The Legacy: a rolling Irish jig

The first two classes of the term have separately focused on technique for flute and whistle ( breathing, tone, phrasing and ornamentation in particular). Both of these lead into the first tune of the year, an Irish jig called The Legacy.

The tune is based on chord structures in G and has a contrasting Em B part before resolving itself back to G. It’s strong and distinctive and offers some opportunity to vary the melody with rolls in a variety of places (G, B, E, D and A). I have attempted to show some of this in the resources that accompany the tune.

I was surprised to discover that not a great deal is known about the tune. It is associated with Irish-American fiddler Larry Redican (more on him here) and bore his name on some recordings, notably by Bobby Casey (1959) and the Coen brothers’ The Branch Line. No, not the movie makers, but Jack and Charlie from east Galway, playing flute and concertina.

It was first published as The Legacy in Bulmer and Sharpleys’ mid-1970s collections of Irish tunes, but did appear in O’Neill’s Music of Ireland (1903) and also Kerr’s Merrie Melodies (1880s) under other titles (Skiver the Quilt, The Tailor’s Wedding). More detail can be found over at The Fiddler’s Companion website.

I have seen an assertion online that it may be a Scottish tune originally, but no evidence to date, other than the earlier publication date for Kerr’s, which includes Irish and other tunes anyway. Having said that, the strong chordal construction of the jig wouldn’t be out of place in the Scottish repertoire.

By the way, for some ABC settings of the old collections, check out this website.

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