Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cold Frosty Battle of Aughrim!

The other day I noticed a similarity between the old-time tune Cold Frosty Morning and the Irish march After the Battle of Aughrim. So, last night I combined my favorite aspects of each into one piece tentatively called Frosty Battle of Aughrim. It's basically the A-Part to Battle of Aughrim with the B-part of Frosty Morn, with a few slight variations.

Battle of Aughrim is named for the bloodiest battle in Irish history in which the Jacobite Army was defeated by the Williamite army and, subsequently, Ireland fell into control of the English (July 12, 1691). Oddly enough, I was researching Cold Frosty Morning and apparently it is Scots in origin and is based on a fiddle tune commemorating the dawn of the day after the Battle of Culloden (April 16, 1746), the last major action of the 1745 Jacobite uprising. So that possibly explains why these fit so well together.

Both tunes are usually played in the key of Aminor, but I moved my version down a string to Dminor to make it easier for me to play on tenor banjo (open "E" replaces high "B"). I will make a recording of this soon and update this post with an audio link. In the meantime, you can hear a great version of Cold Frosty Morning on the Butch Baldassari and David Schnaufer CD Appalachian Dulcimer and Mandolin. And you can hear a sweet After the Battle of Aughrim on an album by the Clare-based (Ennis, Doolin) band The Fiddle Case.

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