Blind Mary polka

Also known as Maire Chaoch, Maire Dhal.

There are 45 recordings of a tune by this name.

Blind Mary has been added to 1 tune set.

Blind Mary has been added to 214 tunebooks.

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Four settings

X: 1
T: Blind Mary
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A|d2 d>c|B2 AF/G/|A>B AF|E3 FG|
Af f>e|dB AD/E/|F>G E>D|D3||
d/e/|f>g fB|e>c AB/c/|d>D DE/F/|E3 A/G/|
F>G Ad|f>e dD/E/|F>G E>D|D3||
X: 2
T: Blind Mary
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A|d2 d>c|{c}B2 A(F/G/)|A>B AF|E3 (FG)|
(Af) (f>e)|(dB) A(D/E/)|(F>G) ({F}E>D)|D3||
(d/e/)|f>g fB|e>c (AB/c/)|d>D D(E/F/)|E3 (A/G/)|
(F>G) Ad|f>e d(D/E/)|(F>G) ({F}E>D)|D3||
X: 3
T: Blind Mary
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
V:1
"D"d2 d>c | "G"c<B "D"AF/G/ | A>B AF |"A"E3 F/G/ |
V:2
F2 A>F | G2 F2 | FG D2 | cA c2 |
V:1
"D"Af f>e | dB AD/E/ | F>G "A"E>D | "D"D3 d/e/ :|
V:2
FD/E/ F2 | GD/E/ F2 | D>E E>F | D3 z:|
V:1
"D"f>g fB | "A"e>c AB/c/ | "D"d>D DE/F/ | "A"E3 A/G/ |
V:2
d>e dd | c>A c2 | B>F A2 | Ac/B/ A2 |
V:1
"D"F>G Ad | "D"f>e dD/E/ |F>G "A"ED |"D"D3 :|
V:2
FD/E/ F2 | ^A2 =B2 | D>E A2 | D3 :|
# Added by JACKB .
X: 4
T: Blind Mary
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A/A/B/c/ |d2 e/ d/c|B2 AF G/|A2B AF|E3 FG
A2f2 g/ f/e| d2 d/c/B/ A/d/D/E/ |F>G E>D|D3 :||
dde |f>g fB |e>cA A/B/c/| d>D D E/F|E3 A/A/G/
|F/G Ad/d/ e/ |f/g/f/ e dD/E/|F>G E>D|D3 :||

Twenty-four comments

This is a tune in a group of about a dozen Carolan tunes that we go to if we want to play something a little slower and relaxing towards the end of a busy session, perhaps when the pub is starting to empty, (a bit of Carolan sometimes hastens the process!)
Note: this is NOT a polka - polkas weren’t around in Carolan’s time. It just happens to be in 2/4.

Here is an ornamented version

A|d2 d>c|{c}B2 A(F/G/)|A>B AF|E3 (FG)|
(Af) (f>e)|(dB) A(D/E/)|(F>G) ({F}E>D)|D3||
(d/e/)|f>g fB|e>c (AB/c/)|d>D D(E/F/)|E3 (A/G/)|
(F>G) Ad|f>e d(D/E/)|(F>G) ({F}E>D)|D3||

Joanie Madden’s recording of Blind Mary is so good it gives me chills. I can’t imagine being able to translate its essence into abc with the emotion and ornamentation that makes it live and breathe.

Alice

Trevor, I’ve previously printed out sheet music of Blind Mary found on other abc sites (disappointed) but I just converted to notes the version you posted - much closer to the Blind Mary melody than others I’ve found. Thank you.

What an awful tune, I cant believe anyone would get chills from this tune.

Posted by .

Say it from the heart bb!

I’m sure it sounds horrible played as a polka. As Jeremy keeps saying, post slow airs at your own peril.

It was worth a laugh though, just to think of Turlough O’Carolan doing the polka. :-)

What, dancing or playing it? Since he was blind, the thought of Carolan dancing the polka indeed gives me chills. :)

zls

As I said, a touch of Carolan last thing in a session can sometimes have the effect of clearing the pub just that little quicker. The bar staff approve.

Old Turlough, playing the harp AND dancing the polka! Neat trick, really.

Blind Mary

While clearly not a polka, I disagree with those saying it sounds horrible. It is a great tune and, if played with some emotion at a moderate pace, it really is quite nice. While playing toward the end of a night when a slower pace might be welcomed, if played with care, the people stay, not leave.

And some of the finest dancers I have had the pleasure of teaching or taking the floor with have been blind… The only problems were with the jerks that didn’t know how to accept they knew what they were doing, some even refusing to give hands in say a chain. Now that is sad…

Anyone who thinks this an awful air clearly hasn’t heard it before. I heard someone say that a lot of Carolan’s tunes are portraits, and I agree, especially with this one.

David Surette recently recorded a great rendition of Blind Mary in a set with Rambling Pitchfork on his CD "The Green Mandolin." He plays the melody on cittern, backed by guitar. I found it very moving, one of those tracks I just kept listening to over and over.

Blind Mary

Personally, I LOVE this Carolan. I play this on the slower side and "lean" into the notes to make it "sing", adding a good cut/trill here and there to give it more character. Never had anyone tell me they don’t like it. It’s the type of tune that partnered with some good lyrics and a pint would make a good rubgy song!

Posted by .

Blind Mary Harmony

X: 1
T: Blind Mary
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
R: polka
K: Dmaj
V:1
"D"d2 d>c | "G"c<B "D"AF/G/ | A>B AF |"A"E3 F/G/ |
V:2
F2 A>F | G2 F2 | FG D2 | cA c2 |
V:1
"D"Af f>e | dB AD/E/ | F>G "A"E>D | "D"D3 d/e/ :|
V:2
FD/E/ F2 | GD/E/ F2 | D>E E>F | D3 z:|
V:1
"D"f>g fd | "A"e>c AB/c/ | "D"d>D DE/F/ | "A"E3 A/G/ |
V:2
d>e dd | c>A c2 | B>F A2 | Ac/B/ A2 |
V:1
"D"F>G Ad | "D"f>e dD/E/ |F>G "A"ED |"D"D3 :|
V:2
FD/E/ F2 | ^A2 =B2 | D>E A2 | D3 :|

Posted by .

author of Blind Mary

I understood that this tune is no longer thought to have been by O’Carolan.
I’ll try and dig out some provenance for this and an alternative author.

author of Blind Mary

Found my source and it’s inconclusive, as is most of what is actually known about Carolan. Some people think his a figment of someone’s imagination. Did the yanks really send men to moon?

In The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper, Donal O’Sullivan comments that the tune, as included in O’Neill, was copied from Forde’s Encyclopaedia of Melody. He says: "O’Neill states that"Blind Mary" is attributed to Carolan by Forde in his Encyclopaedia". However, the only known surviving copy of the Encyclopaedia is limited to Volume 1 and does not contain this tune. so, presumably, it must been in the lost Volume 2. There seems no other historical attribution of "Blind Mary" to Carolan. O’Sullivan goes on to comment that "but for Forde’s high authority we should hardly be justified in including this tune, for it is very unlike Carolan in style". I have to agree with this last comment. To my ear it has a completely different feel (is that a mixed metaphor?) to any of his other melodies. Maybe he wrote it as a tribute to the Harper Maire Dhall, in her style?
Having said that, I think it is a great tune.

pigeonholing tunes

I cant understand why there isn’t a category for ’ miscellaneous tunes’ that could include slow airs, marches
both 6/8 and 2/4, and indeed all of O’ Carolan’s works - then we wouldn’t have this ludicrous situation
of tunes being forced into dance tune boxes they clearly don’t belong in - Da Slockit Light as a reel, Blind Mary
a polka, Si bheag Si Mhor as a waltz, etc

It probably would be pretty easy to program, but think about the labor needed to put the existing mis-categorized tunes into the miscellaneous section. Sifting through over 13000 tunes, spending an average of say 2 minutes on each, working 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, it would be an 11 week job.

time sigs

My understanding from a recent post by Jeremy is that the category generates the time signature in the header, so any category containing different time signatures is unworkable. And no, I don’t want to revisit the recent interminable 2/2 vs. 4/4 thread.

blind mary

We play this one through with sensitivity then to change the mood follow with Maguire’ s March

Blind Mary, X:4

This is how I hear it played by Colgarra.