Songs and Waltzes.

Songs and Waltzes.

Another member posted this waltz setting of the song "Bríd Óg Ní Mháille".

https://thesession.org/tunes/21030#setting41903

I’ve only known the version that Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh sings with Altan.

https://youtu.be/DpLA7tz5vBI


Their recording of it is very slow, non-rhythmic, and gentle. Not something I would think was for dancing. So it never registered how beautifully it works as a waltz, and I know of no waltz settings of it. Of course, I also don’t know if it’s more traditionally known as a tune or a song, since I’ve known it as a song for so long and am only now getting to know it as a tune.

Do you have any favorite songs that are also waltzes? The only one I can think of is "The Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow", but I’ve been playing that as a waltz since I’ve known it, because Altan sings it in waltz time.
https://thesession.org/tunes/1758

Re: Songs and Waltzes.

Star of the County Down plays well as a waltz. When sung, it is in four.

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Re: Songs and Waltzes.

There’s no category here for songs, so you have to choose the tune type that works the best. In other words, just because it’s posted as a waltz doesn’t necessarily mean it’s played like a waltz. (This is just as a general rule; I’m not familiar with this particular tune.)

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I recall that Ceili bands will often accompany waltz dances with a song. Then the song would have to be sung (and acommpanied) in strict waltz time and not in "slow, non-rythmic" way that you might associate with songs.
Even if played instumentally, they might have songs associated with them, like the next one which I’ve randomly drew from youtube: I’m quite sure there’s a song but I cannot recall it at this time! Maybe someone can help me…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8NNv-B8BKE

Re: Songs and Waltzes.

I believe that waltz above is "When Irish Eyes are Smiling."

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@AB a light-hearted bit of ´cheese´ from 1912. But that´s ok since everyone has to eat and pay the bills. Even John McCormack recorded it. 🙂 I recall Dale Russ used to have a tiny wind up music box which rendered ´Danny Boy´. When the ´green cowboys´ grew too insistent, he would put it on the sound box of his fiddle and hold it close to a mic, saying ´This is as close as I can get to that tune´ ‘🙂

Re: Songs and Waltzes.

«I recall that Ceili bands will often accompany waltz dances with a song. » (sixholes)

Too right. I almost posted a comment to that effect yesterday. When I first started playing at dances, the accordionist who led the band had a long list of popular songs (from the first half of the 20th century) that would suit, including (groan) "Irish eyes". Others that I can recall off the top of my head were "I belong to Glasgow" (I liked that one, would always get the older dancers singing), "My bonnie lies over the ocean", "Daisy, Daisy", "Messing about on the river" (!) and many more.

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My impression is that when the waltz craze arrived in Britain and Ireland in the 19th century, the bands had to play what the customers wanted. Since there wasn’t really a native tradition of suitable tunes, one solution was to take song tunes - which would normally be sung with a very free rhythm - and put them into a strict 3/4 tempo, and that tradition has continued. So when Scottish country dance bands and ceilidh bands play waltzes they will normally use adapted Scottish song tunes, e.g. Jock o Hazeldean, Dark Lochnagar, A Rosebud by my Early Walk, Ye Banks and Braes, Bonnie Gallowa, Leaving Lismore, Morag of Dunvegan, to name only a few. I don’t know the Irish dance band tradition quite so well, but I think the same thing happened there.

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De Dannan recorded waltzes [also song tunes] like ‘A Mother’s Love is a Blessing ’ and ‘Boulavogue’ back in the 80’s or 90’s - cheesy, but fun.

Re: Songs and Waltzes.

One of our band members has said, and I agree with him, “You can turn any tune into a waltz” - not necessarily a good one! Some that have suffered this indignitous transformation, and I really don’t like them much in waltz time, preferring them in their original song timing, are “My love is like a red, red rose”, “Scots wha hae”, “A man’s a man for a’ that” and even “The Wild Colonial Boy”.

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Trish, I’ve never heard Wild Colonial Boy sung in anything other than 3/4 time ! Is that not its original timing?

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@ Christy, I don’t know if it’s the original timing, but I’ve mainly heard it in 4/4. Must try to find an example, but too late tonight!

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I have only ever heard The Wild Coolonial Boy played as an air.

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Same song, different tune… Or maybe I should say that it’s a different tune to the 3/4 time ballad that we sing in Australia. I’ve never heard that tune version before. Maybe it’s the original Irish tune. (??)

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Re: Songs and Waltzes.

This is a bit more ballady than most folkies would sing it over here, but this is the tune as we commonly know it. I suspect that the 4/4 time version was the original, and if I remember rightly Mick Jagger sang it when he played Ned Kelly in the early 70’s movie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEMXz4zq-Z0

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Just a bit of Australian nit-picking, but it would be a big stretch to call his roaming and robbing ground, ‘the outback’. It was a very long way from there, and the pickings would have been nil. But anyway, b.t.w., … that video won’t open in Australia.

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Re: Songs and Waltzes.

No jond’s video wouldnt open for me either. Gobby the version you posted is more or less the same as you’d hear in sessions or folk clubs here in the UK [maybe a bit posher]

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Yeah Christy, ‘posher’ is the word I should have used rather than saying,"a bit more ballady".

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Re: Songs and Waltzes.

Thanks for schooling me on ‘outback’, Gobby! Not too many sheep to shear on the desert I guess….
The tune Lloyd sings in various recordings (including the one I grew up with and loved) is slightly different from what I often hear. Bad luck that the video won’t play in other parts. You can maybe catch a snippet on Deezer https://www.deezer.com/us/track/138486727?autoplay=true
to see what I mean. It’s also on Spotify if you have access to that. https://open.spotify.com/track/6OECdSg1qRt5R7EUpEhwLW

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Re: Songs and Waltzes.

Wow! That A.L Lloyd version is completely different altogether. I’ve never heard that tune before. And the words.??? All I can think is that A.L. Lloyd has been slightly controversial in Australian academic circles. He has been accused of over-editing his collection of tunes to the degree of completely changing them. His 3/4 version of ‘The Wild Colonial Boy’ would suggest that Jack Doolan has gone from bailing up stage coaches in the gold fields (i.e. a bushranger) to robbing squatters and massacring sheep out in the pastoral country where Lloyd himself happened to work. The history of this song is quite interesting.

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Re: Songs and Waltzes.

mudcat.org has several discussions about the variety of tunes that have been used for Wild Colonial Boy, but no one seems to know the source of the tune Lloyd uses. At least not that I was able to find.
Regarding Jack Dolan’s activities: In the version I know he only robbed the _wealthy_ squatters (which I always thought was a non-sequiter), but I don’t know if that redeems him at all.
Gobby I have never visited Australia but I have always wanted to ! Cheers, Jon

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Re: Songs and Waltzes.

Here’s the Wild Clancys’ version in 4/4: and that is the tune that has got turned into a waltz in our dance sets!
https://youtu.be/XyjrxMzfr9A

And that version posted by Gobby is lovely: I can go with the 3/4 in that.
Don’t know where John Doyle got his version from: possibly John Doyle?
Can’t view the AL Lloyd version - “video not available “.

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yeah, that’s how we sing it in Australia. We love that song over here.

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Thanks Gobby: glad to know I wasn’t dreaming it! (Or did you mean the version you posted? Both are good!)

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No Trish, I meant your version. That’s how it goes. My old band sang it for decades like that, but then we had an old bastard from Glasgow who was our lead singer.

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