Da Day Dawn polka

Also known as Da Day Dawns, Day Dawn, The Day Dawn.

There are 28 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

Da Day Dawn has been added to 3 tune sets.

Da Day Dawn has been added to 72 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Three settings

X: 1
T: Da Day Dawn
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
AB|cd BA|cd BA|B2 AG|cd BA|cd BA|e2 AB|cd BA|
cd BA|B2 AG|A2 GE|DE GA|BA Bc|dc BA|e2||
AB|A2 a2|e2 dc|B2 AG|A2 a2|e2 dc|e2 AB|A2 a2|
e2 dc|BA BG|A2 GE|DE GA|BA Bc|dc BA|a2||
X: 2
T: Da Day Dawn
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
AB|A2 {^g}a2|e2 dc|TB2 AG|A2 {^g}a2|e2 dc|e2 A<B|A2 {^g}a2|
e2 dc|TBA BG|A2 GE|DE GA|BA Bc|dc B<A|e2||
X: 3
T: Da Day Dawn
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
AB|c/d/ {c/}B2 A|c/d/ {c/}B2 A|B2 AG|c/d/ {c/}B2 A|c/d/ {c/}B2 A|
e2 AB|c/d/ {c/}B2 A|c/d/ {c/}B2 A|B2 AG|A2 GE|DEGA|
BABc|dcBA|e2 AB|A2 a2|{e/e/}e2 dc|
B2 AG|A2 a2|{e/e/}e2 dc|e2 AB|A2 a2|{e/e/}e2 dc|
BA BG|A2 GE|DE GA|BA Bc|dc BA|e2|

Eleven comments

Whoa! Before you go slipping into your dancing shoes, this isn’t a polka. In fact, posting it here contravenes the terms and conditions governing the use of this site dedicated to the propagation of Irish Traditional Dance Music, since it is not Irish and it’s not a dance tune. However, a recent discussion about Shetland music reminded me that this tune appeared in the requests list some weeks ago (I was quite surprised that it hadn’t been posted already) and I thought I’d do the requestor a favour and post it here.

I first heard this tune played on the fiddle by Kathryn Tickell (she having attended Tom Anderson’s Shetland fiddle workshops as a youngster). As I remember it, she said it was one of the oldest tunes in the Shetland tradition and in the early years of Scottish rule in Shetland, a fiddler was commissioned by some laird or other to play this tune annually at dawn on New Year’s Day.

The setting you see posted here has been severely got at by the vultures. This tune is classed in Shetand as a ‘listening tune’ and is played without strict metric rhythm. Listening to Tom Anderson and Aly Bain’s rendition on ‘The Silver Bow’, there is quite a lot of ornamentation and wavering of tempo, and some of the quaver groupings are quite uneven in timing, tending towards Scotch snaps.

The following ABC is an approximate transcripition of Tom and Aly’s version - with a little of the flesh put back onthe bones. However - the Scotch snaps are not really Scotch snaps, in the true Scots or Cape Breton sense, but rather, a gentle ‘pushing’ of the second quaver in the group. Some of the high Es sound like unisons - i.e. played on the open E-string and on the A-string simultaneously - but with two fiddles playing, it’s hard to tell for sure. The trills (T) are short and tight - it’s hard to tell without the aid of slowdowning software exactly how they are executed, but it sounds like there are two alternations between the principal note and the grace note (either above or below - possibly not the same every time).

M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
AB | c.d TB<A | c.d TB<A | TB2 A<G | c.d TB<A | c.d TB<A | e2 A<B | c.d TB<A | c.d TB<A | TB2 A<G | A2 GE | DE GA | BA Bc | dc B<A | e2 ||
AB | A2 {^g}a2 | e2 dc | TB2 AG | A2 {^g}a2 | e2 dc | e2 A<B | A2 {^g}a2 |
e2 dc | TBA BG | A2 GE | DE GA | BA Bc | dc B<A | e2 ||

That’s probably enough to be going on with.

There is a lovely version of this tune on Rachel Hair’s album, Hubcaps and Potholes.

To emphasise what is said above this is a really slow graceful tune. Anyone that tries to play this as a polka should be shot, and no doubt about it (I feel that this subject is beginining to dominate my posts a little!)

This is a great tune. I first heard it on Sileas’ first album, then Catriona MacDonald’s “Opus Blue.” I especially like the mysterious feel Irish airs don’t have. Very haunting on the flute.

I have this on a Boys Of The Lough live album released back in the ’70’s.

This is a version of the tune as I remember it. It differs mainly in the rhythmic pattern of the A part.

T:Da Day Dawn
AB |c/d/ {c/}B2 A |c/d/ {c/}B2 A |B2 AG |c/d/ {c/}B2 A |c/d/ {c/}B2 A |
e2 AB |c/d/ {c/}B2 A |c/d/ {c/}B2 A |B2 AG |A2 GE |DEGA |
BABc |dcBA |e2 AB |A2 a2 |{e/e/}e2 dc |
B2 AG |A2 a2 |{e/e/}e2 dc |e2 AB |A2 a2 |{e/e/}e2 dc |
BA BG |A2 GE |DE GA |BA Bc |dc BA |e2 |

tune classifications

‘Da Day Dawn’ as a polka, I’ve seen it all now! I keep finding slow airs, o’ Carolan tunes and marches
slotted into totally inappropriate dance tune categories, based presumably on the closest available time signature, Da Slockit Light is in 4/4 therefore it must be a reel, Si Bheg Si Mhor is in 3/4 so it must be a waltz etc. Would it not be possible just to have a category for miscellaneous tunes to include airs , planxties, marches, song tunes etc. I’m no computer tech but I wouldn’t think its exactly rocket science!

Da Day Dawns

I’ve been playing this in recent weeks, having discovered in Haand me doon da fiddle which I recently purchased from Oxfam (online) after several years searching. I don’t have the book in front of me as I write. But aren’t most of the Bs in this tune flattened? Some of these old Shetland tunes, this one amongst them, have a strange, unearthly feel. It is addictive. Once you’ve started playing it you may find it difficult to stop.

The Es in the second half too.

As above.

They are grace notes.

I’ve studied the book. The notes which have confused me are grace-notes, before the Bs and As mentioned.

Re: Da Day Dawn

Aly Bain and Alex (?) Moller play this together and sound lovely tho’ Moller has put in variations that I’ve not decided if I like or not. Such a lovely - odd - tune. In Shetland you should try for the “lift” as the tune is all about the sun rising. Also I’d say about X:1 that the tune’s a bit dull without dotted rhythm.

Re: Da Day Dawn

It’s a gorgeous, if rather unusual tune. That was Ale Möller, by the way, Susan: had the great pleasure of seeing Aly, Ale and Bruce Molsky in concert together in Edinburgh 2 weekends ago, when they played that tune. (And I have it on a “Boys of the Lough” cassette from way back). It is certainly in very free time.
A while back, some words were set to it, by Jane Hazelden, who was then in Edinburgh’s Sangstream choir, and whose musical director then was Mairi Campbell: she and David Francis (as “The Cast”) recorded it on their “Greengold” album. I can’t find a YouTube of her singing it, but you may get it on iTunes or Spotify.
Here is a score arranged by Mairi and Jane’s lyrics: http://gatherer.orpheusweb.co.uk/etc/smg/pdfs/p14-15.pdf