Also known as
The Crying Of The Women At The Slaughter, The Eagle’s Whistle March, The Eagle’s Whistle, Eagles Whistle, Gol Na MBan ‘san Ar, Gol Na MBan San Ar, Gol Na Mban San Ar (The Women’s Lament In Battle), The O’Donovan Clan March.
Here is the ABC notation for Eagle’s Whistle with chords as transcribed from "Celtic Celebration." The chord inversions sound pretty neat, but it sounds just fine if you play the root chords instead (i.e. G, C, and D all the way through).
I learned this lovely tune over 30 years ago while at Uni from a Derry piper called Brian Stafford. I have always played it very slowly and it sounds wonderful that way. Please don’t treat it like a standard slip-jig!
Yep, a Retreat, and a Clan March
At least, in highland pipering 3/4s are called retreats. Makes it essential to play the repeats properly, otherwise you end on the wrong foot!
The tune in question was notated for highland pipes in the "Brigade Book of Irish Pipe Music" in September 1949 in Armagh (it looks like it was all hand notated and calligraphed). The book was meant to standardize settings used by the Irish regiments that marched to highland pipes. In this book, The O’Donovan’s March is subtitled/alternately titled The Eagle’s Whistle. It is, decidedly, one of my favorites, on any type of pipes (if I can get the uilleann ornaments worked out…)
Well, if most recordings and other sources have it in 3/4, then does anyone know where the slip jig version came from? It certainly sounds wonderful in either meter, and like others have mentioned, playing it slow sounds gorgeous - just take a look at the YouTube video I listed previously.
the version posted under the category of "Polka" was intended as a march (which doesn’t have it’s own category since marches come in a variety of time signatures). Not that one couldn’t try it as a polka…
Putting it in 9/8 does not a slip jig make, sorry… It’s still a march… Someone has just taken the swung 3/4 melody and put it in 9/8 time, but it does not work as a slip jig, whatever the time signature. Something similar sometimes happens to other tune forms, such as 4/4 swung being notated as 12/8, etc…
As the ‘march’ that it is it should have a certain amount of ‘bounce’ to it, it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a ‘graceful waltz’. There are other marches filed in the ‘waltz’ category because there is no category for marches, so 3/4 ones go there and 2/4 go under polkas, 6/8 under jigs, etc…
If you do a general search, just enter ‘march’ for the title and choose nothing else, you’ll get a large list of the already tagged marches on site here, including those in 3/4 time…
“The Eagle’s Whistle March” ~ this transcription in 3/4 time
NB: I added the title <Gol Na Mban San Ar (The Women’s Lament In Battle)> so that the Seamus Ennis link would appear; there is an interesting sleeve note in the Bonny Bunch of Roses wherby S E tells us he got this tune from his father who was the only person he ever heard play it. With bits of the gory desolation story he’d tell with it.
Personaly, i never found this particular tune or any rendition I’ve heard of it very mournful.
9/8 vs 3/4
Thanks for the comments regarding the time signature for this tune! I only saw them recently, as this website doesn’t notify you when a comment has been added to one of your tune submissions.
In the first place, sorry about my comment describing a 3/4 march as a "graceful waltz." At the time I posted that, I was not aware of a 3/4 march, and thus assumed it was a waltz, hence my ignorant comment.
However, my transcription of this tune as a slip jig in 9/8 was not an error - on the recording I transcribed this from, it was played distinctly as a slip jig, complete with guitar accompaniment in 9/8. They also followed it with another slip jig (The Whinney Hills of Leitrim, I believe). So I guess if you’re of the opinion that this tune "doesn’t work as a slip jig," that’s an issue to take up with the musicians who originally recorded it that way.
Notwithstanding, I don’t exactly understand your point about it not working as a slip jig. Certainly it has a different feel than how it’s usually played in 3/4, but that alone doesn’t completely discount it, does it? I originally heard it as a slip jig, and liked it that way, and since then my band has played it many times to great effect. So for it to not work in 9/8, I must really be missing something.
Anyway, I’d be curious to hear more of your opinion/perspective on this matter.
David, there is no ‘ignorance’ even imagined, as this music is a constant search, as should any passion a person has, hopefully. In a sense we are all ignorant and striving to overcome that. When we stop realizing that need then there’s something to worry about. And as to experimentation and taking things different ways, that too is part of the fun…
A ‘slip jig’ is more than a sequence of notes, and also true of a march in 3/4 time. The accompaniment for swung 3/4 and 9/8, well, it wouldn’t be any different. There’s nothing stopping someone calling it what they please. Personally, I could probably turn any 3/4 tune into a 9/8 slip jig, so there’s nothing stopping anyone else from taking things that way and quickly. But, there are so many lovely slip jigs why go that route. But each to their own inclinations. Having just said that, I’ve fiddled around with my share of melodies, trying them in different ways, including farting around with time signatures.
For me this sucks if whipped through as a slip jig, and it has a lovely lopping along marchy feeling built into the basic melody that is a bit static and insane as a slip jig. I happen to prefer it as the march it was and has been and remains for most. Some airs, the actual melody, work better one way or the other, in my sense of it all. Yeah, you can roast this air as a slip jig, but I, personally, think it sucks that way, but we all have our own inclinations there.
Why not seek another opinion, as from a step dancer? Seeing someone dance to this in comparison with a more established slip jig, and getting their impressions, opinion, that would at least be interesting, whether or not it changes your own perspective on this…
Another dance it would drag down, in my opinion, that uses slip jigs ~ any of the several versions of ‘Strip the Willow’… That’s one for couples, a country dance. You could use it, but there are so many interesting and better slip jigs for driving that madness along, in my sense of things…