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 Post subject: Attribution to old tunes
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:29 am 
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Hi All,

I was looking through and old collection of tunes, 2000 medodies, pub J Parry, 1843, when I came across two tunes I knew, but with attributed composer names. So I thought I would share them with you.

The Fairy Boy

Image

S Lover

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Lover

Drops of Whiskey

Image

J Parry

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Parry_(Bardd_Alaw)

We know all tunes were written by someone...….

Dave

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:04 am 
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Maybe, but often attribution in old collections meant something different - it could have been an arrangement, it could have just been for words, or it could have been completely erroneous.

At any rate, I always try to research if tunes are found in older collections, which usually invalidates the attribution, or if other research has already been done to help understand the attribution.

In these cases, it seems like Lover set a song to an older air, so the attribution is only partially correct:
https://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Leanbh_S%C3%AD_(2)_(An)
No sources cited, but hopefully enough information is included there to find citations or track down more info. If it turns out that there are not any older versions, it's worth adding that!

For the second tune, as they say, more research is needed. The date of Mackie's collection is vague (early 19thC), but it might predate your collection. It doesn't invalidate Perry as a composer (or arranger/song setter), but I'd still treat the attribution warily.
https://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Drops_of_Whisky_(3)

Edited to add that not all tunes have a single composer, and often tunes develop over years (or decades). Take Johnny Cope: https://rushymountain.com/2017/10/06/johnny-cope/ We know the composer of the original song - it's pretty agreed that he set the words to an older air, but even if he wrote the melody, too, we can't really credit him as the composer of the various versions played today because they're so vastly different.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:09 pm 
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A lot of these tunes seem to have made their way into, or out of, late 18th / early 19th century light operetta - very much Samuel Lover's milieu, and very popular in Dublin at the time.

Seems fitting given that in their early days in the Courtney / O'Farrell era the uilleann pipes were very much at home on the stage - and later on in America too.


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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2019 11:26 am 
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NicoMoreno wrote:
Maybe, but often attribution in old collections meant something different - it could have been an arrangement, it could have just been for words, or it could have been completely erroneous.

At any rate, I always try to research if tunes are found in older collections, which usually invalidates the attribution, or if other research has already been done to help understand the attribution.

In these cases, it seems like Lover set a song to an older air, so the attribution is only partially correct:
https://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Leanbh_S%C3%AD_(2)_(An)
No sources cited, but hopefully enough information is included there to find citations or track down more info. If it turns out that there are not any older versions, it's worth adding that!

For the second tune, as they say, more research is needed. The date of Mackie's collection is vague (early 19thC), but it might predate your collection. It doesn't invalidate Perry as a composer (or arranger/song setter), but I'd still treat the attribution warily.
https://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Drops_of_Whisky_(3)

Edited to add that not all tunes have a single composer, and often tunes develop over years (or decades). Take Johnny Cope: https://rushymountain.com/2017/10/06/johnny-cope/ We know the composer of the original song - it's pretty agreed that he set the words to an older air, but even if he wrote the melody, too, we can't really credit him as the composer of the various versions played today because they're so vastly different.


The collection is actually 1841, sorry about the added 2 years in the OP. However, it contains tunes dating back to 1730's with attributions, so this is all on the fence at present, as you suggest. One would need to go through all Parry's published works to locate the tune.....and date.

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2019 11:26 am 
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NicoMoreno wrote:
Maybe, but often attribution in old collections meant something different - it could have been an arrangement, it could have just been for words, or it could have been completely erroneous.

At any rate, I always try to research if tunes are found in older collections, which usually invalidates the attribution, or if other research has already been done to help understand the attribution.

In these cases, it seems like Lover set a song to an older air, so the attribution is only partially correct:
https://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Leanbh_S%C3%AD_(2)_(An)
No sources cited, but hopefully enough information is included there to find citations or track down more info. If it turns out that there are not any older versions, it's worth adding that!

For the second tune, as they say, more research is needed. The date of Mackie's collection is vague (early 19thC), but it might predate your collection. It doesn't invalidate Perry as a composer (or arranger/song setter), but I'd still treat the attribution warily.
https://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Drops_of_Whisky_(3)

Edited to add that not all tunes have a single composer, and often tunes develop over years (or decades). Take Johnny Cope: https://rushymountain.com/2017/10/06/johnny-cope/ We know the composer of the original song - it's pretty agreed that he set the words to an older air, but even if he wrote the melody, too, we can't really credit him as the composer of the various versions played today because they're so vastly different.


The collection is actually 1841, sorry about the added 2 years in the OP. However, it contains tunes dating back to 1730's with attributions, so this is all on the fence at present, as you suggest. One would need to go through all Parry's published works to locate the tune.....and date.

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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2019 12:03 am 
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Also, attributions in old collections were often to do with the source of the tune, rather than its composer.

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