I love the way this tune switches between c sharps and c naturals, sometimes even in the same bar. And that f natural in the second part gives the tune a sinister, minor twist that stops it sounding too "nice". You can turn this f natural into a triplet for a nice effect.
The Chief O’Neill in question is, presumably, the chief of the Chicago police force who managed to collect so many Irish tunes into the famous "O’Neill’s 1001" collection. Apparently, just about every officer in the Chicago police force at the time could play a musical instrument.
Hi, thanks for this tune. Do you ever play the turn with the f# instead of the sinister f natural?
I also like a bit of double stop on that f natural, seems to add to the mood.
Can anyone throw any light on why this tune has this title?
Re: Chief O’Neill’s
Because it was originally published in his Book as "Chief O’Neills Favorite"?
Re: Chief O’Neill’s
Who is Chief O’Neill?
Re: Chief O’Neill’s
Legend has it that, as a young child, he was stolen by a tribe of wayward Sioux from his Irish-born parents as they crossed the plains with a wagon train, heading for Montana. But O’Neill, despite his tender age, retained an astonishing memory of tunes, songs and step-dancing, and he shared these with many in the tribe’s village. In fact, archeologists later discovered in the area a strangely altered "peace pipe," attached to a large, inflatable rawhide bag — perhaps the prototype of a Native American version of the Uilleann pipes, undoubtedly fashioned by O’Neill himself.
When he became an adult, O’Neill was challenged by the village leader to a step-dancing contest and pub-sing competition, both of which O’Neill won handily. He therefore assumed the mantle of leadership, and was accordingly dubbed "Chief O’Neill."
…but then again, legend has it that he was the chief of police in Chicago back in the late 19th, early 20th century.
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*Main instruments: guitar, bouzouki, mandolin and bodhran. Also play anglo-concertina, but mainly to accompany MORRIS DANCING!
Ok, right! No problem!
High part first on this tune… like many American tunes.
A little G drone
The natural F in the second part first bar goes from sinister to downright spooky on the fiddle if you make a little light bow contact with the open G string.
F nat. in B-part
One tunebook (CCITCOL Vol.2) gives a B-part with f sharps and the f nat. version as a variant. Quote: "The B variant part with the natural F is due to Barney McKenna, but Fred Rice says he ‘never heard anyone play it that way in Ireland.’ "
Now who is Fred Rice?
really nice take on this tune from some youngsters:
they’re good! I’ll be looking out for a CD
Version of Steph Geremia on "The Open Road"
T:Chief O’Neill’s Favourite (Version Steph Geremia)
de | ~f3g aage | fdef dcAG | FDAD (3EFG AB| =cAd^c A2 de |
~f3g a2ge | fdef dcAG | FDAF GBAG | F2 D2 D2 :|
|: zE | =FADE =FGAB | =c2 dB cAGB | A2de ffed | cAdc A2 de |
~f3g aage|fdef dcAG | FDAF (3GAB AG | F2 D2 D2:|
F naturals vs F#s
This is a little late in the discussion BUT. First of FRED RICE was a fiddler from Tullamore in County Offaly. He was extremely knowledgable about the tunes and music. Unfortunately, Fred passed away a few years ago in 2009 or 2010. His brother, Noel is a flute player and lives in Chicago and has taught hundreds of people to play the flute including dancer Michael Flatley (Lord of The Dance).
RE: F natural and F#
It is true what Fred said. No one from Ireland (except the late Barney McKenna) plays the tune with the F natural. As an American I prefer the Irish version. It is more subtle and within the normal mode. However, I have yet to convince another Yank who plays the tune that that is the preferable way. So I just do not play it at sessions on this side of the Atlantic.
I think it’s appropriate to give O’Neill’s setting of this tune here. 🙂
This is from his 1850 (#1556); in his 1001 (#806) the only difference is that in bars 2, 6 and 14 that descending motif goes like |fde(c d)cAG|… and a couple of differently set ties, whose purpose I don’t really get anyway (and Many of which are now Published for the First Time 😛).
D mixolydian surely?
leaving aside the question of Barney McKennas F natural [which IMO is the apex of the tune] this should surely be posted as D mixolydian -it has frequent C naturals so how can it be classed as D maj???
Chief O’Neill’s Favourite, X:5
I hesitate to put this as a setting and not as another tune as it is so different, but this is the way we learned it and played it in Morgantown, WV - We started calling it Chief O’Niels Other Favorite because we knew it was a lot different. Perfect example of the folk process and I can’t begin to explain how it evolved this way.
Re: Chief O’Neill’s Favourite
Greetings, and sorry for the late response, Skull Duggeraigh Dubh. In case you were really wondering, Chief O’Neill was head of the police department in Chicago, starting in 1901. I had heard for years that it was the fire department, but it turns out that was incorrect. Check out :
Chief O’Neill’s Favourite, X:6
Printed in the of December 2003 issue of NPU’s journal An Píobaire, this was written out by the piper Brother Gildas, he of Port An Bhráthar fame. His name for it was "The True Lovers’ Hornpipe." Seán Donnelly found the manuscript. I’ve always loathed the F natural notes in these modern settings - no old musician used them, including such household names of piping as Rowsome/Clancy/Ennis - so it was a surprise to find some in this setting, albeit not in the places Barney McKenna apparently decided to deposit them.
The BBC Archives have a pair of takes of Bobby Casey playing this too, where the pitch of that F is more than a bit ambiguous, in typical BC fashion.