Also known as
Finnea Lasses, The Finnea Lasses Highland Fling, The Finnea Lasses, Finnea Lassies, Gurren Castle, Gurren’s Castle, Gurrens Castle, The Killarney Highland Fling, Killarney Wonder, The Killarney Wonder Schottische, The Killarney Wonder.
A Schottise that was played by Michael Coleman. Another, Farrel O’Gara’s Schottise, is also on this tune list.
A Schottise is played more or less like a hornpipe, but I hope some expert can give me more distinguishing details.
Note the strong A-E double stops in the 1st and 3rd bars of the first part, and in the penultimate bar of the second part.
A slide up to the high A at the beginning of the second part is an option.
Triplet runs similar to the one in the 6th bar of the second part also occur in the Farrel O’Gara Schottise - I don’t know whether they are characteristic of the Schottise or of Michael Coleman. Help from the experts, please!
- - - Highland Fling - - -
Often times mixed in as ‘barndances’ or schottisches, and as there isn’t a section for these, this would be better placed under ‘barndances’ than hornpipes. There shouldn’t be a repeat of the B part, as it is a second ending, or as Highland’s, Flings, Highland Flings were once played and danced to…
Stop, stay there, please, I want to ask you a question - what are highland flings, barndances and schottisches?
Arggh you’ve flitted away again!
The Killarney Wonder Schottische (#1028)
I was taught this tune as a schottische, and no mention was ever made of it being a barndance. Since it evidently isn’t a reel, and there is no schottische tune type on the database, hornpipe seemed to be the closest type to allocate to this tune, rather than a barndance.
Like Dow, I’d be grateful for distinguishing definitions of highland flings, barndances and schottiches - if indeed such definitions exist (or ever have!)
Accordingly, I have no intention at present of changing the tune type for this tune.
Schottische — Killarney Wonder
There is a wonderful recording of this tune on Kevin Burke’s Sweeny’s Dream.
As for the Schottische.. its a German 2-step/contra dance — schottische means Scottish or Irishman in the German language. When I was a kid growning up in the Midwest they would have street dances .. lots of Polkas, Hambos and Schottisches. Funny thing is a lot of folks called this dance the "German".
Do a search - ‘Highland Fling’ - ‘German’ - ‘Schottische’ - ‘Barndance’
There’s quite a lot already on this site with regards to history and differences. There tends to be a smear between forms and memory the younger the sources became, down to where some nowadays have them all as ‘hornpipes’ merely because there is a skip rhythm or one form or another shared by them all.
The older the sources the closer you got to some distinction, as many of these sources still knew the dances that accompanied them. Here the distinction is a bit clearer, but the dances all share the same basic ‘traveling step’, or ‘skip-change’, or ‘hop-1-2-3’. After that each also had its own distinct stepping. As things are goind even the mazurka family might be called 3/4 time or 3/2 time hornpipes in the future.
Even in the 1800s certain steps were called ‘polka’ merely by the fact that there was a ‘hop’, this includes 2/4, 4/4 and 3/4 dances. In that time also, to ‘waltz around’ didn’t necessarily mean the 3/4 waltz, also being used for the equivalent of ‘house around’, which for the non-dancers is a movement by a couple who turn clockwise while traveling around a space anit-clockwise, whatever the footwork or time signature…
In simple form, the ‘Highland Flings’ as accompanied the dances of this form, for 2, 3 and 4 dancers, and the dances themselves, as in Eire, were 16 bars in length. The Schottisches/Germans/Barndances were 32 bars in length, but that didnt’ stop people from mixing things around, which became more common the closer you get to the present time, post World War II, where things have become less distinct for loss of the dancing in some places and cases, like in a session or an ‘exhibition’.
Sessions were in part the result of the Dance Hall Act in the 1930s. Previous to this the dance music and the dances were pretty much inseperable… A lot of the older musicians I had the pleasure of knowing were much happier and less self-conscious with dancers before them answering their call…
- - - Schottische - Highland Fling - - -
I’d forgotten to add - I play this as a ‘Highland’, meaning 16 bars, with the 4 bar ‘second ending’ which was classic for the form, or as written here: AAB (4/4/8)…
But, as mentioned previously, things change. Musicians sometimes put tunes to several uses and Highlands could be used to accompany dancers stepping a Highland, a Schottische or a Barndance. Sometimes in the blur even the parts might get confused and repeated to meet the expectations of the musician, whoever they were or are… I love second endings like this, a nice twist, while others take that they mean 8 bars that are calling for a repeat, as with hornpipes and double reels. Yuh takes yur choices…
"The Killarney Wonder" ~ Schottische / Highland Fling
This is also played in G Dorian…
There is also some suspected confusion in association this melody with the name "Gurren" and his "Castle", "Gurren’s Castle"? ~ which is usually associated with a version of the Strathspey "Miss Drummond of Perth"?
"The Killarney Wonder" ~ same name, different tune
I’m afraid I’m partly responsible for the current confusion of names between this tune, which Hughie Gillespie recorded as "The Finnea Lasses," and the one he played with it ("Gurren’s Castle"). Because of an error of mine, the notes for the Smithsonian Folkways CD reissue of Kevin Burke’s "Sweeney’s Dream" recording wrongly identify this tune as "Gurren’s Castle." And because of Kevin’s popularity, my mistake is now all over the internet. Sorry about that.
"Chinese Whispers" ~ there is a grace in the aknowledgement of fault, one’s mistakes ~ respect! But damn you for my having to add my awful scrawl to the liner notes for the CD… 😉