Nice jig played fast or slow (almost as an air). Version from "O’Neill’s Music of Ireland", revised by Miles Krassen, book version (slightly modified).
Which former Wife?
Rather than an air - I seem to think of this tune (and title) as a dirge.
This was a jig from the playing of Barney Delaney, O’Neill’s brother-in-law and a fantastic piper. Another great piper in Chicago, James Early, recorded a great version of this and his playing is transcribed in the book "Ceol an Piobarie," issued by NPU in the early 80’s. Another version is in the "Piping of Patsy Touhey," taken from the playing of that great piper. O’Flynn’s tune is another jig entirely. The second part is much like that of the Mug of Brown Ale.
O’Neill says that this was something of a pet tune of Delaney’s, so the other musicians who played before him would inevitabely include it in their sets to irritate him!
My Former Wife
Not much different, but I have another version:
EAA ABc|BAG c2A|BGE EDE|GED DB,D|
EAA ABc|BAB GBd|ede gdB|1 BAG A2G:|2 BAG A2g||
efg ~a3|bag a2g|ede ~g3|gba ged|
efg ~a3|bag a2g|ede gdB|1 BAG A2g:|2 BAG A2G||
I think this is a composite of "Jug of Brown Ale" and "Mug of Brown Ale."
Three part version from James Early
The third version is a three part version from a cylinder recording of James Early and possibly Billy McCormick… it could be McFadden, but it’s very hard to hear who is announced. The fiddle is also quieter than the pipes. You can hear it on Ross Anderson’s music page here: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/musicfiles/mp3s/anbheann.mp3
I started with the ABCs from the O’Neill’s ABC project http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/book/oneills/1850/
Here’s the header info:
T: My Former Wife
N:"Collected by Early"
Z:Transcribed by Dan G. Petersen, firstname.lastname@example.org
I used the above version mostly, but also listened to Tom Ennis’ version here: http://archive.org/details/TomEnnisMyFormerWife
I find it very interesting that this tune was collected by Francis O’Neill from James Early and put into his Music of Ireland (1850) book without the third part that Early played.
Please note that the ABCs reflect some of the variations played, so don’t play it exactly as written, but use the dots to get an idea of some of the variations that Early (and Ennis) used throughout. The way O’Neill wrote it really doesn’t accurately represent how Early’s "base" version goes.
My Former Wife
Colm Gannon and Jesse Smith recorded a very similar three-part version of the tune a few years ago, citing an old recording of Offaly piper Bernard Delaney as the source.
According to Harry Bradley, James Early and John McFadden got the tune from Delaney: http://errantelbows.podbean.com/2011/12/09/an-bhean-do-bhi-cheanna-dhom-my-former-wife-or-the-woman-i-had-previously-jig/
“The sudden popularity which (“My Former Wife”) achieved became a source of no little embarrassment to its sponsor. It was one of the ‘pet’ jigs which he liked to play at public entertainments. When (Leitrim-born James) Early and (County Mayo-born John) McFadden (a famous Chicago pipe/fiddle duo) happened to be on the same programme and came on the stage ahead of Delaney, the mischievous pair never failed to play his favorite tune” (Chief O’Neill, Irish Folk Music, pg. 96).
My Former Wife, X:5
Piping version I learned and notated around 1990 - source forgotten.
The vearaition in the repeated A and B parts are meant to play in later rounds….