1.150 Now "Officially"(?) WTTT & Stunting w/"Danny Boy"s

Garrett Wollman wollman@khavrinen.lcs.mit.edu
Sun Nov 2 21:07:57 EST 2003

<<On Sun, 2 Nov 2003 10:15:21 -0800 (PST), tc@chaostheory.com said:

> The lyrics were written in 1910; the melody is older than that, dating
> from sometime in the mid 1800's, and appears to have had other lyrics and
> been known by the name "Londonderry Air" (Or "Aire".)

According to my sources, this tune was first published in 1855 in a
book called /Ancient Music of Ireland/ with neither title nor words.
Several lyricists tried their hands at setting words to the tune, with
``Danny Boy'' being the most commercial.

Julian May writes:
	The original melody in Petrie's collection came from a Miss
	Jane Ross of Limvady int he Northern Irish county of
	Londonderry.  The lady arranged it for the piano herself and
	simply commented to Dr. Petrie that it was ``very old''.
	Unfortunately, later researchers were unable to find any trace
	of its origins, nor were there any Gaelic words to it.  The
	fact that its meter was ``wrong'' for Irish folksong made it
	even more suspect, and some denied that it was a traditional
	melody at all.


	The problem of the atypical meter suggests that Miss Ross
	might have erroneously transcribed the tune in common (4/4)
	time rather than the 3/4 or 6/8 rhythm of the majority of old
	Gaelic songs.  If the rhythm is thus changed, and certain
	prolonged notes shortened, one does indeed get a typical Irish
	ditty of rather appalling banality.

	(Appendix to /The Many-Colored Land/, Boston: Houghton
	Mifflin, 1981, reprinted as /The Many-Coloured Land/, London:
	Pan, 1982.)


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