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Bill Taffe

Peg Ryan's Vs Egan's Polka

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I've recently learned a tune but have sometimes found it under the name Peg Ryan's (a polka) and sometimes Egan's Polka. Are they just different names for the same tune?

 

I also came across another tune named Peggy Ryan's Polka which is different from the previous tune I mentioned two.

 

Can anyone shed a bit of light on this for me? Thanks.

 

Bill Taffe

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This is not unusual in Irish music: two tunes with the same name, or two names for the same tune. I once started looking and found six names for the jig I know as Ship in Full Sail (after which I got tired of looking).

 

The Egan's I know is something like (key of D, in abc notation)

fABA fABA d2e>f edBA

etc.

 

I'd just learn the tunes and titles used by folks you play with, if any. There is no institute of tune names the way there is for the French language. Enjoy.

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This is not unusual in Irish music: two tunes with the same name, or two names for the same tune.

Absolutely. When my friends started playing a jig named Lark in the Morning, I went looking for it in my tune books. I found three tunes by that name, all unrelated; one is the one I knew/know as Trip to Sligo. But I found every one of the parts to the (then and now) session version in O'Neill's as parts of tunes by other names.

 

Another is the polka that was played in the movie Titanic. These days my friends call it John Ryan's, or even The Titanic Polka. But I first learned it under the name The Two Pound Check; a few years later the name The Five Pound Check was common; and even later it was The Ten Pound Check. So I took to calling it Inflation. :)

 

But tune titles named after people are particularly fluid, since they usually indicate the indivual that someone once learned them from, without having any other names for them. (O'Carolan and a fellow named Jackson seem to be exceptions.) When different people -- or groups -- learn them from different individuals, they can end up with the multiple names of those multiple sources.

 

Have fun playing!

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