The Cunning Workmen polka

By Tony Cuffe

Also known as The Cunning Workman, The Cunning Workmen March.

There is 1 recording of this tune.

The Cunning Workmen has been added to 4 tune sets.

The Cunning Workmen has been added to 16 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: The Cunning Workmen
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|gfgd|ed B/c/d/e/|dgdB|A2GF|G2G/A/B/c/|dge2|dgdB|A4|gfgd|
ed B/c/d/e/|dgdB|A2GF|G2G/A/B/c/|dge2|dB AB/A/|1 G4:|2 G3d||
e3/2d/ ef|g2f2|e3/2d/ ef|g3a|bg a/g/f|g{ag}fed|dgdB|A2GF|
gfgd|ed B/c/d/e/|dgdB|A2GF|G2 G/A/B/c/|dg e2|dB AB/A/|
G3d|e3/2d/ ef|g2fd|e3/2d/ ef|g3a|b/a/g a/g/f|g{ag}f ed|dgdB|A2GF|
gfgd|ed B/c/d/e/|dgdB|A2GF|G2 G/A/B/c/|dg e2|dB AB/A/|G4||
X: 2
T: The Cunning Workmen
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:AB/c/|d>c dA Bd A>B|Ad AF E4|D2 D/E/F/G/ Ad B2|Ad AF E2 AB/c/|
d2 dA BA F/G/A/B/|Ad AF E4|D2 D/E/F/G/ Ad B2|AF EF/E/ D2:|
|:DA|B>A A/B/c d2 cd/c/|B>A Bc d3 e|fd e/d/c d/c/B AF/G/|Ad AF E3 d|
d2 d>A BA F>G|Ad AF E3 D|D2 D/E/F/G/ Ad B2|AF EF D2:|

Five comments

We often play this with St. Kilda’s March in a set.

By Tony Cuffe

Now here’s a coincidence. This is not a polka – it’s a march, and was composed by Tony Cuffe [RIP], when he was a member of the band “Ossian”. It was part of a suite of music written by members of the band for a TV programme about the island of Iona, and the monastery which was built there. The “Iona Suite” was included on “Ossian’s” record, “Dove Across The Water”.
I’ve always liked the tune, but nobody else seemed to play it. I came back to playing it a couple of months ago, and decided to teach it to my flute and whistle students at the “Splore” school of traditional music in Aberdeen at the beginning of August, so there are at least 3 flute and whistle players currently playing it in Scotland at the moment.
4 weeks later, it is posted here, completely out of the blue.
[ You weren’t at the “Splore”, were you, shiaumo ? ].
Incidentally, I think it may be “The Cunning Workmen”, plural, because there were more than 1 involved in the building of Iona.

I’ve been playing this for a wee while. I got the Cd of “Dove across the water” - the cassette was long lost - which reminded me of the tune. I play it in D - it sounds great on the guitar whn it’s tuned to dropped D.

Posted .

Re: The Cunning Workmen

I was just thinking this tune should be edited with its composer, only to see that it was modified only 3 minutes ago! Haha.