This struck me as one of Dónal Lunny’s most enigmatic compositions, and I’d welcome some thoughts from anyone with a good knowledge of music theory about what exactly is going on. I’m fairly sure there’s some pretty serious syncopation and polyrhythm going on here (some parts seem to want to be in a different time signature at least). A most interesting tune!
Its a syncopated 4/4 rhythm:
Still sounds tricky!
Thanks for the link… try as I might I can’t make it fit 4/4 though! I mean, you’ll have the same number of total beats each measure, but for me there is a definite 3/4 lilt to (most of) the tune, with the drums providing off-beat accents. It’s a rhythmic tension that gets resolved in the final (5th) measure where it’s pure waltz time.
Have just listened to it on Spotify, and I think it is in 3 time, but with far more notes in each bar. I would put all the notes in two of your bars into one, but with different timing. In some ways almost like some Scandinavian polskas, and not very waltzy at all!
There’s a good strong first beat, not much on two, then stronger again on 3 (but not as strong as on one). Try beating your foot to it on 1 and 3.
As I don’t do ABC, I’ll try to spell out what I mean further: in 3/4 time, first bar and several after repeat this pattern:
1st beat of bar = dotted quaver followed by semiquaver
2nd beat = 2 semiquavers followed by quaver
3rd beat = 2 quavers
I would tend to agree with Trish in that, just listening to the melody, it sounds in 3 time but with the bars twice as long so, with John Holloway’s note values, I would be notating it in 3/2.
So the A part would be something like:
FA|B2A2 F2AF E2F2|D2E2 F2A2- AEFA|B2AF E2FA B2AF|E2F2 D2d2- dEFA|
B2A2 F2AF E2F2|D2E2 F2A2-AEFA|B2AF d2BA F2AF|E2DF E2 E4:|
The drums seem to be playing a syncopated rhythm underneath which can give the part a 3/4 feel but I’d stick with 3/2 for notation.
Having listened to this further, treating the tune in blocks of 12 crotchets/quarter notes, the B part has a 5-4-3 rhythmic emphasis. Likewise the C part, although it is probably more correctly interpreted as 3-2-2-2-3. The D part seems to be 4-5-3 except for its A part ending. As for the E part, I hear it as 3-5-4 followed by 4-3-2-3 and then fairly straight to the end.
In John Holloway’s transcription the first three parts need to be repeated as written to make 2 x 16 bars of 3/4 (although I would write them as 2 x 8 bars of 3/2), as in the last two parts.
Oh and it’s in E dorian.