The Holey Ha’penny jig

Also known as Ho’ley Ha’Penny, Holey Halfpenny, The Holey Halfpenny, Holy Ha’penny, The Holy Ha’penny, Holy Halfpenny, The Holy Halfpenny.

There are 10 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Holey Ha’penny has been added to 1 tune set.

The Holey Ha'penny has been added to 20 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: The Holey Ha'penny
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
dc|:B2G {A}GFG|.d2G {A}GFG|B2G {A}GFG|~d3 edc|
B2G {A}GFG|d/e/dc BAG|A2f {g}fef|~c3 edc:|
|:B2g {a}gfg|dgg Bgg|Ggg {a}gfg|~d3 edc|
B2g {a}gfg|dgg Bgg|A2f {g}fef|~c3 edc:|
X: 2
T: The Holey Ha'penny
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:F2D DFD|AFD EFG|F2D DFD|ABc dAG|
F2D DFD|AFD DFD|E2=c cBc|G3 GFE:|
|:F2d dcd|F2A AGA|F2d dcd|ABA BAG|
F2d dcd|F2A AFA|E2=c cBC|G3 GFE:|
f2d dfd|dfd efg|f2d dfd|a3 bag|
f2d dfd|afd dfd|e2=c cdc|gfg efg|
fdf ece|dcd BAG|F2d dcd|A3 ABc|
dBd cAc|BGB AGF|E2=c cBc|GAG BAG||
|:c|B2G GAG|dBG GAG|B2G GAG|d3 edc|
B2G GAG|dBG GBG|A2f ede|c3 ed:|
|:c|B2g gfg|B2d dcd|B3 gfg|d3 edc|
B3 gfg|B3 dcB|A2f ede|c3 ed:|
X: 3
T: The Holey Ha'penny
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
dc|:B2G GFG|dBG GFG|B2G GFG|~d3 edc|
B2G GFG|dBG GFG|A2=f fef|~c3 edc:|
|:B2g gfg|~B3 d^cd|B2g gfg|de=f edc|
B2g gfg|~B3 dcB|A2=f fef|~c3 edc:|
|:dBG GFG|dBG dBG|dBG GFG|de=f edc|
dBG GFG|dBG dBG|A2=f fef|~c3 edc:|
|:Bdg ceg|Bdg ceg|Bdg ceg|~d3 edc|
Bd/e/f/g/ cd/e/f/g/|Bd/e/f/g/ cd/e/f/g/|A2=f fef|~c3 edc:|
|:dBG GDG|dBG gdB|dBG GDG|de=f edc|
dBG GDG|dBG gdB|A2=f fef|~c3 edc:|

Six comments

An old favourite in Northumberland. Sits quite nicely in a set of Irish tunes, and I think it’s known by some people over there also. Nancy Kerr plays a nice 5-part version which I recorded on minidisc at a recent session. I might post it below another day when I get the time to transcribe it. The version posted here is the setting I play.

Holey ha’penny

Didn’t the "House Band" record this somewhere along the line?

Posted by .

Originally Irish

Now I know why the Kilfenora Jig https://thesession.org/tunes/949 sounded so familiar to me when I first heard it in Irish sessions. It seems that both tunes have a common ancestor, which often appears as "The Chorus Jig" in old manuscripts.

When the tune came to England, it presumably would have had Fnats at the end of the parts where it goes |A2f fef| as in the Irish version. Some people in Northumberland still play settings that have Fnats. The tune later became a smallpipes tune and adopted the name "The Holey Halfpenny". Perhaps the F#s came about because of mistakes in transcription, or because some early sets of pipes had no Fnats on the chanter for the scale of G.

The similarities between "The Kilfenora" and "The Holey Ha’penny" are obvious in this setting from Abraham Mackintosh’s tunebook from the early 19th century somewhere on Tyneside, where it is entitled "The Chorus Jig" (note also that "The Chorus Reel" https://thesession.org/tunes/779 appears to have derived from this jig, and that "The Queen Of The Rushes" https://thesession.org/tunes/710 has the alternative title of "Chorus Jig" and also seems to be related):

K:D
|:F2D DFD|AFD EFG|F2D DFD|ABc dAG|
F2D DFD|AFD DFD|E2=c cBc|G3 GFE:|
|:F2d dcd|F2A AGA|F2d dcd|ABA BAG|
F2d dcd|F2A AFA|E2=c cBC|G3 GFE:|
f2d dfd|dfd efg|f2d dfd|a3 bag|
f2d dfd|afd dfd|e2=c cdc|gfg efg|
fdf ece|dcd BAG|F2d dcd|A3 ABc|
dBd cAc|BGB AGF|E2=c cBc|GAG BAG||

For bars 2 and 6 of the B-part of "The Holey Ha’penny", some people play |B2d dcd| or |B2d d^cd|. The following 2-part setting comes from the Clough family manuscripts (minor corrections have been made so that the repeat bars and da capo link up properly):

K:G
|:c|B2G GAG|dBG GAG|B2G GAG|d3 edc|
B2G GAG|dBG GBG|A2f ede|c3 ed:|
|:c|B2g gfg|B2d dcd|B3 gfg|d3 edc|
B3 gfg|B3 dcB|A2f ede|c3 ed:|

5-part setting

Over a year later, I’ve finally got round to transcribing Nancy Kerr’s version as promised. I can’t remember where she said she got it from, but it’s apparently in one of the piper’s tunebooks. I think the 5th part is supposed to be almost identical to the 3rd part, but in the session recording she put some extra variations in last time through, which I think are worth putting into the transcription:

dc|:B2G GFG|dBG GFG|B2G GFG|~d3 edc|
B2G GFG|dBG GFG|A2=f fef|~c3 edc:|
|:B2g gfg|~B3 d^cd|B2g gfg|de=f edc|
B2g gfg|~B3 dcB|A2=f fef|~c3 edc:|
|:dBG GFG|dBG dBG|dBG GFG|de=f edc|
dBG GFG|dBG dBG|A2=f fef|~c3 edc:|
|:Bdg ceg|Bdg ceg|Bdg ceg|~d3 edc|
Bd/e/f/g/ cd/e/f/g/|Bd/e/f/g/ cd/e/f/g/|A2=f fef|~c3 edc:|
|:dBG GDG|dBG gdB|dBG GDG|de=f edc|
dBG GDG|dBG gdB|A2=f fef|~c3 edc:|