Danny Boy (a.k.a. Londonderry Air)

30 11 2006

A St. Patricks Day Favorite!

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** listen to a sample of  Dan Sindel’s “Symphonic Guitars” Danny Boy/Londonderry Air

 St. Patricks Day - Danny Boy 

“Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling From glen to glen, and down the mountain side”
Another name for this tune is the Londonderry Air. This title has a certain political bias, since the name “Londonderry” is used to emphasize the ties between Northern Ireland and Britain (referring to the colonization of the area by English settlers in the early 17th century). Irish nationalists usually prefer to use “Derry”, the original name of the Northern city and county. It appears that the title Air from County Derry was also used.

About the project::
This project was alot of fun not only in the recording aspect but also in the realm of learning of the history of this tune.
The piece came from a Book of Piano Duets and was recorded uner the pretense of “Londonderry Air”, only after doing research had I truly discovered the origin of the song and how it become the traditional Irish melody of “Danny Boy”.

The parts were divided into “Primo” and “Secondo” arrangements.
The recording aspect was fairly straight forward as the piece was in 4 part harmony and by seperating the Bass, Tenor, Alto and Soprano lines I had roughly 15 indivdual lines to track per “Primo” and “Secondo” parts.
After tracking each line 3 times I had about 45 tracks per part.
In the second and third sections you will be hearing a culmination of at least 90 tracks of guitar..!
Reverbs and Leslie Cabinet Plug-ins were used to create an atmospheric ambience on the into and ending sections.

On this selection I used my ’68 Gibson SG and the Line6 Flextone3 XL amp…

About DannyBoy::
Where did the song come from? Is it Irish at all?
To begin with, Danny Boy is one of over 100 songs composed to the same tune. The author was an English lawyer, Frederic Edward Weatherly (1848-1929), who was also a songwriter and radio entertainer. In 1910 he wrote the words and music for an unsuccessful song he called Danny Boy. In 1912 his sister-in-law in America sent him a tune called the Londonderry Air (or possibly something else), which he had never heard before. He immediately noticed that the melody was perfectly fitted to his Danny Boy lyrics, and published a revised version of the song in 1913. As far as is known, Weatherly never set foot in Ireland

The first appearance of the tune in print occurred in 1855, in Ancient Music of Ireland, published by the early collector George Petrie (1789-1866). The untitled melody, was supplied to Petrie by Miss Jane Ross of Limavady, County Londonderry, who claimed to have taken it down from the playing of an itinerant piper. This is the origin of the Londonderry Air name. Petrie states:
[Name unknown]
For the following beautiful air I have to express my very grateful acknowledgement to Miss J. Ross, of N.-T. – Limavady, in the county of Londonderry – a lady who has made a large collection of the popular unpublished melodies of that county, which she has very kindly placed at my disposal, and which has added very considerably to the stock of tunes which I had previously acquired from that still very Irish county. I say still very Irish; for though it has been planted for more than two centuries by English and Scottish settlers, the old Irish race still forms the great majority of its peasant inhabitants; and there are few, if any, counties in which, with less foreign admixture, the ancient melodies of the country have been so extensively preserved. The name of the tune unfortunately was not ascertained by Miss Ross, who sent it to me with the simple remark that it was “very old,” in the correctness of which statement I have no hesitation in expressing my perfect concurrence.

Lyrics for Danny Boy
Lyrics: Frederic Edward Weatherly
Music: Traditional

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the flowers are dying
‘Tis you, ’tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow
‘Tis I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You’ll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.

And I shall hear, tho’ soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you’ll not fail to tell me that you love me
I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

Lyrics for Londonderry Air
Lyrics: Unknown
Music: Traditional

Would God I were the tender apple blossom
That floats and falls from off the twisted bough,
To lie and faint within your silken bosom,
Within your silken bosom as that does now!
Or would I were a little burnish’d apple
For you to pluck me, gliding by so cold,
While sun and shade your robe of lawn will dapple,
Your robe of lawn, and your hair’s spun gold.

Yea, would to God I were among the roses
That lean to kiss you as you float between,
While on the lowest branch a bud uncloses,
A bud uncloses, to touch you, queen.
Nay, since you will not love, would I were growing,
A happy daisy, in the garden path;
That so your silver foot might press me going,
Might press me going even unto death.

I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

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* A special thanks to Michael Robinson & Vicki Parrishfor the use of their information on Danny Boy.

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