Also known as
Bean A’ Ti Ar Lar, Bean A’ Ti Ar’n Urlár, Bean A’ Tigh Faoi Chláir, Bean An Ti Ar Lar, Bean Ar Ti Ar Lar, Mistress On The Floor, The Mistress On The Floor, The Old Oak Tree, The Woman Of The House In The Closed Coffin, Woman Of The House On The Floor.
A tune I’ve recently been taught. Probably comes from Donegal. It has a variety of other names,
Woman of the House on the Floor
Mistress on the Floor
(a variation, evidently from a session, "Mistress on the Mattress")
The Old Oak Tree
There is a variation of the B part on the woodenflute database:
Submitted on February 27th 2010 by Brad Maloney.
T: Bean A’ Ti Ar Lar
|: AGFE D2 FD | GEFE DBAB |
AGFE D2 FD |[1 E2 cA BGEB :|[2 E2 cA BGEd ||
|: cdec A2 cA | cdec AF E2 |
[1 cdec A2 cA | E2 cA BGEd :|
[2 cdeg f2 ed | ABcA BdcB |]
Bean A’ Ti Ar Lar
I have posted alot of my own tunes lately, so I should balance it out with a good old chestnut. This tune is one that I’ve always associated with Co Donegal fiddling & it’s a great tune on any instrument. I’m surprised that it wasn’t hear already, it may be under a different title, but I couldn’t find it. I checked the advanced ABC tab on the site & the other two "Bean A’ Ti Ar Lar" were not similar to this tune. I’m not entirely sure this is the name of this tune but it was the one listed in the first Bulmer & Sharpley’s collection.
What’s the translation of this title into english? I thought at one time I heard it means "The Pregnant Woman". From my little Focloir Poca the best I can make out is "The housewife on the bottom/ground/laying low". Is this another one like the "Choice Wife" perhaps? wink wink nod nod?
"Music from Ireland, Volume 1"
Page 15, tune #39 ~ "Bean a’ti ar lar"
T: Bean A’ Ti Ar Lar
AGFE D2 FD | GEFE DB B2 |
AGFE D2 FD |[1 ~E2 cA BGEB :|[2 ~E2 cA BGEd ||
|: cdec A2 Ad | cdec AFEd |
[1 cdec A2 AF | ~E2 cA BGEd :|
[2 cdeg ~f2 ec | ABcA BdcB |]
Whoah, there’s ceolachan pointing out exactly how much of an idiot I am. Thanks
No way!!! But it’s a shame Kenny’s comments went la-la. I did get a laugh out of it. But you’re no idiot. We all have brains that sometimes refuse to answer our needs as we’d like them to…
Mistress on the Mattress,
Crone in the Casket,
Der Tod und das Mädchen…
Caoimhin Mac Aoidh on the meaning of the title
I love this tune, and a while back, I went looking for more info about the tune title. I sent the following to a friend and Donegal Irish authority; he agreed with C MA about the connotations of ‘ar lar’ in Donegal parlance, but wanted to hear more corroboration about the idea that it was a corruption of Bean a Ti Faoi Chlair.
BTW, the book he refers to (as many probably know already) is Between the Jigs and Reels: The Donegal Fiddle Tradition.
Here’s what I wrote to my friend:
I found a post (on IRTRAD from 1997) from Caoimhin Mac Aoidh on Bean a Ti ar Lar:
"Ar Lar" has many meanings. You’ll find it on most buses in Dublin as its simplest meaning is "The centre" as in the centre of town. It also means "pregnant" in Donegal Irish so Bean a Ti ar Lar could mean the woman of the house who is pregnant. It also means to be away or missing as in The woman
of the house who has gone out.
Concerning the Donegal reel Bean a’ Ti ar Lar, I discussed in my book what I think is the correct old name in Irish for the tune. Bean a Ti ar Lar is a corruption of Bean a Ti Faoi Chlair (prn Baan uh Tee Fwee Khlaar) which directly translated means the woman of the house under a plank of timber
but figuratively means the woman of the house in a closed coffin. This relates to the death of the famous (a real person) Bidi a’ Mhucros (prn. = Biddy uh Wuk ros = Biddy of Mucros (near Kilcar)). She was a lilter and learned tons of tunes from the faeries at a spink or rock on Mucros Head. My source for this information was the late Francie Dearg O Beirn.
The notion of the tune meaning the woman of the house on the floor derives from Breandan Breathnach’s translation which was popularised when appearing on Tommy Peoples "High Part of the Road" LP. This comes from the fact that "ar lar" and "urlar" sound very alike. The first = air laar the second = oor laar. "Urlar" means a floor. While I have the greatest respect for Breandan and his Irish was impeccible, I would not agree at all with his translation. If it is of any further value, all of the native speaking older Doengal fiddlers likewise reject his translation.
Caoimhin Mac Aoidh
Re: Bean An Tí Ar Lár
Thanks for posting that explanation by Caoimhin Mac Aoidh.
If you are a member of The Session, log in to add a comment.
If you aren’t a member of The Session yet, you can sign up now. Membership is free, and it only takes a moment to sign up.