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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:13 am 
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I've been teaching myself "I buried my wife and danced on top of her," which title I dislike very much although it's a great tune. O'Neill writes about it in a somewhat confusing way:

"One of Delaney's best jigs was the "Frieze Breeches," which in some form is known all throughout Munster. A strain remembered from my mother's singing of it was added to Delaney's version, making a total of six in our printed setting. A ridiculous, although typical, folksong, called "I Buried My Wife and Danced on Top of Her," used to be sung to this air, which bears a close resemblance to our version of "O'Gallagher's Frolics."

The tune is very similar to versions of "the Frieze Britches" that I've heard but not that similar to the version in O'Neill, but neither is "O'Gallagher's frolics."


I might make up my own name for it.

But O'Neill mentions a song to this air--you can certainly see how the title would scan with the notes in the A part in English. You can certainly see how the tune with those lyrics might be some Irishman's inebriated party piece, and certainly O'Neill would want no part of such undignified fun-having. Now and again I see other tunes that seem to have had lyrics in the past. How common is this? I which came first, the tune or the lyrics? I'm thinking the tune.


Last edited by PB+J on Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:38 am 
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There are tunes that have full blown words to them, Bímís ag Ól 's ag Pógadh na mBan is one example (which, incidentally is played on occasion after 'I buried my wife', Liam O'Flynn had that set, for example. The tune also seamlessly becomes a reel, Sean Reid's Fancy). Taim in Arrears/Moll Roe is another and there are many.

And there are tunes that have a few, more or less, nonsensical lines to them, 'The Hair fell off my coconut, how do like it baldly' is firmly in that camp. They may give a break from the music while keeping the tune going or break the monotony of diddlies for the lilter.

If I had to guess,'I buried my wife' may have been one of the latter.

It is one of my well aired pet peeves that the title has morphed into I buried my wife and danced on her grave, which does not fit the melody of the tune.

But to go back to the question, writers and singers of songs have always tried to fit words to existing, often wellknown, airs, including dance tunes. Paddy Tunney's tour de force 'a Hurricane of Reels' is in that class. Musicians have never been shy about taking a song tune and turning it into a dance tune. I have heard the tune to 'The Bold Thady Quill' played as a jig for the sets. It's a two way street and a chicken/egg situation a lot of the time.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:16 pm 
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A friends father who was from Gurteen Sligo
who was born in the late 1880’s had a rhyme
for every slip jig that he knew.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:38 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
T
It is one of my well aired pet peeves that the title has morphed into I buried my wife and danced on her grave, which does not fit the melody of the tune.



The first name I learned for that tune was I Buried My Wife And Danced On Top Of Her which seems to make more rhythmic sense.

I thought I remembered it recorded by the Bothy Band, but a quick internet search got me to Old Hag You Have Killed Me. It is fun how the brain associates.

The tune An Rogaire Dubh was taught to me as a song and a tune named Dinky's. I don't remember the words right off, but "Dinky is dead", "and" (someone's) "in bed" fit in there somewhere. It is the only tune I learned where the session would play it once through, then all sing it together, then go on and play it a couple more times. I am sure I have it written down somewhere.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:29 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
I've been teaching myself "I buried my wife and danced on top of her," which title I dislike very much although it's a great tune...........I might make up my own name for it.

Let’s not be too hasty. Not all dancing on graves is what it might seem.
Alasdair Mac Colla Chiotaich MacDhòmhnail (Collkitto) was a Scottish mercenary
who was killed at the the battle of battle of Cnoc na nOs in 1657.
His death is memorialized in the slow air Gol na mBan san Ar.
The story tells of his wife not being allowed to caoine at his
funeral expressing her grief instead by dancing a jig at his grave.
The Church Hill Jig (Cnoc an Teampall)is the tune that the
piper Mici Cumba Ó Súilleabháin plays at the end of Gol na mBan san Ar.

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