On A Cold Winter’s Day / When ye Cold winter nights were frozen

Two more tunes found when looking for Christmas/Winter material.

‘On A Cold Winter’s Day’ is from O’Neill’s Music Of Ireland sourced, indirectly, from www.oldmusicproject.com/oneils1.html. It’s given by O’Neill in F# minor. That’s doable on a G/D, but I prefer to play it either in E minor, or in D minor on my C/G. Both options below.

Played on C/G anglo-concertina.

Played on G/D anglo-concertina.

‘When ye Cold winter nights were frozen’ or ‘The Banks of Yaro’ is from David Johnson’s edition of tunes from James Thomson’s Music Book (1702 – National Library of Scotland MS. 2833). I found it via www.folktunefinder.com/tunes/195715. The notes in the ABC transcription say

Posted June 29th 2000 at abcusers by Jack Campin during a discussion about tune identification algorithms.
Jack said: “Here’s a set of tunes that for a dead cert are genetically related.
Do any of the tune-matching algorithms suggested here detect that”

Among the other related tunes posted, I imagine there would have been ‘Sir John Fenwick’s the Flower Among them All’ and ‘The Smiths a Gallant Fireman’ – but as Chris Partington points out, in relation to another title, ‘The Flower of Yarra’

The dedicated tune spotter will find it appearing as an air, waltz, minuet, jig, reel, strathspey and hornpipe, often hidden behind alternative titles like Berwick Lasses, Carrick’s Rant, and The Smiths a Gallant Fireman (though with some of these versions we enter the realm of the old chestnut “at what stage of change does one tune become another”).

All good tunes, and all worth playing. This version is given in 6/4. I interpret that as a slightly lumpy march rhythm – I don’t think it wants to go any faster, and I for one couldn’t play it any faster when it gets to those runs of quavers.

Played on G/D anglo-concertina.


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