2020-03 Tune of the Month - St. Patrick's Day

  1. HonketyHank
    How about that? Saint Patrick's Day is in March. What better selection could we have for the tune of the month?

    The Song of the Week group's thread on this tune (here: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/g...cussionid=1431) has fewer than usual videos that can still be viewed, but they do allow us to hear several interpretations. But I am embedding a instructional fiddle version that I found at thesession.org because I am greatly intrigued by the unusual camera angle showing the fingering so clearly and also because the tune is played up to speed and then at about half speed. As you know, the fiddle and the mandolin are tuned the same, so it may well be good instruction for us, too.


    The Fiddler's Companion at ibiblio.org has a huge entry for this tune under "St. Patrick's Day (In the Morning)". They trace the tune back to its use as a march "played by the pipers of the Irish Brigade attached to the French forces which helped turn the tide of battle against the English troops at the battle of Fontenoy on May 11, 1745." This undoubtedly means that the tune existed well before that date. [Fontenoy is in Belgium, or what was then known as Austrian Netherlands or Flanders. I note this because it appears to be the region where Colonel John Irwin from last month's tune of the month served (on the English side) and earned his land grant in Ireland.]

    The tune is in 6/8 time and has been forced into service as a jig in many versions. But the problem is that it has a strange B part. A jig has an 8 bar A part, repeated once, followed by an 8 bar B part repeated once - AABB. And there are versions of Saint Patricks Day with exactly that structure, mostly found in North America. But most versions have the standard 8 bars for an A part, repeat once or maybe even twice, followed by a B part that is 10 bars, 14 bars, or 16 bars long, maybe or maybe not repeated. And musicians often play it with an AAAB structure, typical of a set dance. Dancers who know how to dance a jig end up mystified as to where it is going. Musicians tend to lose their place.

    The most logical conclusion appears to be that this tune is a set dance in 6/8, which is a dance that often uses a dance routine that is specific to that particular tune. In this case, if you don't know the set dance, you can chop off part of the B part and dance a jig to it. Or you can improvise your own routine and make the B part as long as you want but with no repeat. And if you just like the tune, you can use it as a march. That's what the Argentine Navy does, to this day.

    Here are three versions in ABC format from ibiblio.org/fiddlers/ST..htm (yes, there are two consecutive periods in that URL). X1 is a standard jig. X2 has a 14 measure B part. X3 has a 10 measure B part.

    T:St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning
    |:def g2g|fed edB|def gag|fed e3|def g2g|fed edB|def gag|fed efg:|

    T:St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning
    K:G Major
    GAG GAB|ded dBG|AGA BGD|E2F G2:|
    B|def gag|fed edB|def gag|fed e2d|
    def gag|fed efg|dBG GAB|ded dBG|AGA BGD|
    EFE E2D|GAG GBd|gfe dBG|AGA BGD|E2F G2:|

    T:St. Patrick’s Day in the Morn
    S:William Vickers’ music manuscript collection (Northumberland, 1770)
    B|G2G GAB|ded dBG|BAB BGE|EFE E2D|GAG GAB|ded dBG|
    BAB BGE|E3 G3::def g2e|f2d e2c|def g2e|f2d e3|
    def g2e|f2d efg|GAG GAB|dbd dBG|AGA BGE|E3 G3:|
  2. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin

    This is the third version with 10 bars in the B part. It turns out to fall very nicely in the mandola range.
  3. HonketyHank
    Wow, Maudlin, that was quite nice. Those couple of "extra" bars in the B part trip me up. But the month is young. :-)
  4. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Very nice, Maudlin!

    I spent a couple of enjoyable hours with this tune Wednesday, but couldn't wrap my head fully around the B part yet. I'm using one of the 10 bar B part versions as well, the one from here: http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/se...tricks_day.htm

    Its probably the same as the one in ABC, which I don't read and haven't converted.
  5. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    I got the B part today, and decided to record it right away, warts and all, because I may not take the time to polish this up later this month. Here's my take.


  6. HonketyHank
    Nice job, Mark! Very smooth. I am wondering what pick you are using in the video. You are getting a nice, smooth attack that I like. I am guessing it might be more rounded than my standard large triangle. Or maybe you get that sound by angling your pick a little bit?
  7. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    No, Henry; in fact, contrary to (possibly) the majority of pro mandolin players, I don't care at all for rounded picks. The roundest tip I use is the standard tip that comes on a Wegen. The pick I used here is a bit pointier than that. Its a blue JT's Pix pick.

    The smooth attack you refer to is due to a more relaxed and softer pick stroke. I practice playing more softly because I think it can help my tone and offer a better control of the dynamic range. I think when I started out and was playing harder, it just caused tension and loss of dynamic control. I think I can get decent volume with a softer approach, and always have room to increase force if need be.

    When actually playing with others, it's hard to do that, but when playing alone or practicing, I think about stuff like that.

  8. HonketyHank
    I find it hard to relax when I am trying to force myself to relax. So, maybe I need to look into Yoga or TM or something like that ...

    Really, I think I know what you are getting at. I find it easier to use a relaxed picking motion once I have really learned the tune well enough to quit thinking about what note comes next. Sometimes I don't get to that stage. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I get to playing like that (I think of it as being "in the zone") and then all of a sudden I go "yikes, where am I and how did I get here?" and then the wheels fall off.
  9. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    I have had to keep on playing this tune, maybe because of the month, mostly because I kept thinking about my grandmother, Lela Mae (McCart) Gunter. So I've been practicing this and trying to add some chords into it. So here's my latest stab at it. I can't do the tune (or my Irish ancestors) justice, but hey I'm just a newbie. I included photos of my grandmother as well as my great grandfather McCart and his wife, and other kids of that Appalachian family. They were settled in Tennessee, and ... enough about my family, I could bore you to tears, but I added old photos between takes of this tune.


  10. HonketyHank
    I see you have a Henry Alexander in the family. Maybe we're related - I'm the Henry, my brother is an Alexander.

    I am still impressed by how you smooth out the crooked part. I am at the stage of wondering whether this tune has two extra measures or is two measures short. Undoubtedly the answer is "neither" because otherwise it wouldn't be this tune, right?

    Tuesday is St Patrick's Day. Tomorrow is Pi Day. Two major holidays in March. I'm going to sneak out to the grocery store and try to get me a corned beef to cook next week. Probably ought to do it tonight. Maybe Bev can make a pie tomorrow.
  11. HonketyHank
    Outa potatoes. A few cabbages left. But they did have a big pile of corned beefs. I guess corned beef isn't high on the list of emergency supplies.
  12. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    All you really need is toilet paper.
  13. Swimbob
    Hank, let me know when you have that Transcendental Mandolining figured out. I'd like you to be my guru.
  14. bbcee
    Beautifully meditative versions, Mark. I've listened to them several times.
  15. mtaylor20
    Hi, everyone. I joined the group today so I thought I would give St.Patrick's Day a try. I hope I'm not too late to post it in the next day or so but I have one question.
    Do I have to upload my video to YouTube before attaching it to my post?

    Katy, Texas
  16. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    You'll have to upload it to YouTube or Vimeo or Facebook or Instagram ... or some other streaming service. The cafe here doesn't host videos.

    Welcome to the newbies group!
  17. HonketyHank
    No deadlines, no late fees, no funny looks for doing a three year old tune of the month. Heck, some of us even revolt and submit non-Tunes-of-the-month. Tunes are always welcome whenever they arrive. And new Newbies are welcome, too. Good to have you with us.
  18. mtaylor20
    Thanks for the welcome, gentlemen.
    I'll, no doubt, be in touch later.

    Katy, Texas
  19. mtaylor20
    Well, I'm glad to say that I made my first post today of St. Patrick's Day in the Morning. It was fun doing it and although I didn't commit the tune to memory I managed to muddle through it reading the music. I played it on my 1917 Gibson A5. It currently doesn't have a pick guard as it warped so badly I had to remove it. Still looking for a replacement but they seem to be hard to come by.
  20. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    I just watched it in the SAW group, great job. Please consider posting it in this thread as well, because not all Newbies are members of the SAW group and they don't all check the posts over there.

    Thanks for jumping into the water, you're a champ!
  21. HonketyHank
    Here is mtaylor20's post from the SAW group:

    Good job there, mtaylor20. Nice Gibson sound, too. I hope you don't mind me posting here.
  22. HonketyHank
    I got a one-verse version done on time!

    I am using the Fiddlers' Companion version with a 14 bar B part. I have to say that the B part still crosses me up if I am not paying attention. I tend to skip a couple of bars at the crooked part, thus ending up with 12 bars. I have to say that the mangled 12 bar B part sounds better to my ear than the 14 bar version. But were I a dancer who learned the steps for 14 bars, I would be pretty upset when the music stopped and I didn't.

  23. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Ya done good Henry

    That sounded very Irish-y and very fiddley with a great cadence. You looked a bit pensive toward the end of the B part as though you were wary of those extra two measures leaping off into space at any moment - and a bit surprised and satisfied that they stayed right under the fingers to the end. Great sound and performance!
  24. HonketyHank
    Thanks, Mark!
  25. bbcee
    Yep, you were really rolling on this one! I was hoping it would go around a time or two more. Good tempo. Now if you can just get a decent-sounding mandolin ...
  26. HonketyHank
    Well, I know where there are a couple or three ...

    Thanks, bbcee.
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