Sweeney’s polka

Also known as Bridge O’Leary’s, Denis Murphy’s, Pat Murphy’s.

There are 33 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with The Maids Of Ardagh (a few times), Dennis Murphy’s (a few times), The Ballydesmond (a few times), The Britches Full Of Stitches (a few times) and Denis Murphy’s (a few times).

Sweeney’s has been added to 10 tune sets.

Sweeney's has been added to 166 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Four settings

X: 1
T: Sweeney's
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
de/d/ Bd|Gd Bd|e/f/g/e/ dB|AG E2|
de/d/ Bd|Gd Bd|e/f/g/e/ dB|1 AG G2:|2 AG G>A||
|:Bd e/f/g/e/|dB AG/A/|Bd e/f/g/e/|dB A2|
Bd e/f/g/e/|dB AG|de/d/ BA|1 AG G>A:|2 AG G2||
X: 2
T: Sweeney's
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
ef/e/ ce|Ae ce|f/g/a/f/ ec|BA F2|ef/e/ ce|Ae ce|f/g/a/f/ ec|BA A2:|:
ce a>f|ec BA|ce a>f|ec B2|ce f/g/a/f/|ec BA|ef/e/ cB|BA A2:|
X: 3
T: Sweeney's
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
|:ef/e/ ce|Ae ce|f/f/f/f/ ec|BA F2|
ef/e/ ce|Ae ce|f/f/f/f/ ec|1 BA A2:|
|:ce fa/f/|ec BA/B/|ce fa/f/|ec B>B|
ce fa/f/|ec BA|ef/e/ cB|1 BA A>B:|
X: 4
T: Sweeney's
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:AB/A/ FA|DA FA|B/c/d/B/ AF|ED B,2|
AB/A/ FA|DA FA|B/c/d/B/ AF|ED D2:|
|:FA d>B|AF ED|FA d>B|AF E2|
FA d>B|AF ED|AB/A/ FE|ED D2:|

Thirteen comments

Sweeney’s Polka

A simple, straight-forward polka played occasionally in sessions in my area, and also for the set dancers. I’m grateful to Henrik Norbeck’s collection for the source ABC.

we usually play this tune in A.

It’s certainly easier in A on fiddle-tuned stringed instruments. But the key it is played in probably depends on the ratio of fluters to fiddlers in the session.

There are a few flutes around in sessions in my area, often at least two in a session, which makes it worth while doing tunes in G. In our local workshops the teacher will, after teaching us a tune in G, sometimes take us through it in A, so we end up being able to play it in either key. In one notable lesson recently, we were learning Lucy Farr’s Barndance in G, then in A, and then, because Martin Hayes does it, in B-flat! Lucy Farr is a useful tune if you want to play around with different keys because its melodic structure is fairly simple.

Sweeney’s in A

T:Sweeney’s
M:2/4
L:1/8
S:Fintan Valley
R:polka
Z:g.m.p
K:A
ef/e/ ce|Ae ce|f/g/a/f/ ec|BA F2|ef/e/ ce|Ae ce|f/g/a/f/ ec|BA A2:|:
ce a>f|ec BA|ce a>f|ec B2|ce f/g/a/f/|ec BA|ef/e/ cB|BA A2:|

PLaying this tune in A need not be a problem for flutes (nor for whistles and pipes). In the third bar, they need only replace the first two quavers with a crotchet on the lower note, and likewise do this wherever those two quavers occur together. This not only removes all G#s from the A version but also adds some rhythmic punch to the tune. (In fact that’s the way someone taught me the G version.)

Another transcription - as played on a single ‘D’ row of a melodeon:

T: Bridge O’Leary’s
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
S: Tom Doherty
R: Polka
K: A

|:ef/e/ ce|Ae ce|f/f/f/f/ ec|BA F2|
ef/e/ ce|Ae ce|f/f/f/f/ ec|1 BA A2:|
2 BA A>B||
|:ce fa/f/|ec BA/B/|ce fa/f/|ec B>B|
ce fa/f/|ec BA|ef/e/ cB|1 BA A>B:|
2 BA A2||

I play flute, and when we play this in A, i grab b D whistle and slide all my fingers up one hole

Getting the names straight (or not)

The titles do get swapped around, don’t they? This tune shows up (in the key of A) in Bulmer and Sharpley (book 2, tune 73) as Denis Murphy’s. And tune 70 in that book, usually known as Denis Murphy’s no. 1, is called Sweeney’s. Well, what’s in a name, as someone once said?

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Pat Murphy’s

This is called "Pat Murphy’s Polka" on Martin Mulvihill’s "Beginning Irish Fiddle".

Hey - didn’t realize these "other" albums of Martin’s were available on iTunes. http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-humors-glen-master-irish/id265419054

These were issued around the time he published his book - do you have that tome, hotsauce? Quite the rarity. Very spidery handwriting but a handy tome nevertheless. Martin must have known he didn’t have much time left and wanted to leave a printed/recorded legacy. Aside from his very nice Green Linnet LP, which I digitized years ago.

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Sweeney’s, X:4

Bares a certain resemblance to the Toormore Polka