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michael sam wild

William Mullally's Wheatstone

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It mentioned that his concertina had been sent to London to Wheatstone for repairs and returned to his family in Philadelphia, where it was forgotten in an attic. He must have gone on his travels and never picked it up (unless it was sent to them after his death in 1959 (in an 'institution ' in the South)

 

Has anyone any idea of where it is now?]?

 

 

Any more info?

Mike

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Just pulled up Mullally recording ,'Green Fields of Erin' and The Ivy Leaf, on WinAmp. They are in D ( as in O'Neill's) with a 'drone' in A Still struggling with it , he was a star! I'd like to know what keys his concertina was in. Wheatstone must have tuned his box to his requirements or he must have dropped on one that suited him.

 

His accompanist Edward Lee was a good pianist who came from an Irish family in London, his chords help in interpretation

 

Mike

Edited by michael sam wild

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Just pulled up Mullally recording ,'Green Fields of Erin', on WinAmp. It is in A so did he play it on D row on the draw or inner row (A) on the push? Still struggling with it , he was a star! Wheatstone must have tuned his box to his requirements or he must have dropped on one that suited him.

 

Mike

 

mmpphh mmphmph mpmmphh! (He said, through sealed lips) You can work it out, just slow him down.

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I regret that I do not own these recordings yet. Is it beyond possibilities that he owned and recorded on more that one instrument? If many including Paddy Murphy focused on learning these crossed fingerings, might he have only switched boxes to play in the key of A? Again, not having heard these tracks, I am speaking hypothetically. On the recordings recently reissued Clare Concertina, there were tracks recorded on Bb/F and C/G by McMahon/ O'Sullivan.

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I don't have the original Viva Voce tape and am looking forward to the CD rerelease when all may be revealed!

 

I have some CD tracks of Mullally on compilations and an RTE programme so I may treat myself to a Slowdowner thanks Dan.

No news yet on who may still have the Wheatsone he left in or had sent to Philadelphia with his family . It would be interesting to know what Wheastone in London had done to it. Are there customer records or just catalogues and production ledgers?

 

I don't know many who can do what he did in A on a C/G concertina or don't I meet enough Scots fiddle influenced Anglo players. In Irish sessions I go to tunes are mainly D or G

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I regret that I do not own these recordings yet. Is it beyond possibilities that he owned and recorded on more that one instrument? If many including Paddy Murphy focused on learning these crossed fingerings, might he have only switched boxes to play in the key of A? Again, not having heard these tracks, I am speaking hypothetically. On the recordings recently reissued Clare Concertina, there were tracks recorded on Bb/F and C/G by McMahon/ O'Sullivan.

 

 

Hi Larre,

 

We can talk about these Mullally settings next month at the Gainesville tionol and I will bring Harry Bradshaw's tape for you to hear. As you and I discussed, before I noticed this topic on the forum, in the workshop I want to focus on a number of nice settings of tunes for concertina influenced by the playing of one-row melodeon players including Conlon, William Sullivan, etc. Many fine concertina players such as Mrs. Crotty and John Kelly sr (and more recently, the late Kitty Hayes) also played much of their repertoire in this way, but when playing in this style on the middle row of a C/G box their settings come out in C, Dm, G mixolydian and F (F hexatonic, or alternatively in a mode with a sharp 4th note of the scale) instead of D, Em, A mixolydian, and G. For example, compare John Kelly's setting of the Bag of Potatoes with the setting by William Sullivan .... John Kelly's setting is "inflected," using both F# and F natural, and is in the key of G (if played on a C/G anglo) but otherwise very similar to William Sullivan's version in A mixolydian on the 1 row D melodeon.

 

Mullally's "Jackson's Thought" (a version of Cherish the Ladies) with an apparent thumb D drone that continues (though "breathing") with bellows changes in the melody notes, and the *two button* (not three button) C#BA triplets I mentioned earlier are very suggestive of his concertina system. Further evidence, if you need it, comes from his frequent and effortless choice of C# passing tones in G tunes, just as in Conlon's "Flogging Reel," "Banks of Newfoundland," etc.

 

PG

 

edited for spelling and (I hoped...) clarity

Edited by Paul Groff

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Dan

That's the one I listened to. I've edited my earlier note: those two tunes Green Groves and Ivy Leaf are in D not A as I originally thought. There's a steady feel of A in the 'drones' and piano chords . But on closer listening they feel like regular D as in O'Neill's etc. I would be interested in the keys of all the tracks on his 10 78s butI've only got the RTE programme which is not his total recordings

 

I suppose as a young man he must have been in touch with quite well established concertina players ( based on your research) and of course other instrumentalists round Westmeath and from books etc. It said a copy of the dots for The Heathery Breeze was in his concertina box when it was discovered.

Mike

Edited by michael sam wild

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Just been listening to football on Radio Sheffield , Sheff United v. Watford we won ! 2:0 yeah Blades!

 

While I was doing so I was messing with The Green Groves of Erin

In O'Neill it is shown in signature key D( Csharp Fsharp)

In Miles Krassen it is G (Fsharp)

In Breathnach it is shown G (Fsharp)

 

Willy Mullaly did it in D and Paddy Murphy who was inspired by him used G

 

 

The Breathnach version is credited to Felix Doran , piper, who used C naturals. Played from those dots It's a much more 'sober' sound than Mullaly who uses C sharp (and those triplets Paul mentions)

 

What led to this sort of shift?

 

 

 

Mike

Edited by michael sam wild

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Just another interesting fact. I was looking at the booklet that accompanies the Ron Kavanagh 4 CD set from Proper Records of old 78 Irish records 'Farewell to Ireland' 2005

 

Above the notes for Mullaly the photo in the section on Tom Morrison from Galway ( who was a flute player) shows an Anglo concertina player. I'd always assumed it was Tom Morrison without looking too carefully . This is probably Mullaly. He looks a good looking slim fellow in a suit , waistcoat and tie, quite smart, hair going grey. maybe this also on the Viva Voce tape sleeve but I've not got that, so this is my first view of the great man! If it is him.l If it is from his time in America he'd be about 40 years old

Edited by michael sam wild

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Hi

I've just been told that on the Viva Voce tape the front picture is that picture. Plus inside is a photo of WJM in army uniform. Roll on the CD

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Any news of progress of the CD reissue?

Hi Michael,

 

Last I spoke with Jackie Small, one of the folks working on this CD project at ITMA, it is still being worked on by others there. He was not sure of the schedule of completion.

 

However, I can give you some news on your question that started this thread:

"I've just been lstening to an RTE recording of a programme on Mullally who emigrated and recorded in the 1920s in the States. It mentioned that his concertina had been sent to London to Wheatstone for repairs and returned to his family in Philadelphia, where it was forgotten in an attic. He must have gone on his travels and never picked it up (unless it was sent to them after his death in 1959 (in an 'institution ' in the South). Has anyone any idea of where it is now?"

 

A few months ago I heard from a Mullaly family member who was looking for more information on William Mullaly. After giving him what information I had, I learned that his brother-in-law had the concertina mentioned by Harry Bradshaw in the liner notes to the Viva Voce cassette of the 1980s....that instrument is a sort of holy grail for any Mullaly fan, as you can imagine, so I made every effort to contact that brother-in-law.

 

I did contact him, a very nice man who does not play music but is well aware of his well-known great-uncle. We spoke for some time, and at the end of that conversation I realized that the instrument Harry Bradshaw spoke about as being William Mullaly's concertina was in fact not one that belonged to William. It belonged to William's brother Michael. Here is the story.

 

First, the instrument is a wooden-ended two row Wheatstone, serial number 31148. I established that it is in CG pitch (the great-nephew played it for me over the phone).The only known photo of William with a concertina shows him holding a metal-ended one that appears to be a Wheatstone Linota....so something already seems awry.

 

In the original cardboard box that holds the instrument there were three items:

1) a letter from Harry Bradshaw dated 1984, so we know this is the instrument Harry saw.

2) A letter from Wheatstone's to MJ Mullaly dated 30 November 1926 saying that the instrument he ordered was ready to ship (the price was 10 pounds Sterling). That was sent to Michael Mullaly, not William. Michael was William's brother (MJM vs WJM) at Michael's address. Moreover, William started recording in March of 1926, before this instrument was even built.

3) a letter from Wheatstone's, also to MJ Mullaly, dated April 15, 1929, saying that the repairs were finished. THis was the letter quoted by Harry in the cassette liner notes.

 

I think Harry misread the words MJ Mullaly, written in Wheatstone's script, for WJ Mullaly; in script, that is easy to do. Michael Mullaly's son, who owned this instrument, had passed away by the time Harry Bradshaw made contact with the family, and it was his widow who showed it to Harry, so she might not have been able to correct the story.

 

William Mullaly died in New Orleans more or less estranged from the family; as a result his grand-nephew and grand-niece knew little about him, which is why I was contacted by them (I sent them some photos, and MP3 and Harry's liner notes). What happened to his instrument is anyone's guess, but next time you are in New Orleans, have a look at the pawn shops!

 

There is one more fact that affirms that this is not the instrument.....you can find that out when you read Jackie Small's story and transcripts in the forthcoming CD.

 

I hope this answer's your question about Mullaly's concertina!

 

Kind regards,

Dan

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Thanks for the information Dan - very interesting. I'm really looking forward to that reissue and more insight into his style and how he got his notes.

All the best and keep up the good work!

Mike

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This is a catch up after a couple of years

Since the CD and book came out in 2011 a lot more has been revealed and having at last adopted a slowdowner my understanding has grown. I have a G/D Lachenal and explore the D row and make comparisons with the D mouthorgan and D row on melodeon. Thanks to Paul Groff for his great work on early one row melodeon players. What helped clinch things for me was listening carefully and playing along to my Rose Murphy LP. She was originally from Galway - P.J.Conlon's sister and lived near us , in Maltby, South Yorkshire, having married an Irishman Tom Murphy who was a miner. When she was persuded to get back into the music late in life she got a B/C box which was common by then in Irish music circles . She [played tunes commonly played in D in B up and down the B row which to me implied a one row D style she learned as a girl. That Hohner box is still safe. She played fiddle in more usual, keys!

 

 

I wish we could get that LP reissued

 

 

It seems that the 2 row which is most likely what Mullally started on was usually played along the outer row so rather than G/D I go for the D/A with a D/D drone

Edited by michael sam wild

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Since the CD and book came out in 2011 a lot more has been revealed and having at last adopted a slowdowner my understanding has grown. I have a G/D Lachenal and explore the D row and make comparisons with the D mouthorgan and D row on melodeon. Thanks to Paul Groff for his great work on early one row melodeon players. What helped clinch things for me was listening carefully and playing along to my Rose Murphy LP. She was originally from Galway - P.J.Conlon's sister and lived near us , in Maltby, South Yorkshire, having married an Irishman Tom Murphy who was a miner. When she was persuded to get back into the music late in life she got a B/C box which was common by then in Irish music circles . She [played tunes commonly played in D in B up and down the B row which to me implied a one row D style she learned as a girl. That Hohner box is still safe. She played fiddle in more usual, keys!

 

 

I wish we could get that LP reissued

 

 

It seems that the 2 row which is most likely what Mullally started on was usually played along the outer row so rather than G/D I go for the D/A with a D/D drone

 

Hi Mike, Yes the point about the D drone on Jackson's Thought was what made me think the instrument might be a D/A (see my post above, from 16 January 09). But then I got the feeling that we shouldn't spoil the news value of Mr. Small's research before it was published. Anyway, Mullaly's settings work on a D/A or a G/D quite well, or transposed down a step on a C/G instrument.

 

PG

Edited by Paul Groff

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She [played tunes commonly played in D in B up and down the B row which to me implied a one row D style she learned as a girl. I wish we could get that LP reissued

 

It seems that the 2 row which is most likely what Mullally started on was usually played along the outer row so rather than G/D I go for the D/A with a D/D drone

 

 

I'll be in Newfoundland in August on a bit of a musical quest, and this discussion has some relevance to the situation there. The tradition there is a combination of pre-reel Irish and Elizabethan West Country English, with an overlay of more recent irish immigration, and Country & Western! 1 & 2 row button accordions rule. The most popular tuning is D for the single row, and DA for the 2 row. Jigs & polkas are the mainstay, with reels being played at the more "Irish" sessions. Currently, concertinas are almost unknown- You can count the known players on 1 hand, and one of them is originally from Ireland. However, some older folks I've talked to remeber them being around before the War, and I came accross a reference to a ship wreck being salvaged in the late 19th century which was carrying 1000s of german concertinas. I've thought about how to play traditional newfoundland music authentically on an instrument that is no longer part of the tradition, but might once have been.

 

i got the Mullally package and have listened with great interest. My main instrument is a GD.

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Thanks Paul, hope you are well.I got a bit puzzled when reading Jackie Small's comments in the book on page 22 about the D draw note used by Mullally in some tunes e.g. The Races of Athlone on Track 2b. If his concertina were G/D as Dan Worrall postulates in his book( an Ab/Eb conversion Wheatstone Linota) There would not be a D4 draw . If it were a C/G conversion to D/G again no D4 draw. Or on a D/A no D4 draw. So the D/D drone makes sense as it is suggested by the transcriptions that it went against a G draw. He didn't use it much in any case on the 78s and played mainly in D.

 

 

 

On page 23 Jackie Small states that 'there is insufficient evidence to state definitively what the overall tuning of his concertina system or systems was.' so we'll have to wait till it turns up somewhere. He may have had one in New Orleans where he is said to have died in an institution estranged from his family or the one he is said to have given to his nephew in Philadelphia when he became disillusioned with the professional music business, may turn up

 

Meanwhile I'll go on Tabledit and transpose the book's transcripts to C and see how I do :)

 

 

 

To play in G off the D row you'd do what Kitty Hayes did to play in F off the C row but it might need a C natural as an accidental... on the index finger of the accidental row of a 21 button to get along with most other players in G.

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