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Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book

29 Jan 17 - 04:19 PM (#3835549)
Subject: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: AmyLove

From Handy Andy by Samuel Lover:

When Augusta saw the lines she was charmed. She discovered her Furlong to be a poet! That the lines were his there was no doubt—they were found in his room, and of course they must be his, just as partial critics say certain Irish airs must be English, because they are to be found in Queen Elizabeth's music-book.

The "lines" are of course someone else's. I'm wondering if someone here can explain the significance of the Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book remark. Thanks.

And if you'd like to read the "lines" in question (not that they're related to the music-book remark) and/or see the context of the above excerpt:

Handy Andy (page 261)

29 Jan 17 - 04:31 PM (#3835553)
Subject: RE: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: Jack Campin

The reference is probably to "Callino casturame".

29 Jan 17 - 06:38 PM (#3835594)
Subject: RE: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: Steve Gardham

Lots of airs were claimed for the Irish by the likes of Petrie and Bunting and many of these airs were found in Tudor tune books in England. The problem is part of the Irish/Scots/Welsh inferiority complex against their dominant neighbour. The natural partisanship often leads fierce patriots to claim anything found in their country to have originated there. Diligent research often demonstrates the opposite to be true. Lover was such a patriot I fear.

Who's going to be the first to prove my point?

29 Jan 17 - 06:42 PM (#3835597)
Subject: RE: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: AmyLove

I see mudcat has a thread about the piece:


More information:

I'm still not entirely sure why Lover made that remark, though. If you or anyone else here has more information on the subject, please share. Thanks.

29 Jan 17 - 06:45 PM (#3835599)
Subject: RE: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: AmyLove

Note: I posted the above before reading your comments, Steve.

30 Jan 17 - 01:19 AM (#3835632)
Subject: RE: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: Thompson

So the first country to write down music owns it?

30 Jan 17 - 07:33 AM (#3835672)
Subject: RE: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: Jack Campin

In the case of "Callino casturame", there's no doubt where it was first written down and there hasn't been any dispute that it's Irish for a couple of centuries. So you're attacking a strawman.

It sometimes gets more interesting. The earliest copy of "Deil amang the Tailors" I've seen was an 18th century Scottish manuscript that titled it "American Reel". It's always been a very popular tune in America but the Americans all think it's Scottish.

30 Jan 17 - 09:54 AM (#3835694)
Subject: RE: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: Steve Gardham

I think you make the point nicely there, Jack! With any tune it is extremely difficult to attribute it to any one race/country and I generally avoid doing so. Even where a known composer is concerned it often turns out that they have simply adapted an existing tune. Tune and song writers do not always credit their sources. This applies to almost any genre.

Even the first person to try to copyright an existing tune would have difficulties if it is possible to demonstrate that the tune already existed. All they can copyright is their arrangement.

If I was publishing a book of tunes from say England I would make sure I stated the tunes were COLLECTED/RECORDED in England, not that they originated there. This is where Bunting's The Ancient Music of Ireland falls down, and similar books, The airs were collected in Ireland, no problem, but it's quite likely that many did not originate there.

30 Jan 17 - 11:21 PM (#3835834)
Subject: RE: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: AmyLove

Is the Elizabethan Virginal Book the music-book Lover was likely referring to? Here is a book which analyzes this book: An Elizabethan Virginal Book : Being a Critical Essay on the Contents of a Manuscript in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge:

An Elizabethan Virginal Book by Edward Woodall Naylor, 1867-1934

On pages seven and eight it says:

The [musical] connection of England with Ireland is marked by the titles of three pieces in the Fitzwilliam Book:—
(a) The Irish Dumpe, ii. 236. Anon.
(b) The Irish Ho-Hoane (Ochone), i. 87. Anon.
(c) Callino Casturame, ii. 186. Arranged by Byrd.
(Corruption of "Colleen oge asthore.")
The last of these is referred to in Shakespeare, "Henry V." iv. 4, l. 4, where it is spelt "Callino, Castore me!"


The second of these Irish tunes, the Ho-Hoane, is a very first-class example of real pathos, and should be heard. It will be found a true expression of tender sorrow. To me the piece is a wonder, for I believe it to be about 400 years old.
The first, the Irish Dumpe, ii. 236, is a cheerful tune, by no means like the English Dump, which (according to Shakespeare himself in Lucrece, line 1127) was a doleful ditty, hence the "doleful dumps," ...

More information on the subject at "Our Musical Page" in The Celtic Monthly: A Magazine for Highlanders, Volume 4:

Here it is stated that "Irish songs and dance tunes were all the fashion at Court at one period of Elizabeth's reign." And if I understand correctly, it is suggested that "Callino casturame" might have a Scottish rather than Irish origin.

More information:

And in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, Volume 9, the question of why such a fuss is made over the national origin of a particular air is pondered:

31 Jan 17 - 05:26 AM (#3835875)
Subject: RE: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: Jack Campin

That's probably the right source - but the Celtic Monthly was probably making it up. We don't have any more information about what, if any, Irish music was played in England in Elizabeth's reign.

31 Jan 17 - 07:54 AM (#3835898)
Subject: RE: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: Jim Carroll

Off topic, but this may be of interest

"Hills of Glendore (Ar Éireann Ní Neosfainn Cé hÍ) – Tom Lenihan See also' The Hills of Glendore Pat MacNamara
In Tom Munnelly's collection of Tom Lenihan's songs, 'Mount Callan Garland' the first line is sung as "There's a home by the Great Avonmore" and the Irish 'Ar Éireann Ní Neosfainn Cé hÍ' ("For Ireland I'll not tell who she is") is given as a title.
Tom Munnelly's note reads:
"Known in Scotland as 'Tweedside', this beautiful air is said to have been written by David Rizzio (or Riccio), musician and secretary to Mary Queen of Scots. His affection for the Queen was manifest and the amount of time he spent in her private chamber the source of much speculation. On March 9th 1566 the unfortu¬nate Italian was dragged from the pregnant Queen's side and butchered before her eyes by a number of dagger strokes".
He attributes this conclusion to Irish dance music scholar Breandán Breathnach (Folkmusic and Dances of Ireland, Educational Co. of Ireland, Dublin, 1971).
Pat McNamara's text differs somewhat from Tom's

Tom Lenihan's beautiful rendition of the song can be heard on the Clare County Library website under "Carroll Mackenzie collection of Clare songs"
Jim Carroll

31 Jan 17 - 08:42 AM (#3835904)
Subject: RE: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: GUEST,Jack Campin

The urban legend that Rizzio composed a significant number of Scottish tunes was dreamed up by James Oswald early in the 18th century. Most of Oswald's contemporaries could see it was twaddle even then, and nobody in Scotland took it seriously after Oswald died. (We have no evidence that Rizzio ever composed anything at all in any idiom). God knows why Munnelly chose to reanimate its corpse.

31 Jan 17 - 10:22 AM (#3835925)
Subject: RE: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: Jim Carroll

"God knows why Munnelly chose to reanimate its corpse."
It wasn't (Tom) Munnlly - it was an idea passed on by his original employer and mentor, Breandan Breathnach
Urban legend or not, Breathnach was a highly respected researcher
who pioneered collecting in post war Ireland
Jim Carroll

31 Jan 17 - 01:37 PM (#3835955)
Subject: RE: Irish airs/Queen Elizabeth's music-book
From: Jack Campin

Breathnach doesn't actually draw a "conclusion" - I just looked the book up. " said to have been written..." is as far as he goes. Munnelly makes it look like Breathnach was reporting it as fact.

Breathnach has a paragraph about "Callino casturame" in his book, with notation (a transcription from William Ballet's lute book). He says the rediscovery of this tune was due to the Irish Shakespearean scholar Malone, in the 18th century.