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Does anyone know the key for the tune First of May? I have a recording of James Bryan playing it and it seems to be in A flat minor. Is it really an A tune or G tune?
James Bryan wrote that one, and he played it cross tuned in G....GDGD.....damn fine tune- sort of a more modal red-haired boy variant. Hope thats a help
Yeah, that's a big help. I have to keep from playing Red Haried Boy when I play the first few notes.
GDGD is like the fiddle tuning AEAE (so it's sort of an A tune). I went ahead an learned it in A because I could hear that tunings double stops in there. However, I play an octave mandolin tuned to GDGD, so there you go! Thanks.
I first learned it off of Granger's Fiddle Tunes For Guitar, in Am, but I've come across versions that have kind of undefined or changing third, like Kitchen Girl does. According to Fiddler's Companion, the tune is quite old, it appears in both Ryan's(1905) and O'Neill's(1850).
There's another Irish song called "Colcannon" which is pretty much the same as First of May.