Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

Last night I was listening to Aly Bain on the Transatlantic sessions and thought on first hearing that `Waiting for the Federals `was a pleasant little polka-type tune but nothing I`d wish to learn.Then lo and behold I find it listed in today`s tunes and think `maybe I should learn it`,after all its fashionable,probably because of its dramatic,Bravado type title.Then again I thought`Don`t learn it!-if it was called `Nigel Quigley`s polka `or `Samuel McStravick`s favourite`it would be ignored.So my point is-do the members believe that tunes with `flash` titles get learned and played whilst better tunes with boring names get ignored?

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Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

I suppose it sometimes helps, but I think you should play a tune because you like the music, not the name.
While we’re on the subject of tune names, who comes up with them???
I heard of one called something like
‘Pin the catfish on the tree’ WHY????

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

i guess I would agree to a point. I learned "the butterfly" because I like butterflies (I don’t play it often because I’m not crazy about it as a tune though) I also learned the "guns of the magnificent seven" mostly because of the name, but I happen to like the tune as well. Most of the time I pick tunes to learn based on how they sound to me. They could be called something like "grey oatmeal" and I would still learn it.

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Doesn’t everyone pin their catfish to trees? I know Will does something similar with a frog!

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LOL really though, where do people get these tune names from?????
I think I’ll write my own tune-suggestions for a name anyone?? 😀

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Amy, you think that’s bad? I know a tune called "I Had a Lass Till I Ran at Her"(otherwise known as "Hod the Lass While I Run at Her")!

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

I could never figure out the tune name "Old Hag, You Have Killed Me". If killed by the old hag, then how was the tune named??

Discuss.

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

This is a family site so we probably shouldn’t go into any discussion about "The Choice Wife".

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

Flutietoot, If you want a source of good tune names, go and have a look at Aidan Crossey’s website (Pay the Reckoning). They’ll keep you going for a while
Mark

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

Old Hag You have Killed me is linked to the tune `I buried my wife and danced on her`(while still alive ,like sandra Bullock in the movie.)I have watched `The Morning Dew` degenerate into `the Mourning Jew`and now `The Weeping Hebrew`and am now afraid to play the tune!

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Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

Robby, you know perfectly well that souls in Heaven (or Hell) are just as capable of writing tunes as we are. As for how it got to be played down here in the Land of the Living, it must have come to one of the deceased person’s friends or relatives in a dream.

Now stop being silly.

Joe😉

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

“The titles of many dance tunes had no musical connection with the actual tunes. Most musicians looked around them for inspiration when naming a composition or randomly plucked a name out of the air to give a tune a title, e.g. Garden of Daisies, Hurry the Jug and Stack of Barley. There were of course some with a political significance, such as Bonaparte’s Retreat. This was written around 1798 when the United Irishmen expected a French invasion and Napoleon’s help to overthrow English rule.” from irelandseye.com

Did the names have to be striking in some way, so they could be remembered in an oral tradition?

\())

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

Hmm…just following the suggestion -

The Hideous Wallpaper
The New Bodhrán case
The Old Bladder
The Old Motherboard

Maybe it doesn’t work if you’re not fired up with an actual tune.

\())

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

I often learn tunes with groovy names because otherwise I’d never remember the names. Next on my list is "Granny Hold the Candle While I Shave the Chicken’s Lip." Something like that. I don’t even know if it’s a good tune, but I want to be able to say that in a session. I named "The Cheatin’ B*stard" in the hope one day somebody would lean over and say "Hey, do you know ‘the Cheatin’ Bastard’?" and I could say "Know him? I almost married him!"

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

I’m with you on Granny and the candle, but only as soon as my mates stop bringing new tunes that I have to learn first. Ideally, I’ll be able to convince one of them to learn Granny and bring it along.

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Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

If we hadn’t any women in the world…. I ne’er shall wean her…. Ah, surely!

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

"Nail That Catfish to the Tree", by Steve
Rosen, southern fiddler from the Midwest, Chicago, methinks. It’s a good southern fiddle tune, and the name fits it, though I couldn’t explain why. I would love to know the reasons behind tune names, but sometimes the riddle is just part of the allure. There is a jig called "Lindbergh’s Crate" by Bob McQuillen that has a wonderful and very long story behind the title. Someday, when I learn how to post tunes in abc, I will contribute the tune and tell the whole long story behind it. Kate

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

She had nine buttons on her housecoat but she could only fascinate…..She was only a rancher’s daughter but all the horse men knew ‘er. (might help if you read those out loud.)

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

It never occurred to me to learn a tune *because* of it’s interesting title. Most times I don’t know the name until after I’ve heard it a few times and have decided to learn it. I assume it’s that way for a lot of people. I couldn’t care less about tune names since they are almost always just something to hang the tune of off, something to distinguish it from any other tune.

Come to think of it, I guess I kind of like poetic tune names like With Her Golden Hair Hanging Down Her Back, or Nellie Your Favor I’m Afraid I’ll Not Gain. It won’t make me learn the tune though, unless I already like the tune to start with

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Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

yeh rockinbo, i play catfish….gawd this is so scary….i hafta type Quietly

i snt lord o flies an email

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

Nine points of roguery is a great name, not crazy about the tune but will work my way through just for the name.
Jigging the Donkey’s a good name too but nobody plays it at sessions.
But a lot of the time, I find a play many tunes whose title I’ve forgotten because I learnt them at sessions (with discrete noodling). I think when you know over a couple of hundred tunes, the melody is more memorable than the title.

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Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

The sad lesson here is that yes, tune can become popular because of their titles alone. I suppose it works as a feedback loop where people who want their tunes to be played give them stupid names and then someone else who wants their tunes to be playerd even more than the first person gives their tunes even more stupid names. Very sad

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Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

Flowing Down her Back And The Colour Of Her Golden Hair Was Black is an example of a great tune with a great name - though I wonder if maybe the words of the title come from a defunct song once associated with the tune?

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

The titles do attract me, I admit. I’ll maybe investigate a certain tune if the title appeals and "try it out". If it’s no good, I’m unlikely to play it for long though-but some peple obviously do.

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

……and are tunes without titles - the "Gan Ainms" on recordings and this site - less likely to be learned because they have no name?

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Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

Yes Kenny, because there are so many of them.

And some tunes have lovely titles such as Her Mantle So Green, and may have been songs once.

Check out the interesting comments to ‘Tell her I am’ posted on this site.

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Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

How about tunes named after a musician who has either composed or been heard to play a particular tune? e.g Liz Carroll’s etc or So and so’s No 1 and No 2 -sounds a bit like toilet arrangements 🙂. Depending on who the musician is and on your own taste, this may either attract or repel people towards these particular tunes. I also find such titles hard to remember as I do with Gan Ainm and the like. It helps to put a "handle" on a tune, I think.

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

Paddy Fahey’s
He came up with so many great tunes but hardly any name

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Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

Martin Wynne’s Number One
followed by
Martin Wynne’s Number Two
and
The Smell Of the Bog

Oh the old ones are the best…

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

That "Gan Ainm" is a great tune. Reminds me of sessions years ago in the Telegraph, Brixton Hill when the lads would often say " Will we play that one, you know the Irish tune?"

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

A note on the tune title "Nail That Catfish to a Tree": after a catfish is caught it needs to be securely fastened to a relatively immovable object so that the skin can be gripped with a pair of pliers and pulled from the carcass. My wife’s father showed me how to do this, though he used a plank of wood rather than a tree. He would drive a 16-penny nail through the skull of the fish into the plank; this also made certain that the fish was dead before it was skinned.

This tune is a favorite at a session in Hannibal, Missouri at which I play every week. Another tune we play with a title which elicits questions is "Hobart’s Transformation". The stock answer is that he is transformed from A to G!

Larry

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

EURGH!!!!!!

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

YES !!
I can’t tell how many tunes I’ve tried just because i fancied the name and then got to like the tune. OR the name carried very clearly the rythm of the tune. eg "I buryed my wife and danced on top of her" "She hasn’t the thing she thought she had". Another fav of mine a fling "The Chicken’s Gone to France" I tell my pupils "now we KNOW why the chicken crossed the road.!
It’s genetic in my case I claim. My mother Rose O’Connor of Dundalk once told her brother Jack(O’Brien) would learn a tune because of the name even if it wasn’t much of a tune.

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

ps
As to Old Hag You’ve Killed Me………………………………………Have you never died on stage as the result of some heckler.???

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

Martin Wynns Number 2 has a name from way before he was born !!

"Burying Poitín"
MOST suitable too.
I learnt it of Séan ó Lámhín sitting in a Morris 1100 in Ros Muic on a rainy day in 1974.

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What happened did I kill this discussion ???
I missed you guys at the Willie Week heard later you were in the cellar.
Ah well I was on a high.
Peter

Re: Can tunes become popular because of their titles alone?

Oops, Peter, you’re not meant to mention that place.
I got some nasty emails last time I inadvertently mentioned it. In some places the music is not all inclusive but rather elitist.