Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Ar Eirinn ... (For Ireland, I Won't Say Her Name)" -- a slow air for the Clayville-Prairieland sessions

Our regular "third Thursday" session of the Clayville-Prairieland Academy of Music is from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, in the narthex (lobby) at Peace Lutheran Church, 2800 West Jefferson, in Springfield.

Ar Eirinn Ní Neosfainn Cé hÍ - Liam Clancy

By request. It's a simple melody and we can pick it up easily. (In fact, we just about had it when we were playing it by ear the other day at Clayville.) Since it's a slow air, it's been played in just about every key imaginable -- including D. Let's us play it in D, since we've got dulcimer tab in D, but let's be careful we're all in the same key. A couple of aids:

Martin Dardis, who maintains the Irish Songs website, has this to say about it:

An Irish folk / love Irish song. The tin whistle sheet music notes are included.
I only ever heard The Wolfe Tones sing this beautiful love song,To hear Tommy Byrne of the Tones sing it would send a shiver down your spine. What a singer he is,and such beautiful harmonies from The Wolfe Tones. The song was written by John Barry Oge from County Kerry. I asked Brian Warfield from The Wolfe Tones where he got the song from and he said he got it when it was written in Gaelic and translated it to English. The tin whistle notes are included with basic letter notes along with a video to help you on your way to learning the song.

HOWEVER: More confusion possible here, if we're not careful, about keys. Dardis gives the chords above in D. So far, so good. But the Wolfe Tones video he embeds is in F, and he also gives the chords in F for those who wish to sing along. Then on top of that, for reasons I might understand if I played the tin whistle, he gives the melody in standard notation and whistle tab in the key of G. Once we learn the melody in D, we can transpose it to G. Or to any key we choose. But we need to play it in one key at a time!

Lots of good information on the Mudcat Cafe thread at Including this -- Mary O'Hara in Song for Ireland, says,

"The melody of this song has travelled far. Clondillon relates hearing a Roumanian folk singer sing the tune believing it to be a Roumanian folksong. Perhaps some soldier of fortune belonging to the Wild Geese had the gift of song! " [bracketed material omitted]

"Seán óg [ó Tuama ?] explained the story to me like this: a young man fell secretly in love with a girl. Too poor to support her and too shy to propose, he went abroad to seek his fortune. However, when he returned to claim his beloved, he was shattered to find her married to his brother. Still in love, he composed this song to her but, for obvious reasons, refused to reveal her name."

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