Most Celebrated Irish Tunes

Most Celebrated Irish Tunes

A Collection of the Most Celebrated Irish Tunes Proper for the Violin, German Flute or Hautboy, published by John & William Neal, Dublin, 1724

Has anyone looked at / played any of the tunes in this book? According to the Irish Traditional Music Archive (which published a facsimile edition) the music "differs greatly from the Irish traditional music of today". Two questions: What are the main differences? Is the book worth buying?



Re: Most Celebrated Irish Tunes

It’s a collection of harp tunes and song airs transcribed according to the conventions of the day. If you’re a keen historian of traditional Irish harp music then you must buy this book as it’s the oldest collection in print. If you want to learn tunes to play down the pub with your mates it might not be so inspiring.

Re: Most Celebrated Irish Tunes

Think you’re getting into several aspects of history there, Molaoch. I’ve not seen the book but the thoughts at top of my head would be:

- how do the ITMA or anyone else for that matter know what Irish traditional music sounded like in 1724? Don’t think anyone had quite mastered sound recording then.

- who made the collection and what was their social and musical background. That would influence how they notated.

- who did they collect from? The ‘big house’ music of the period or did they seek out the poorer classes and note down what they played. If the latter, did they re arrange to suit their own tastes.

The victors usually get to write the history.

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Re: Most Celebrated Irish Tunes

to which you can also add:

- why did they publish the collection back in 1724? Was it for altruism or was it a commercial publication. i.e. the difference between a ‘modern’ CD like Joe Lacky Gallagher and something from The Corrs etc.

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Re: Most Celebrated Irish Tunes

It’s not quite that straight-forward, Hussar. Many of the tunes in the collection have Jacobite origins, while some of the tunes were composed by O’Carolan (Ireland’s most historically-celebrated musician and composer and borrowed nationalist icon). Many of his patrons were members of the Protestant Ascendancy, and he made his living among them. This shows some degree of contradiction in the sources of the music.

I think the claim that the music ‘differs greatly’ from the music of today is a reference to its structure and form, as indicated through notation. There’s no claim to differentiation on the basis of its ‘sound’. What it might refer to is the much greater consistency between Irish and English courtly music of this period, heavily influenced by Baroque forms as well as other European influences. The difference between this type of music and the type of music we play today is vast as was, no doubt, the difference between the courtly music of the period (which was written down at the time) and the ‘folk’ music of the day (which wasn’t).

Re: Most Celebrated Irish Tunes

I didn’t say it was straightforward, Dragut!! At best, I guess it represents a surviving snapshot and that’s about it. Well, I suppose it’d make a nice wee Christmas present at 30 yoyos plus. Mind you, I think ITMA are taking a bit of a liberty with their postage & packing charges. Euro 7 to Ireland but Euro 8 to UK? - my experience is that post to UK, Europe etc. is substantially more than that to Ireland. But sin sceal eile.

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Re: Most Celebrated Irish Tunes

if possible, could someone please LIST the actual tunes here so we know what you’re on about?

Re: Most Celebrated Irish Tunes

1 King of the Blind

2 Ye Clarges Lamentation

3 Sqr. Woodes`s Lamentation on ye Refusuall of his HALF PENCE

4 Da mihi manum

5 Thomas Burk

6 Eiry na Greany

7 Molly Halfpenny

8 Planksty Plunket

9 Plea Rarkeh na Rourkough or ye Irish weding improved with diferent divitions after ye Italian maner with A bass and Chorus by Sigr. LORENZO BOCCHI

10 Counr. MacDonoghs Lamentation

11 Shea sude shear an Rode a Dima shee

12 Capten MAGAN

13 Creamonea

14 Tom Judge

15 Ta me ma Chulla’s na doushe me

16 Radara meen Chusogh

17 Fairy Queen by sigr Carrollini


19 Cuckoo

20 lshabele Burk

21 Raddire en Ougnish

22 Catty Magee

23 Can duh Dilish

24 Seperation of Soul and Body

25 Sheen sheesh igus souse lum

26 Vaccatu en starri dugh

27 Ye Joynter

28 Challeeny vacca shu sheorshe

29 Clanuff’s delight

30 Luke Dillon by Carrollan

31 Voyden drid lum


33 Shuseen Bane

34 Carrollans Devotion

35 Ld. Gallaways Lanientation

36 Lady St. John

37 Morgan Macgann

38 Molly st. GEORGE

39 Gye Fiane

40 sr. Ulick BURK

41 Limbric’’s lamentation

42 Gracee NUGENT by Carrallan

43 Ye Bockagh

44 Patrick Sarsfild

45 Ye RAGG set by A gentleman

46 Fanny DILLON

47 Ye Lord Mayos delight

48 Stary ghed ina lousa Voem gigga

49 Ye Trugh

Re: Most Celebrated Irish Tunes

thanks molaoch

it’ll take a little while to digest that lot

Re: Most Celebrated Irish Tunes

For the tunes look at:

The book however provides a history, a study of the times and music and broader context. It’s not just another tunebook.

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