The Five Servants polka

Also known as The Ballybunion, The Ballybunnion, Bruise Hill, Julia Clifford’s Fancy, Polka No.2.

There are 3 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Five Servants has been added to 20 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: The Five Servants
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
DE|F F/E/ FA|G G/F/ GB|AB ^cd|e/f/g/f/ ed|
B^c dB|A/B/A/G/ FA|GE FE|D2:|
g2|fd fd|fd f/g/a/f/|e e/f/ ed|e/f/g/f/ ed|
B^c dB|A/B/A/G/ FA|GE FE|D2:|
# Added by kiley .
X: 2
T: The Five Servants
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
A | B>A BG | c>B cA | d>e fg | a/g/f/a/ g>e |
de/f/ gf/e/ | dc B>d | cA BA | G2 G :|
g/a/ | bg bg | bg bg | aa/g/ aa/g/ | a/b/a/g/ e/f/g/e/ |
de/f/ gf/e/ | dc B>d | cA BA | G2 G :|
X: 3
T: The Five Servants
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:FEFA | GFGB | ABcd | ed B/c/d | AGFG | A/B/A/G/ F/G/A | GEFE |1 D2DE :|2 D2De |
|:fdfd | fd f/g/a | edcd | e/f/e/d/ B/c/d | AGFG | A/B/A/G/ F/G/A | GEFE |1 D2De :|2 D2D2 |

Sixteen comments

Names

The Five Servants (Julia Clifford), Bruise Hill (Henrik Norbeck), Ballybunnion Polka (Henrik Norbeck)

Recordings

Featured on Chieftains 7 album.

Posted by .

Hi Nigel - this polka has been recorded by "The Chieftains", and would almost certainly be here already under a "proper" name. I would think somewhere in Chieftains 7, 8 or 9, but I’ve had a quick look and haven’t found it yet. The "Boys" version you’ve posted is slightly different, but definitely the same tune. I’ll have a look for it later on.
All the best, Kenny

Posted by .

Chieftains 8…

I think it’s the first polka on track 6 of Chieftains 8. Nobody has come up with a name for it yet, so maybe it hasn’t been posted here yet at all. Need to find the recording now, although I’m not sure I still have the record with sleeve.

Posted by .

The Five Servants

Thanks for that, Kenny. I searched for the polka in three different keys, but came up with nothing, so it’s not as if I didn’t try. Glad you’ve found it, though.

Julia Clifford’s Fancy

Got this from harmonica ace Eddie Clarke’s Unheard records, which have a lot of Sliabh Luachra tunes in the middle. The title was simply Julia Clifford’s. No doubt someone will come along pointing out that this is the Such and Such polka, despite my putting in a good half hour trying to find dots of the frickin’ thing with absolutely nothing to show for it. It’s a very familiar melody.

Eddie’s playing swung a lot more than my simple notation, feel free to insert lots of > characters. Also he played some very complex fillips here and there, G/F/G/F/ instead of GF in the 2nd bar for instance.

Julia Clifford’s Fancy

That’s the tune, Nigel. Now, I searched for "K: Dmaj" "R: polka" and "GEFE | D" among other things, and came up with squat. I should have just gone through all of Julia’s recordings and not even tried. Incidentally Tunepal doesn’t seem to work any more, on desktop machines anyway; that search engine seemed to find tunes much more readily than Google.

I guess I’ll write Jeremy and ask him to fold this one into the Five Servants.

Julia Clifford’s Fancy

It demonstrates that searching for a tune to see if it’s here already isn’t as straightforward as one might think. When I looked at your submission I recognised it, but in my mind I heard "F>E FD" where you had "FEFD". Such subtle differences make all the difference when searching ABC notation.

In addition, in my own database I use the numerical system devised by Brendan Breatnach (and also used by Charlie Gore). Therefore the code for your tune was 3344 572H6. That code works whatever key the tune is in. I searched for "3344 5" which led to three tunes: "The Bonny Blue Flag" (a jig), "The Carlton Hornpipe" and "The Five Servants".

What do you mean I’m an anorak?

Julia Clifford’s Fancy

Don’t you mean 3231 3436? What’s that H for? Breandan would put bars over and under numbers to indicate whether they were above or below the basic one octave scale, too: http://msikio.online.fr/Breathnach/breandn.htm Dunno how you’d type that in. I imagine you’ve corresponded with Michel Sikiotakis? Sounds like you’ve worked on similar projects.

I’d search the site for "F>E FD" but that results in precisely nothing! https://goo.gl/DROA2b "F F/E/ FA" delivers the goods. You have to precisely know what someone has written out to find it. Bryan’s algorithm at Tunepal somehow searched for neighbors of whatever your phrase is. I can’t seem to find any contact info at the site so I left a message on their Facebook page.

I’m not learning an avalanche of tunes from recordings of late so in the meantime I guess I’ll just pester the users here about titles.

Julia Clifford’s Fancy/Five Servants/Tune Code Themes

"Don’t you mean 3231 3436…"

No, the system I use is the same Charlie Gore used in his "The Scottish Fiddle Tune Index" and it only uses the notes on the beat, which works remarkably well. A tune in 4/4 would use the first two bars of the melody (XXXX XXXX), while 2/4 would use the first four bars (as would 6/8). Notes below the central octave use a suffix "L" and those above the central octave "H".

Soldier’s Joy: 5151 51H1H7

The Kesh Jig: 1122 61H65

Galway Hornpipe: 131H3 7L243

Julia Clifford’s Fancy/Five Servants/Tune Code Themes

Thanks Nigel, that makes sense. Gore’s work seems to be a bit obscure, I look for info on it and only find a few instances, like this thread: http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=63382 That inspired me to check out http://www.musipedia.org/, which I’ve apparently registered at in the past - probably when I was trying to figure out the classical string melody played in the opening bars of this one old pop record. Musipedia does return polkas when I use that as a filter for the search string and has all manner of ways to input notes too but when I look for our elusive tune here via FEFA GFGB I don’t come any closer to the actual 2/4 in question.

Bryan says he’s working on an updated TunePal for the desktop, thankfully.

Did Breandan B at some point switch to using H and L in his notation like Gore, instead of just noting the incipits?

Julia Clifford’s Fancy/Five Servants/Tune Code Themes

Apparently Brendan B devised the theme code system, and if I remember correctly (these days it’s far from certain), he arranged one of his book collections in this manner; in the reels section, the first one would have the lowest code, the last one the highest. Charles Gore based his sytem on BB’s, but I suspect he adapted it slightly. I’m not sure about that (and I haven’t seen him for a while).

It has occured to me that this discussion would be better housed in the Discussions section.

Re: The Five Servants

Re "Julia Clifford’s Fancy" - you can hear Julia Clifford play this tune on the Comhaltas Archive site ( https://archive.comhaltas.ie ), where it’s untitled.