This tune’s title invites some speculation. As the consequent is left unmentioned, it seems the whimsy of some beleaguered husband. What follows would be seriously bad, of course, his reverie notwithstanding. The title is similar to that of the novel If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler (1979) by Italo Calvino (1923-1985) except that unlike the beginning of novels within that novel the tune does not migrate into the beginning of several other tunes . . . well, at least, not yet. Though, actually, I’ve heard that there’s a sometimes-paired-tune entitled “If We Hadn’t Any Men.” However, this tune is much harder to find, and is rarely played in your typical sessions which, if memory serves, has mostly guys in it. It’s a puzzle to be sure why the latter is not played more often, and that when it is played it goes by the alternative title “The Hills Of Tara.” It’s a true mystery. Anyway, the former tune may appear to be a hornpipe, but it’s not. It’s a German. It can also be played as a hornpipe, a barndance, a reel, or other tune-types, depending on how it is pulsed. It is the third of a set of Germans on track nine of Ceol Aduaidh (1983) by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Frankie Kennedy, and there played in D. The set is “Maggie’s Lilt / The Durham Rangers /If We Hadn’t Any Women.” This last tune was on cylinder recordings by James Morrison (1928). It was also taught a little while ago at another tune learning session as a barndance, which is similar to a German – both in the same family with the Schottische (SHOT-ish). The slow session in question is the Saturday “Quiet Man” Irish Learning Sessions in Paris, France: the note reads “Une barndance en Sol présentée par Bernat le 16 mars 2013.” I have included the dots in G (below) for those who want to try it that way.
For the ABC click If We Hadn’t Any Women
If We Hadn’t Any Women, slow tempo
If We Hadn’t Any Women, med tempo
If We Hadn’t Any Women, the dots (in D)
If We Hadn’t Any Women, the dots (in G)