tunes with scottish and irish roots

tunes with scottish and irish roots

Hi

I’m doing some research for a term paper into the links between scottish and irish music.

I’m trying to collect a list of tunes that appear in both traditions, and then i’m going to look at how they’re perhaps almost identical, or different….basically looking at how they’ve developed because they’re played in different countries.

I’ve got a fair list already, including mrs macleod of raasy/miss mcleod and atholl higlanders but if you guys have any other suggestions I’d be really grateful for your input!

Basically tunes…jigs/reels/marches/polkas/airs…that appear to have both irish and scottish roots.

Thanks,

ali

Posted by .

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

I believe the High Reel, the Jig of Slurs, and (a modern composition) Charlie Hunter’s have crossed from Scotland to Ireland. There’s another reel on the tip of my tongue - maybe one that Michael Coleman popularized - that’s Scottish. Joe Ryan’s (a.k.a. Auchdon House) is a Shetland tune that may or may not be well-known in Ireland, but it’s been recorded at least a few times by Irish musicians. And quite a few others that aren’t coming to mind right now.

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

I *want* to say DIck Gossip’s also has a Scottish originin but not sure.

Rakish Paddy has a Scottish antecedent for sure.

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

I’ve always called Dick Gossip’s "Girl Talk." πŸ˜‰

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Jenny’s Chickens (Sleepy Maggie)
Tarbolton
High Road To Linton
Flowers Of Edinburgh
Bonny Kate
Lord McDonald’s
Longford Spinster/Tinker (Jenny Dang The Weaver)
Johnny Henry’s Favourite (Donald Blue)
Graf Spee (Rothiemurchus Rant)…

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Spey In Spate and all those sort of tunes
Gow tunes…
There are loads. You should have a go at looking them up on the internet yourself. Try google searches and the "Fiddler’s Companion" http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/FCfiles.html to find out the origin of the tunes.

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Boyne Hunt (Perth Hunt) - I think that came over Sc to Ir.

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

IMNSHO they’re all linked, variations in style are purely recent additions…..BUT try looking up the tunes of Packie Manus Byrne, who’s an old Donegal musician, resident previously for many years in London, who had a unique repertoire including some tunes that may well have come over from Scotland to Donegal. There is a whole book of his repertoire, A Dossan of Heather. I’d give you a link but I’ve managed to overprint web addresses on the few of his tunes I downloaded.

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Tam Linn etc. Let’s face it, the list of reels with Scottish origins is endless. Loads of Hornpipes from the North of England too - not interested in those too, are you newby?

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

tanya lee terohshi hated all these tunes because they were "Urgh, Scottish!" It had to be "pure drop" Irish music from Chicago only. πŸ™‚

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

English, Irish, Scottish, Shetland, Northumbrian, it’s all the fragmented remains of a once shared body of music. I suspect it stayed stronger around the western sealanes for a while because of transmission through sailors and fishermen.

It’s difficult to decide what in, say Scotch style is indigenous, and what is a back- formation from the parlour stuff published as Scottish (much of it excellent, like Geminiani). We should be very wary of underestimating the power of fashion and nationalism in these things.

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

This thread underlines the whole problem I had with the "what is a trditional musician?" thread the other week. The origins of the music are so criss crossed and complex, that to say with any degree of certainty where it came from, or even where bits of it came from, is imposible.

Posted .

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Interesting thread newby - every time I go to Cork or Kerry, I hear more and more Scottish tunes. I think if you were to look into things in depth, and pass by the obvious tunes like Mrs/Miss MacLeod etc, you’ll find that there is indeed a huge Scottish repertoire, hidden within the Irish tradition. I’ve heard it said, that Padraig O’Keefe recognised that this was the case. I also recollect, hearing an RTE programme, broadcast many years ago, which discussed this very topic, with special reference to how the reel is believed to have come to Ireland from Scotland, and that there were tunes the programme termed as a "template tunes"; and at that time the reel came to Ireland (200 years ago, or thereabouts?), Irish reels were written, based upon these template tunes. Indeed, before I was aware of this, I used to think many of these old Scottish tunes were actually Irish.
I was speaking to a friend from Cill na Matra about this very subject this summer, and had promised to make up a list of Scottish tunes I was aware of in the Irish tradition for him, so newby, I’d be very grateful if you do have some information you might pass some back to me?
You may also want to look into getting a hold of the excellent "Hidden Fermanagh", by Cyril Maguire (also 2 great CDs accompanying this book!). There are some Scottish tunes in that book, it’s also extremely well researched and interesting:

www.fermanaghmusic.com

Of course, a good tune, is a good tune and work is still in progress (in both directions, of course!) e.g. The Easy Club Reel, written by Jim Sutherland around 15 or 20 years ago (of the band of the same name), has entered the Irish Tradition, and is called something else entirely. Listen to Meitheal, by Seumas Begley & Steve Cooney - there are a few Scottish tunes on that album, e.g. Munlochy Bridge (originally a 6/8 march), is played as a slide and called something else. I have to admit to not being good with the names of tunes at all, and find it frustrating that I can’t put names to the many Scottish tunes I hear played in Ireland, however, here are a few more:

Miss Shepherd = Paddy Ryans Dream(?)
Shifting Bobbins, I’ve heard played as a polka
Neill Gows Farewell to Whisky
The Lass o’ Gowrie, played as the polka Lakes of Sligo, as well as a slow air
Barren Rocks of Aden, is played as a polka
The Irish tune The musical Priest, is also Scottish, but the Scottish name slips my mind at present.
Rothiemurchas Rant = The Graf Spee or Grand Spey
Greig’s pipes
Ive also heard Captain Byng played in Ireland, but don’t know the Irish name for the tune.
The Muckin’ o’ Geordie’s byre is played as a slide, but I suspect that’s a tune that came to Scotland from Ireland,not the other way around?

There are a LOT.

If I pick up nearly any CD of Irish music in the house, and listen to it carefully, I’d say on the majority of these recordings, you’ll find at least one Scottish tune, sometimes, several.

Indeed, I’ve often remarked to my wife, who hails from West Cork, that there’s more than enough material on this subject for several Doctorates. Wouldn’t the field work be fun!

Of course, the traffic is two-way, but what I’d say here, is that in Scotland, when you hear an Irish tune being played, you know pretty well immediately that it’s an Irish tune; for the most part, Irish tunes don’t seem to sit well when musicians here try to play them in a Scottish style. However, interestingly, when Scottish tunes are played in an Irish style (by Irish style players), they seem to work quite well. I don’t know why that should be the case, but that’s what my ears tell me!

Good luck with you paper.

Posted by .

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

"The Muckin’ o’ Geordie’s byre is played as a slide, but I suspect that’s a tune that came to Scotland from Ireland,not the other way around?"

What on earth makes you suspect that?

"The origins of the music are so criss crossed and complex, that to say with any degree of certainty where it came from, or even where bits of it came from, is imposible."

Codswallop. In some cases it’s perfectly possible for a musicologist to trace the history of an older tune as to its melodic development and geographical dissemination patterns with a high degree of certainty by looking at and comparing written records.

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

…if you’re into that sort of thing πŸ™‚

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

That’s an interesting last par there Ron. I’ve been playing Irish music in Scotland for some years now and I’d agree with you. Irish tunes don’t seem to travel all that well into a scottish style. But most scottish tunes, reels especially, do transfer quite easily into an Irish style (or Irish styles).

However, I have also found that Scottish musicians are generally more able to play Irish music in an Irish style, than Irish musicians are able to play Scottish music in a Scottish style. Which explains why, when an Irish tune comes to Scotland, it stays an Irish tune, but when a Scottish tune ends up in an Irish players hands, it transforms into an irish tune.

Posted .

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Ah ha Dow. This is my point. Yes, it is perfectly possible for musicologists to trace the history of a great many tunes, and come up with fascinating paths of cultural exchange and influence. Which just underlines why it’s impossible to say where THE music came from.

Posted .

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Diddley must be easier than diddly then is it? πŸ™‚

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

X-posting. Sorry I misunderstood your post Michael. The music, as in THE music as a whole, not as in the individual tunes, right?

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

yep.

Posted .

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

And is diddley must be easier than diddly? Well it is for me

Posted .

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

"when an Irish tune comes to Scotland, it stays an Irish tune, but when a Scottish tune ends up in an Irish players hands, it transforms into an irish tune."

That certainly seems to be the case these days.
There has to be a difference between "entering the tradition" gradually, especially in the pre-recording age, and having a Scott Skinner tune on an Irish group’s CD because they’re desperate for a change from the usual.

Posted by .

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

In that case I agree with you MG.

I’m puzzled by this though:

"English, Irish, Scottish, Shetland, Northumbrian, it’s all the fragmented remains of a once shared body of music."

This gives the impression that a few hundred years ago, back in some sort of like misty Celtic past, all these people were rushing around all over the place swapping tunes with each other in a frenzy of pure traditional activity. I’d say that, far from being fragmented, it’s more a shared body of music now than it ever was in the past thanks to audio recordings and the internet. I’d say your average 19th century fiddle-playing shepherd stuck out in the wilds would be unlikely ever to venture into the next village, let alone cross a border. I’d say the spread of tunes on a wider scale than a local level would be just as likely to take place due to the publication of influential tunebooks, and also dance styles going in and out of fashion, since back then the tunes went with the dances as a whole package.

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Very interesting thread!
Polkas and slides might be an interesting study for this - lots of them are recognisable Scottish tunes (e.g. Hair fell off my coconut/ Hundred Pipers) and I read somewhere the theory that this was because they were picked up from army bands posted to SW Ireland.
I once went to a Brian McNeill workshop where he played the same tune as a Scottish reel, Donegal Highland, Sligo reel and polka. The tune was the Marquis of Lorne/Sligo Fancy, can’t remember if there were other names for it. There must be many other tunes like this which would be interesting to study.

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Oops! That should have been "hornpipe" for Marquis of Lorne etc!

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Hi Dow:

""The Muckin’ o’ Geordie’s byre is played as a slide, but I suspect that’s a tune that came to Scotland from Ireland,not the other way around?"

What on earth makes you suspect that?"

I guess it’s just the structure of the tune, I have nothing else to back up that suggestion, apart from the knowledge that there would have been many Irish people working on the land in Scotland over the years - helping to facilitate the cultural cross-fertilization between Ireland & Scotland. In addition to that, the song and tune would seem to have originated in the bothy ballad tradition - given these things, perhaps you might understand why I see that the tune may have travelled to Scotland. I’m not saying it did, just that it may have done so. So , if there are any musicologists reading this…..

Posted by .

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

I aslo am puzzled by this:

"English, Irish, Scottish, Shetland, Northumbrian, it’s all the fragmented remains of a once shared body of music."

Surely, if at all, it’s the other way round, now that communications are instant and global. Though I say "if at all" because it all depends on how far you want to go in breaking up the catagories … logically, you get down to just individual musicains, but they don’t work in isolation, any more than regional styles do. Again, it’s too simplistic.

But I disagree with Bren in that: "There has to be a difference between entering the tradition gradually, especially in the pre-recording age, and having a Scott Skinner tune on an Irish group’s CD because they’re desperate for a change from the usual."

There is no inherant difference, only speed of uptake. Any Scottish tune that "entered the tradition gradually" in pre recording days still entered for the same reason. Some individual, maybe slightly more travelled than his neigbour, was desperate for a change.

And this is why I love diddly music and hate folkies - who refuse to change the light bulb, even after it’s broke.

Posted .

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Hi Michael:

"However, I have also found that Scottish musicians are generally more able to play Irish music in an Irish style, than Irish musicians are able to play Scottish music in a Scottish style. Which explains why, when an Irish tune comes to Scotland, it stays an Irish tune, but when a Scottish tune ends up in an Irish players hands, it transforms into an irish tune."

Interesting point Michael, I’ve not heard many Irish musicians capable of playing a Scottish tune in a Scottish style - especially a strathspey. Having said that, there’s almost certainly a converse argument here..

Posted by .

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Spot on Paul, to see these traditions as isolated from each other and the rest of the world is a mistake.

PP

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Most of my mates are scottish and were brought up playing scottish music. And most of them are absolutly terrific Irish musicians. Me? I can’t can’t play a 2/4 march to save mi life.

Of course this is only anecdotal, but from what I’ve seen in Glasgow, the same is also true.

Posted .

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Here’s another one: Campbell’s Farewell to Redcastle = Boys of Belfast.

I have a pet theory. . which goes that a *lot* of common Irish tunes that are in A-Mixolydian started off as GHB tunes. Many of these tunes go from 1st octave G to second octave A, (On a flute or whistle) which is precisely the GHB range. Whereas a lot of "Ur-Irish" tunes cover substantially more than one octave. But I have absolutely no concrete evidence for this theory.

The process also works in reverse, in recent history too. Back in the ’80s I was heavily into GHB competitions, and learned a lot of "hot, new" tunes from recordings of the World Pipe Band Championships. I was pleasantly tickled when, 15 years later, I encountered a lot of these tunes are session standards.

I went to the Swannanoa camp this summer. Every evening, two instructors would run a "slow session." One night I went, and all of the tunes chosen were in G major, and fairly boring. So I start up "Hag at the Churn" for a change of pace. One of the instuctors looks at me with this glare in his eye and says, in effect ,"Don’t you folks listen to anything but the Bothy Band? There’s much more to Irish music!" This was, at the time, a fairly odd accusation to me because I had learned the tune decades earlier on GHB. Along with… the Kesh jig, Old Hag You’ve Killed Me, and Blarney Pilgrim. Of course, what had happened was that apparently a lot of pipe majors in the 80’s were heavily into the Bothy Band and I had picked up the tunes second-hand. It was pretty funny when I figued out what was happening.

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Well, the next paper could be about how Scandinavia fits in to the equation. Just heard a series of programmes on the Swedish Radio about the links between irish/scottish/english and scandinavian music.

Quite a few interesting versions of Soldiers Joy… (and some veeery different…)

http://www.sr.se/cgi-bin/p2/program/index.asp?ProgramID=2409

(click on one of the three links to the right, the ones with dates…)

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

jennie—which date on swedish site had soldiers joy?

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Any chance of a translated version of these programs?

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

There are some more Irish tunes with a Scottish origin:

"Mist-Covered Mt. Home" (Scots Air) & "Mist on the Mt." (Irish jig)
"Hills of Glenorchy" & "Over the Hills"

I’m not very sure, but these tunes might be related to each other:
"Da Full-Rigged Ship" & "The Rakes of Kildare"
"Nine Pint Coggie" (Edor one) & "The Killarney Boys of Pleasure"

As Dow points out, "The Longford Tinker" is based on "Jenny Dang the Weaver," which was originally a melody taken from ‘port a beul’ or mouth music. Very interesting evolution.

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

10 november starts with a couple of versions of Soldiers Joy, and they come back to it several times in the other programmes.

And about translation… hmm… would take hours and hours…
But if you listen carefully you’ll probably understand quite a lot. The languages are not thaaat different….
Some words:
"Engelska" (=english) refers to a type of tunes (with brittish origin I assume, don’t know a lot of theoretical stuff about music…)
Dragspel - Accordion
Fiol [ fjol ] -fiddle

They’re spending a good 10-15 minutes talking about the origin of Soldiers joy. Apparently known in Scandinavia since the 1780s sometime. The most of the talking is about places of names and people. There’s also some about how the tunes travelled (sailors i.e.)

/Jennie

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

OK, After having listened a bit more… bits of translation from the first programme:

The reason for why "Engelskor" (brittish/irish tunes) became popular in Sweden appears to be that the French Menuette grew out of fashion after the French king Ludwig (XVI ??) died. The Royal people needed something else to dance to and "imported" brittish dance music in the early 1700s. Some of the first printed collection of tunes and dances (where i.e. jigs are included) is from 1658.

1711 there was an official warning about dancing to jigs, since the moves were seen as "rough".

To be continued…
/J

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

The tune for "Some say the devil is dead and buried in Killarney" aka "Johnny Will you Marry Me" is reputed to have come from a strathspey…they do Highlands in Ireland, right?

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Aye vonnieestes, you’re correct, it’s the Strathspey, The Braes of Mar.

Posted by .

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

The Bag of Spuds — has Irish roots… literally. πŸ˜‰

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Sorry to spoil a good joke Jack but the biologist in me can’t resist.

Spuds are swollen, underground stems, not roots, which is why they go green in the light.

I remember my old history teacher at school saying

"Of course the root of the Irish problem is the potato"

……….and then got shouted down by a lot of 12 year old smartarse kids who’d had biology that week.

One of them has obviously failed to become fully socialised :(

I’m gong now…

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

I think that shoid be "going"

Or have I been "gonged" off?

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

Geoff, I think you may have a brain tuber. πŸ™‚

I have noticed that Scottish-style players appear to be more classically trained musicians. The music seems to reflect that; strathspeys immediately come to mind. (But the minute I say it, I think of all sorts of exceptions.) Am I totally off-base with this?

Re: tunes with scottish and irish roots

I have noticed that Scottish-style players appear to be more classically trained musicians. …..Am I totally off-base with this?

Not entirely, but I only have it by hearsay. I have spent entirely too much time listening to Scots expounding on why it’s not classical, we’re all pretty much sitting around: "Uhhhh-huh, If you insist. "
After 40 years or more I can listen to the old records and tell that it’s "Scottish fiddle" instead of "Scottish Classical." But I could never explain it. Generally speaking the Scottish Technical level was much higher even thru the ’60s, when Scottish fiddle was very concert oriented. Irish was more dance oriented, looser, more rhythmic. By the seventies you started seeing the Scottish playing opening up a bit…. not so prissy. But the Irish were (metaphorically,) paring their nails and brushing their hair.
You could still tell the difference between Tommy Peoples and Brian Mac Neill. This new lot , I really can’t tell who’s from where. I reckon they all studied at the same camps, under the same people. or at least the same CD’s I am hoping as they reach old fartdom they will realize the beauty of idiosyncrasy.

In 700 AD Scotland was Scotia Minor, Ireland was Scotia. I reckon they brought the tunes with them from Hy Bressail and Avalon and have been have been swapping them around ever since.