The Sweets Of May jig

Also known as Aoibhneas Na Bealtaine.

There is 1 recording of this tune.

The Sweets Of May appears in 1 other tune collection.

The Sweets Of May has been added to 8 tune sets.

The Sweets Of May has been added to 64 tunebooks.

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Six settings

X: 1
T: The Sweets Of May
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:d2 c|B2 G AFD|G3 G2 A|B2 G GAB|c3 d2 c|
|:F2 G|A2 A A2 G|E2 F G3|ABA c2 d|e2 d c2 B|
ABA AB/A/G|E2 F G3|A2 A BAG|A3:|
|:AA/B/c|d3 d3|D3 D3|c3 c3|D3 DEF|
G2 D G2 A|B2 G B2 c|d2 d DEF|G3:|
X: 2
T: The Sweets Of May
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:d2 c|BAG AGF|G2 G G2 A|BcB GAB|c3 d2 c|
BAG AGF|G2 G G2 A|BdB cAF|G3:|
|:G2 A|ABA A2 G|E2 F G3|ABA c2 d|e2 d c2 B|
ABA A2 G|E2 F G3|A2 A BAG|A3:|
ABc|d3 d3|D3 D3|c3 c3|D3 D3|
G2 D G2 A|B2 G B2 c|ded cBA|G3 GBc|
ded dBG|D3 D3|cdc cAF|D3 DEF|
G2 D G2 A|B2 G B2 c|ded cBA|G3||
X: 3
T: The Sweets Of May
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:d2 c|B2 G A2 D|G2 G Gdc|BdB GAB|cBc Adc|
B2 G ADD|GAG G2 A|B2 B cAF|G3:|
|:G2 A|ABA A2 G|E2 F G3|ABA c2 d|e2 d c2 B|
A2 A A2 G|E2 F GFG|A2 A BAG|A3:|
A2 c|d3 d^cd|D3 D^CD|c3 cBc|D3 DED|
G3 G2 A|B3 B2 c|d2 d DEF|G3 G2 ^c|
d2 d dBG|D3 D^CD|c2 c cAF|D2 D DEF|
GDG G2 A|BGB B2 c|d^cd =cAF|G3||
X: 4
T: The Sweets Of May
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
d2c|:BcB ABA|G2G G2A|B2B GAB|c3 d2c|
BcB ABA|G2G G2B|d2d cBA|G3 G3:|
|:A2A A2G|E2F G3|A2A c2d|e2d c2B|
A2A A2G|E2F G3|A2A c2B|A3 A3:|
|:d3 d3|D3 D3|c3 c3|D3 DEF|
G2G G2A|B2B B2c|ded cBA|1 G3 G3:|2 G3||
X: 5
T: The Sweets Of May
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
a|:f2 d ecA|ded d2 e|f2 d def|gfg a2 g|
fed ecA|ded dag|fed ecA|1 d3 d2 a:|2 d3 d2||
|:^d|efe e2 d|B2 c d2 ^d|efe e2 g|b2 a g2 f|
efe e2 d|B2 c d2 ^d|eee fed|efe e2:|
|:g|a3 a^ga|A3 A2 f|g3 gfg|A2 A A/F/G/A/B/c/|
d2 A d2 e|f2 d f2 g|aAA ABc|1 ded d2:|2 ded dag||
X: 6
T: The Sweets Of May
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:a/g/|f2 d ecA|ded d2 a/g/|f2 d def|g3 g2 a/g/|
f2 d ecA|ded d2 a/g/|f2 d ecA|(d3 d2):|
|:A|efe e2 d|B3 c2 d|efe g2 a|b2 a g2 f|
efe e2 d|B3 c2 d|efe f2 d|(e3 e2):|
|:f/g/|a3 afa|A3 A3|g3 gfg|A3 A3|
d2 A d2 e|f2 d f2 g|a2 A ABc|(d3 d3):|

Twenty-four comments

"The Sweets of May" ~ before shouts of ‘duplication’

There are two distinct tunes used for this dance, one of the ‘official’ 30 ceili dances, and yes, one of them is already here. Versions of this one can also be found in the ‘Comments’ for that one, but they this transcription and that one are distinct entities in and of themselves, even if the key signatures agree. The other "Sweets of May" is the lesser known, generally, and was collected from the Armagh fiddler Hugh Savage, and was the tune of choice in the area where the dance was collected, by Nan Quinn of Newry, for the ‘official’ collection, where the dots for that tune were also given in the publications.

Here’s the ‘other’ melody used for this dance:

"The Sweets Of May"
Key signature: G Major
Submitted on August 29th 2003 by lazyhound.

"The Sweets of May" ~ another trick used by the ceili bands

In some recordings of this melody for the dance they would mix in other jigs, followed by a repeat of the third part as given here, for example ~

Trip to the Cottage ~ AABBCC
Another 32 bar jig ~ AABB
Trip to the Cottage ~ CC
Another 32 bar jig ~ AABB
Trip to the Cottage ~ CC
Another 32 bar jig ~ AABB
Trip to the Cottage ~ CC

~ or finishing back with ~
Trip to the Cottage ~ AABBCC

"The Sweets of May" ~ another transcript, courtesy of Zina Lee

X: 2
T: Sweets Of May, The
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
R: jig
K: G Major
|: d2 c |\
BAG AGF | G2 G G2 A | BcB GAB | c3 d2 c |
BAG AGF | G2 G G2 A | BdB cAF | G3 :|
|: G2 A |\
ABA A2 G | E2 F G3 | ABA c2 d | e2 d c2 B |
ABA A2 G | E2 F G3 | A2 A BAG | A3 :|
ABc |
d3 d3 | D3 D3 | c3 c3 | D3 D3 |
G2 D G2 A | B2 G B2 c | ded cBA | G3 GBc |
ded dBG | D3 D3 | cdc cAF | D3 DEF |
G2 D G2 A | B2 G B2 c | ded cBA | G3 |]

# Posted on September 12th 2003 by Zina Lee

ABc |\

~ adding the back slash (\) ~ a correction for the lead-in of the 3rd part, for the sake of software…

"The Sweets of May" ~ Hugh Savage’s longer take ~ 56 bars

If you go to the other melody you’ll find in its ‘Comments’ a transcription from Hugh Savage’s fiddling, County Armagh, the person that version was collected from…

"The Sweets Of May"

"The Sweets of May" ~ ‘officially’ 48 bars

You’ll also find ‘adjusted’ transcriptions to fit the current ‘official’ version of the dance, which is 48 bars in length…

Differences ~ this take is AABBCC, the other melody is AABCDD

That’s as it is ‘officially’, a 48 bar dance…

AABBCDD ~ 56 bars ~the Hugh Savage way…

Hugh Savage and others, however, used to play it with 4-parts and with those repeats…

Hugh was a dance musician and a dancer, with talent in the family, so I suspect he had it right and that the Coimisiun left out part of the original body as they made it ‘official’. I might have that missing bit somewhere, but, as said before, there has been a serious case of fried disk here and I am without most of my hardcopies… I hope I manage to find it… 😏

I do know that the Coimisiun, and Nan, chose to ignore a large body of dances that they felt were too simplistic, or too obviously ‘English’ or ‘European’ or as more usually refered to as ‘Foreign’, with a sneer… Like some of the folks in the ‘set dance’ madness, the flu of ‘revival’, they were not shy at making ‘adjustments’ ~ dressing things up…including being loose with the truth, fond of mythology and fiction…

This is how David Oliver taught it at Music Learning Live 2008 at the sage a couple of weeks ago:
d2c |: BcB ABA | G2G G2A | B2B GAB | c3 d2c |
BcB ABA |G2G G2B | d2d cBA | G3 G3 :|
|: A2A A2G | E2F G3 | A2A c2d | e2d c2B |
A2A A2G | E2F G3 | A2A c2B | A3 A3 :|
|: d3 d3 | D3 D3 | c3 c3 | D3 DEF |
G2G G2A | B2B B2c | ded cBA | [1G3 G3 :| [2G3|]

The usual mix, if mixed ~ other ‘single jigs’, as this is…

Thanks DonaldK ~ is this the festival you’ve mentioned, here in Britain? ~

Music Learning Live 2008:
The National Festival of Music Education

Tell us more?

Music Learning Live

Yes, of course I meant to say it was at the Sage (Newcastle).
Scottish Borders Council had paid for twelve places on the Friday (the event runs Thursday to Saturday) and had trouble finding enough bodies within their employ, so cast further afield to some other music groups working in the community (hence my invite).
The event is aimed primarily at school teachers but there were plenty of others like me who did not have music degrees.
The workshops I attended were very inclusive, non-dot, everyone-can-do-something affairs.
David Oliver was doing workshops on school ceilidh bands and was very much for teaching by ear rather than dots. He had an interesting handout (at the end) showing how a tune (Salmon Tails Up The Water) would be written in dots and how it might actually be played for dancing (much more complicated to read).
Also good was Tom (or was it Phil) Bancroft’s demonstration of their ABC method. That’s not like we post tunes here but Apple Banana Carrot, which works on musical creativity and improvising for "non-musical" people.
And watching the blizzard from inside the glass armadillo of the sage was quite something.
Could have done without Tony Howell’s keynote address, though. Far too many buzz phrases and acronyms for me to follow. He”ll be good in Government.

Sounds positive on the whole, except for the small numbers.

Music in Britain, in the schools, used to be an example to strive for, admired worldwide. My brother-in-law was very active there. But ~ it has declined drastically over years… Something similar in decline has happened to community education. Budget cutting, the decision was made that if it wasn’t directly tied to some kind of certification and job potential it was to be axed. This was a great loss. I would personally call it ‘stupid’, ‘ignorant’. In that mix or the arts and physical activities you’d also find music and dance… I have this gut feeling that the ‘losses’, monetarily, are greater because of those cuts than if they had just continued to support those constructive and social activities, needed in the countryside and the city… 🙁

It was very positive, basically all the presenters were inspiring teachers. Not sure what the "small numbers" is a reference to. There were several hundred people there.
My experience of music in schools is pretty depressing (I used to work in schools teaching Maths). Music generally was cthe subject that "non-musical" kids hated most. You sat at a keyboard wearing headphones so only you and the teacher (if he/she wanted to) could hear what you were playing. It wasn’t exactly making music together. But that’s the effect of certification and "quality assurance".
What I saw at Newcastle could involve everyone making and composing music together.

"Not sure what the "small numbers" is a reference to."

~ Sorry Donald, I must have misunderstood. I thought you’d said they had trouble getting people for the workshops…

"What I saw at Newcastle could involve everyone making and composing music together."

~ That is where I’d love to see it go, reclaim some ground for music and doing it collectively. It seems the government is now rolling out a new thing ~ hours of ‘culture’ ~ including music lessons… I will always live in hope. Music will persist whatever neglect is present… That is part of its magic…
(This should be in ‘discussions’. 😉 )

Trip to the cottage third part?

ceolachan, what is the reference to trip to the cottage? I have only ever seen and can find here only two parts for it. Is there a third somewhere?

4 parts!!!! = AABBCDD ~ 56 bars ~ Hugh Savage, Armagh fiddler…

Yes justjim, actually 4 parts ~ the old "Trip to the Cottage", click on the link given above to the other melody… There’s also further information in the comments there.

Great link swiss, I love that kind of melody madness… 😉

I’m guessing you meant 4 justjim, as this transcription has 3 parts… 😏

"The Sweets of May", not "Trip to the Cottage"

The errors of my ways, I see where I messed up above, the arrangement ~

"The Sweets of May" ~ AABBCC
Another 32 bar jig ~ AABB
"The Sweets of May" ~ CC
Another 32 bar jig ~ AABB
"The Sweets of May" ~ CC
Another 32 bar jig ~ AABB
"The Sweets of May" ~ CC
~ or finishing back with ~
"The Sweets of May" ~ AABBCC

We were probably heading out for a holiday at the time, or in the planning stages, and favouring cottages…? 😏 That’ll have to be my excuse…

I have been caught out playing for and teaching both dances…

X: 5 "The Sweets Of May" ~ AABBCC

S: "The Flax In Bloom: Traditional songs, airs & dance music in Ulster" ~ CD: 2 of 3 - various artists
14. ) The McCusker Brothers Ceili Band: The Sweets of May

The McCusker Brothers Ceili Band = nine brothers from Kilcreevy, County Armagh
John, Vincent & Brendan - fiddles
Francis/Francie - *banjolin = mandolin-banjo, string bass, & fiddle
Kevin - *piccolo, & sax
Benignus - button accordion
Thomas/Tommy - piano accordion
Bernard/Barney - piano
Malachy - drums

This recording was made at their mother’s house, Kilcreevy, County Armagh, on the 19th of August, 1953 by Peter Kennedy. These recordings were first released and sold by Peter Kennedy as a cassette, and then later on CD, and are now archived at the National Library in London:

"The Nine McCusker Brothers & Hugh Savage: The Princess Royal: Dance Music From South Armagh"
17. ) The Sweets of May
20. ) The Three Tunes: Haste To The Wedding / Leslie’s / The German Beau // The Sweets Of May

The Sweets Of May, X:6

Only a wee bit different from the other settings but the one I learnt first. A lovely tune to
remember to play in May.