Source: Goodman manuscripts vol.4, p57.1
Included here for its title honouring the 16th century pirate queen of Clew Bay. Although rarely if ever heard today, this variation based tune seems to have been quite popular from at least the early C19 appearing as it does in many tune collections of the period. The Goodman version above is unusual in having four parts and possessing a modal character distinct from other sources although it is quite possible that this is down to an omission of key signature.
While Bunting states that the version below was collected in 1797, the tune does appear earlier elsewhere such as in Cooke’s Selection of 21 Irish Airs (1793) and interestingly in American flute player Henry Beck’s music manuscript copybook (c. 1786, p.52).2
[Bunting version…] Where and from whom procured: Macdonnell, the piper, 1797.3
46. Gɼáine Ṁaol
″The air is probably as old as the heroine whose name it bears […] When played on the pipes, the tune at intervals is made to have a peculiar sound, which has procured it the additional name of “Ma, Ma, Ma.”4
- Hugh & Lisa Shields (eds.), Tunes of the Munster Pipers: Irish Traditional Music from the James Goodman Manuscripts. Volume 2. Dublin: Irish Traditional Music Archive, 2013, p.172
- Edward Bunting, The Ancient Music of Ireland – Arranged for the Piano Forte (vol.3). Hodges and Smith, Dublin, 1840, p36.
- ‘Notices of the more remarkable melodies and pieces of the collection’, in A Dissertation on the Irish Harp and Harpers, including an Account of the Old Melodies of Ireland, p.93 (prefixed to The Ancient Music of Ireland – see above).