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Rambling Boy

The past 25 or so tunes I have written up here have mostly had some kind of attribution to the harper and singer, Charles Byrne. Checking my Tune List Spreadsheet, I think Rambling Boy is the last Byrne-attributed tune that I have not yet written up, and so this post marks the end of this Byrne series. I think Byrne is very interesting, but I don’t know how useful he is for my Harp Transcriptions project, since I think he may have been mainly singing for Bunting, not playing the harp so much.

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B’fhearr Liom Ná Éire

Probably in 1792, Edward Bunting made a very clear live transcription notation of B’fhearr Liom Ná Éire into one of his collecting pamphlets. He made this live transcription from a tradition-bearer onto Queen’s University Belfast, Special Collections, MS4.29 p.39/37/46/f18r, on the facing page opposite Diarmaid Ó Dúda.

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Spéic Seóigheach

Some time in the 1790s, Edward Bunting wrote the tune of Spéic Seóigheach onto a page of his collecting pamphlets, which now form the Damn your Body section of his bound collecting notebooks. Spéic Seóigheach is on Queen’s University Belfast, Special Collections, MS4.29 p.192/190/199/f94v and continues on to the top of p.193/191/200/f95r. In this post we will look at Bunting’s notation of the tune of Spéic Seóigheach on this page, and we will try and relate it to other information that will help us understand what this notation represents.

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A previously unpublished Carolan tune: Kitty Magennis

After I finished working on the tune and story of Eleanor Plunkett, I picked up on a reference from Alasdair Codona’s writings. Alasdair had pointed out that tune no.94 titled “Kitty Magennis” in Donal O’Sullivan’ Carolan the Life Times and Music of an Irish Harper (1958) was actually another version of the tune of Eleanor Plunkett. I added a comment to my Eleanor Plunkett blog post to include a facsimile of O’Sullivan’s source and a typeset and mp3 version.

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A rún, fan agam is fuirigh go ló, ⁊ Bruach na coille craobhaí

On page 194 of his “Damn your Body” bundle of live transcription pages, Edward Bunting wrote live sketches of two song airs, perhaps from the singing of harper and tradition-bearer Charles Byrne in the 1790s. Because I think these are transcribed from songs and not from harp performances, I am going to look at both quickly so we can move on.

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Maidin bhog aoibhinn

During the 1790s, Edward Bunting made four different live transcriptions of the tune of Maidin bhog aoibhinn. They are in different sections of QUB SC MS4.29, and were transcribed from four different tradition-bearers. Bunting published a kind of composite or synthetic version of the tune in his Ancient Music of Ireland (1840). In this post we are going to look at the four different live transcriptions, and try to say something useful about each of them.

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Cáiteach róin

Some time in the 1790s, Edward Bunting made two different transcription notations of the tune of A cháiteach róin onto the same page in his “Damn your Body” collecting pamphlet. He later claims both were transcribed from the singer and harper Charles Byrne.

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Bradóg

We have two independent live transcription notations of this tune in Edward Bunting’s papers. In this post we will look at both of them in turn, and then we will discuss the likely provenance of each. We will also briefly consider other versions of the tune.

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