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Bean a Tí ar Lár (D)

The title of this reel “Bean a Tí ar Lár” (Bahn uh Tee air Lahr) is usually simply translated as “Mistress on the Floor” in English, though sometimes also called “The Woman of the House on the Floor” perhaps to get away from the connotations of the former in English.  Without suggesting that there aren’t plenty of Irish tune names that court that very connotation, the sense of the phrase is actually that the mistress or host of the gathering is on the floor ready to dance, or already dancing. The initial translation is from Brendan Breathnach’s notes on the tune — #199 in Breathnach’s Ceol Rince na hÉireann vol. 2 (1976) — which was used on the Tommy Peoples & Paul Brady LP High Part of the Road (1976), and re-released on CD in 1994.  Owing to the popularity of that album the translation is so common now that it would be very hard to change.  So, most often that’s what it’ll be called by native English speakers.  This is the case despite the criticism of that translation, which comes primarily from Caoimhin Mac Aoidh, the author of Between the Jigs and Reels: The Donegal Fiddle Playing Tradition (1994), who maintains that the title used here is a corruption of the original title, which was “Bean a Ti Faoi Chláir” (Bahn uh Tee Fwee Khlaar) which means “the woman of the house in a coffin” (lit. “under a board”) and is itself a reference to the lilter Bidi a’ Mhucros, who was well known at the time as a repository of a vast number of tunes.  According to the fiddler’s companion, when she died she was waked in an open coffin in her cottage, as was the custom, and toward dawn as the lid was placed on her coffin the cottage door flew open.  Then two fairy fiddlers came in to pay their respects. They walked up to the coffin, produced their instruments, and proceeded to play this reel many times through and then abruptly walked over to the fireplace where they were whisked up the chimney, never to be seen again.

For the ABC click Bean An Ti Ar Lar

Bean a Tí ar Lár, slow tempo

 

Bean a Tí ar Lár, med tempo

 

Bean a Tí ar Lár, the dots

Bean a Tí ar Lár

Bean a Tí ar Lár, Reel in D

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