "Born for Sport" ~ good kick…fine playing…great sport…

For Gow (given above, 1902), Joyce (1909) & Petrie (1905) collections ~ ABC transcriptions of these are available via the link given previously by ‘philmoz’ to that excellent resource "The Fiddler’s Companion" website… NOTE: be wary of all references via ‘Flood’, who is a source of some of the fiction with regards to Irish music and its history…

An Chúilfhionn / The Coolin’ ~ a choice of keys…

Along with the key of C as given here in the transcription, and the key of D given in the comments, it is also played in G as in the transcription via Paul Cranford’s site, the link just given in the previous comment, and in F in Joyce’s "Old Irish Folk Music and Songs", 1909…

Language & Sets

1) I don’t know Gaelic. Can anyone venture an opinion if the name/word ‘colleen’ is a variant of ‘coulin’? Or prehaps vice versa or is there no connection?

2) A Cape Breton influenced group I know of, called Keltic Reign, does a set with Coulin followed by Captain Campbell’s strathspey. It works rather nicely.

I really like Eugene Odonnel and James McCafferty’s version on their LP the Foggy Dew. If there was ever a standard for slow airs for me it is these two. There is another part in this version. It’s also in the O’Neal Collection.

I just heard An Chuilfhionn sung on the radio

By Adrian Dunbar, who said it was a favourite of Brendan Behan.
It was on the John Murray show on RTE radio 1 (should be available on at some stage).

Does anyone know of other recordings of the song? (as opposed to the air)