This is not a reel, but is in fact a ballad (this style is not given as an option when submitting a tune. Both are marked in 4/4 time.) So it should be played at a tempo at which it may be comfortably sung. Here are the lyrics:
THE HARP that once through Tara’s halls
The soul of music shed,
Now hangs as mute on Tara’s walls
As if that soul were fled.
So sleeps the pride of former days, 5
So glory’s thrill is o’er,
And hearts, that once beat high for praise,
Now feel that pulse no more.
No more to chiefs and ladies bright
The harp of Tara swells: 10
The chord alone, that breaks at night,
Its tale of ruin tells.
Thus Freedom now so seldom wakes,
The only throb she gives,
Is when some heart indignant breaks, 15
To show that still she lives.
Also, please note that whatever software has been used to convert the tune from ABC has produced an incorrect midi file - the notes at the end of each phrase are dotted minims/half notes - as in the sheet music.
I’ve noticed that … anything with a 6 (eg G6) comes out staccato.
spindizzy, look at the comment directly above yours
This is a classic tune but I’ve always thought that it was a march. Mind you the melody was hijacked by Longford singer, Larry Cunningham and converted into a 3/4 waltze for his mega hit, "Lovely Leitrim" back in the sixties.
I’m puzzled by Conroy’s reference to O’Kane’s March which is a totally different tune. O’Kane’s is also a great march but is a three parter in the keys of "D", "G" and "A".
Rise up & Follow Charlie
I think most ordinary people in Ireland of a certain age would be better recognise this as the theme tune used by Charlie Haughey and his Fianna Fail party as a TV advertising jingle : Rise up & Follow Charlie!
Rise up me arse.. whilst he was busy lecturing us on financial rectitude and tightening our belts … turns out he was busy getting backhanders from his business buddies and living the life of a Gaelic Lord a la The King of Tara!!!
March or reel?
Davy Spillane has included this tune in his uilleann pipes tutor book and says its a march and plays it as such. Amen.
Nobody posting above has said it is a reel. Read the first 5 words at the top of the page after the heading "Additional Information". This website does not have the tune category "Marches", because they can be in varying time signatures.
Also, just because one highly-respected traditional musician makes a statement about a tune, that does not necessarily make it a fact.
Version in Clinton’s Gems of Ireland (no. 43) as "Gramachree". Notated at twice the speed of the "Harp That Once" version, but marked "Slow" as the tempo marking, so not intended to be a reel, and the march time would fit. A weirdly short version here, although if it was actually meant to be sixteen bars, not eight, that would make more sense.
If you are a member of The Session, log in to add a comment.
If you aren’t a member of The Session yet, you can sign up now. Membership is free, and it only takes a moment to sign up.