The original poster took it from Willie Clancy’s performance, which I don’t have, so can’t check it for accuracy.
‘Can’t blame the person to much’
Pat Mitchell used 12/8 as well in ‘The Dance Music of Willie Clancy’
Willie Clancy, and generally anybody I have heard play the tune, plays the tune in 12/8.
So who’s the odd one out?
12/8 Vs. 4/4
The really funny thing is that, when you listen to the results of putting it in 12/8 & then swung 4/4 (on a MIDI player, anyway- and yes, I know that a machine playing it lacks the subtleties that a human would bring), IT SOUNDS EXACTLY THE SAME. I think either way is "right", it just depends on what kind of phrasing the individual player is going for. To be honest, I do react differently to seeing "12/8" as opposed to "4/4" at the beginning of a tune. I have seen tunes like this one listed as both Flings and Single Jigs (they’re definitely NOT slides, though). I suppose it really comes down to something I’ve suspected for awhile; 3 is THE most important number in ITM, insofar as rhythmic "feel" is concerned. It’s the common denominator in almost all Irish dance tunes, even the ones in common (4/4) time. Even the reels have (to my ears, anyway) an underlying "three feel" to them. One can almost THINK 12/8 while playing a reel & get a bit closer to the right rhythm. I get the feeling this is why Scottish fiddlers have often complained about how the Irish play reels (a legitimate complaint; it IS a Scottish tune form, the Irish just adapted them to suit their "fondness for 3"!). The main thing I’m getting at is that if you wanted to, you could write out a Fling (or Hornpipe, or Barndance, Etc.) in 12/8. The time signature of 12/8 isn’t the exclusive property of Slides/Single Jigs, it’s just a time signature.
I’m gonna go run for cover now. This IS the Mustard Board, after all- this is BOUND to get contentious! Let the opinions fly like shrapnel, Gentlemen (& Ladies)!
I agree with Jay. It’s kinda a matter of deciding which written convention most closely mirrors the reality of the rhythm. Writing is always an approximation. But it’s also a matter of acknowledging certain standards for notating certain kinds of tunes in certain ways for the same reason that I don’t write every word phonetically. I typically see flings written in 4/4, so I put it in 4/4. And I’d agree that a consistently swung 4/4 can sound like 12/8, but the only tune type consistently notated in 12/8 are slides and it’s not a slide. Basically, I figured it’d be best to go with a standard rather than a personal interpretation.
Here’s the original poster’s ABCs so people have easy access to them:
T:The Fowler on the Moor
|: G2E EEE c3 B2G | ABA G2E A2c B2A | G2E EEE c2A B2G | A2E G2E D3 D2E |
G2E EEE c3 B2G | ABA G2E A2c B2A | G2A B2c d3 B2G |1 AGE G2E D3 B2A :|2 AGE G2E D3 D2E |]
|: G2A B2c d2G B2G | ABA G2E A2c B2A | G2A B2c d3 B2G |1 AGE G2E D3 D2E :|2 AGE G2E D3 B2A |]
I was thinking about a few of the tunes that are in the grey area between the two time signatures. pat Ward’s Jig vs ‘The Madcap in the Darley and McCall collection for example.
You’re right, there’s an area where 12/8 and 4/4 meet.
FWIW, The Fowler on the Moor is classed as a slide in The Dance Music of Willie Clancy.
A number of good melodies moved over to other duties, such as single reels, as highland fling dances and tunes were less called for. Who’d give up a good melody? And, not forgetting what has already been said, 9/8 ~