Week #310 ~ Mylecharaine's March

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is Mylecharaine's March.

    Here's a link to abc and notation on thesession.org

    I found this in the discussions on this tune on thesession.org

    Mylecharaine’s has been recognised as the most popular/well-known Manx melody, and was extremely popular in the Victorian period. There are more versions that have been collected of this tune than any other.

    One role that fiddlers on the Isle of Man were expect to undertake during the Christmas period was to play for the stick dance that ‘Mylecharaine’s March’ was used to accompany. This was traditionally danced on January 6th by a group of men. As part of this dance, the dancers ‘cut off’ the fiddlers head. Here’s a description of what happened next:

    ‘the Fiddler lays his head in some one of the wenches’ laps, and a third person asks who such a maid or such a maid shall marry, naming the girls then present one after another, to which he answers according to his own whim, or agreeable to the intimacies he has taken notice of during this time of merriment… This they call Cutting off the Fiddler’s Head, for after this, he is dead for the whole year.’ (Waldron, 1731: 98-99).

    Here's another site with standard notation

    I found these two videos that are fiddle tutorials for this tune.

    It's also spelled Mylecharane's March

  2. jonny250
    here are the dots and chords in case it helps: http://www.ladies-choice.net/tunes/M...rch-chords.pdf
  3. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    What a cool tune, I'm not sure I've got all the notes right but I gave it a shot anyway.

  4. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Three cheers to that David. Three Barrule musicians molten into one. Three musical elements (melody, chords and rhythm) seamlessly integrated into excellence.
  5. jonny250
    Brilliant David
  6. woodenfingers
    David - after giving this a go myself I am even more impressed with your ability to pull off these wonderful instrumental extravaganzas. The guitar and organ backing really add a lot to the tune. Very well done!! I tried some guitar backing and couldn't get happy with it. I loved Barrule's version and tried the bouzouki guy's rhythm but just couldn't keep it together throughout the tune. Finally just settled for trying to get the dotted notes down but even there it seems I just resort to running eighth notes instead. Oh, well. I need more practice.

  7. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Very nice, David!

    Here is my version, played as a trio of two mandolins and tenor guitar. I'm using a harmony/counter melody for the second mandolin from this string quartet arrangement:


    I meant to play the viola and cello parts, too, but found the cello part fingering far too difficult at that speed on mandocello. So, I've used a fairly simple tenor guitar rhythm instead.

    1921 Gibson Ajr mandolin
    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin
    Ozark tenor guitar

    This tune is very topical by the way -- it is also the National Anthem of the Isle Of Man and was in the news last week because it was played by mistake instead of the anthem of El Salvador at a recent El Salvador-Argentina football match (played for some reason in Maryland): Link. El Salvador has past history of taking such slights rather seriously, being the only country to have gone to war over a football match..

  8. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Superb work by the Hansen band, as always. Thanks for letting me play along, David
    Also great work by the Jonas string band, plus great pics.
    Woodenfingers, nice clean playing. I went with you and just played the black dots. No band to help me out.

  9. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Well done Bob, Martin and Manfred.
    I am not sure, however, that Mylecharaine is really the Manx anthem - comparing it to the anthem played here reveals some resemblance, but not total identity IMHO. Even wikipedia only speaks of one being an "adaptation" of the other. In the world of Celtic melodies, such resemblance is often found across hundreds of different tunes which are still considered different, despite the resemblance; like in "when you know one Irish tune, you know them both".
  10. woodenfingers
    Martin - you sure have a knack for finding scores. I saw your fiddle fingers find so now I know your secret . No problems with your backup group.
    Manfred - well done. You have your tremolo going nicely there too.
  11. crisscross
    Different versions, but each one nice in its own way.
  12. jonny250
    wow, all really nice and quite differently played.
    Martin i heard about the el salvador football match thing - hilarious, or not...!
    Here is my take:
  13. woodenfingers
    Hey Johnny - you really got into it there - great job! You're a real bouzouki master..
  14. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Jonny your version gave me hope that this might work on OM, after all. I have now started practising.
  15. gortnamona
    great tune and great versions from all
  16. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin

    Forceful playing on the bouzouki there Johnny and well done by everyone else.
    This piece is in 3/4 time with emphasis on the second beat which in my book makes it a mazurka. However it has "March" in the title so I have tried to play it as such with a few double stops.
  17. uhoh-itsmaciek
    First video after lurking for a while. My mandolin's an Eastman MD315 badly in need of new strings =)

    I started taking lessons last summer (after originally starting and giving up almost ten years ago). Really happy to have found this community and looking forward to learning more tunes with you folks--some great renditions here.
  18. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Interesting doublestops there, Maudlin. Fine clean picking Maciek, and welcome to the home of videolics.

    I found this tune very intriguing for its marching quality - despite being 3/4 time, you can actually march to it. Like those Scottish 6/8 marches, it's an incredibly bouncy stride. But getting to the bottom of those triplets, it should be noted as 9/8, and thus is really a slip jig; I'll try pairing it with one later on, but for now this is my rendition (featuring the only ffcp I can do on the OM - 4455):

    What makes this tune utterly weird to me is its asymmetric structure: the B part is shorter than the A part (12 measures vs 16 measures)
  19. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Great stuff there, everybody!

    Bertram: I agree this tune is really in 9/8 -- like in many dance tunes, the notation with dotted eighths/sixteenths is misleading and each pair should really be written as a triplet. The first note is twice as long as the second, not three times as long.

  20. jonny250
    nicely played Bertram! oh and btw i like your Racing seat
    the slip jig thing is interesting to me - i always struggle with them - i.e. the butterfly.
    Thanks for the thoughts on 9/8 vs 3/4 interesting stuff.
  21. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Thanks Martin and Jonny. That seat seems to have improved my playing since I have it, but I can't tell how; it must be orthomagic.
  22. Gelsenbury
    I had learnt this tune while it was song of the week, honest!

    In the meantime, I have also acquired a cheap octave mandola to strum a few chords and record backing tracks for myself. So here is my very first attempt at multi-track recording. It's really quite difficult to get the speed right, hence the slower than usual delivery.

    Are there many 3/4 marches?

  23. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Nicely done, especially for a first go at multi tracking. I use a click track aka metronome to get the rhythm right and then add my mandos to the click track to sync it up.
  24. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    What David said. The click track is a feature of most (if not all) multitrack recording applications and I cling to that like a vertigo-stricken tourist to the reelings of a glass elevator.
  25. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    ... and in a Schalke 04 top, not less!

    "Are there many 3/4 marches?"

    We also play this tune with our group, and one of my colleagues says it's because they have three legs on the Isle of Man.

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