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Music Discuss specific tunes, the writing of tunes, other questions, concerns, etc. related specifically to the music or music books.

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Old 01-13-2020, 03:09 PM   #1
erracht
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Default Did "Scotland the Brave" originate with "O'Donnell Abu"?

I have seen a score of "Scotland the Brave" (I think it was in one of the old books reproduced on the Ceol Sean website) that bears a note equating the tune with the Irish martial staple "O'Donnell Abu". There is indeed a similarity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY9jRmuVMyY

Is it likely that the Highland bagpipe signature song actually has this Irish origin? I wonder who would have thought to re-write the tune in this way. I suspect that "Scotland the Brave" was formed by taking "O'Donnell Abu" and grafting parts of "Wha Sae the 42nd"/"Wha Wadna Fecht for Charlie" onto it.
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Old 01-13-2020, 04:58 PM   #2
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Did "Scotland the Brave" originate with "O'Donnell Abu"?

I dunno, you might first have to reconcile that the bagpipe version has been already modified from the “original” melody to fit the bagpipe scale.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:24 AM   #3
Pip01
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Default Re: Did "Scotland the Brave" originate with "O'Donnell Abu"?



Hmm... And without wishing to further muddy or
murky-up these already Guinness-filled waters... :)
when StB is played in Eireann... it is often known
as... Bonnie Lass... :)

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Old 01-14-2020, 01:56 PM   #4
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Did "Scotland the Brave" originate with "O'Donnell Abu"?

And I've heard two other titles from non-pipers making a request...as in, Can you play...:

"You Know, That Song" or the "Scottish National Anthem" (which, of course, we know it's not).
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:25 PM   #5
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Did "Scotland the Brave" originate with "O'Donnell Abu"?

I had a guy ask me once to play Hail Britannia. He then proceeded to sing Scotland the Brave.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:37 PM   #6
CalumII
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Default Re: Did "Scotland the Brave" originate with "O'Donnell Abu"?

There's certainly a more than passing similarity in certain phrases. We discussed it recently here, though I can't find it. Basically, it seems to have existed as a recognisable tune for some time prior to being written down in the late 1800s. It didn't become really famous until the "hit" version by Hanley in the 1950s.



As for what the exact connection is with O'Donnell Abu, well, your guess is as good as anyone's.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:09 PM   #7
Seán Donnelly
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Default Re: Did "Scotland the Brave" originate with "O'Donnell Abu"?

The tune to which ‘O’Donnell Aboo’ is sung is attributed to Charles Haliday, bandmaster of the Cavan Militia, who is said to have composed it to demonstrate the capabilities of the keyed bugle he patented in 1810. The bugle became known as the Royal Kent Bugle, named for the Duke of Kent, Queen Victoria’s father. It is said that a musical instrument-maker in Dublin pirated Haliday’s patent and dedicated the instrument to the duke when publishing a tutor for the instrument. What Haliday called the tune, or whether he even gave it a title, I don’t know.

The words of the song were written by M.J. McCann, and published in 1843 as ‘The Clan Connell War Song’ in a newspaper called The Nation, and subsequently in a collection, The Spirit of the Nation, which began to appear in 1843. No air is named in the first edition, but in the 1845 one it is given as ‘Roderick Vich Alpine Dhu’, from Scott’s Lady of the Lake, presumably the air of ‘Hail to the Chief’ (open to correction here). Who matched Haliday’s tune and McCann’s words seems not to be known, nor when it was done.

I don’t think that ‘Scotland the Brave’ and ‘O’Donnell Aboo’ are related, but they could be said to be the same type of tune, and to have phrases reminiscent of each other. As for the former being called ‘Bonnie Lass’ in Ireland, that new to me. It was published as ‘An Irishman’s Toast’ in 1914, a title that was probably the name of a song written to it, and was previously the air of another song, but I can’t remember the name.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:27 PM   #8
Pip01
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Default Re: Did "Scotland the Brave" originate with "O'Donnell Abu"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seán Donnelly


As for the former being called ‘Bonnie Lass’ in Ireland, that new to me.



It was published as ‘An Irishman’s Toast’ in 1914, a title that was probably the name of a song written to it, and was previously the air of another song, but I can’t remember the name.






Sean,

That title information (Bonnie Lass) came to me many
(many) years ago... and from a native Irishman... and
an older fellow... who was the band manager for one
of the older... if not oldest... Irish pipe bands... here in
North America.

And being the fine piper he was... and being a veritable
fount of dead-accurate information about both the playing...
and the music... and its various histories... I now find myself
in that old position... of the old poem line... "I tell the tale that
I heard told."

He was from Kerry... so perhaps... Bonnie Lass was a "stand-
in title" that was... in that now... Long Ago... used there. (??)

(As a side note... when acting as an engagement's PM... he
never called Scotland the Brave... it was always Bonnie Lass.)

Titles? Lyrics? Even tunes?

It is a great mosaic that we inherit... is it not? :)
(Ain't it just !! :)

Regards,

Pip01


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Last edited by Pip01; 01-14-2020 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:51 AM   #9
Peter.Bailey.Bagpiper
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Default Re: Did "Scotland the Brave" originate with "O'Donnell Abu"?

Just a personal opinion, but I don't get the sense that either is derivative of the other.

They share some similar structures - chord changes and whatnot - but even from my limited exposure that's not an entirely uncommon thing for folk tunes.
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