(The) day will rise - a tune by John N MacNeill for George Campbell Hay's Song (slightly adapted).
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In 1948, George Campbell Hay published Fuaran Sléibh, described then in a Weekly Scotsman review as really good Gaelic poetry, a verdict which still stands. The twelfth poem in the book is called simply Òran ("Song"), and John MacNeill has used Hay's Song, which is Hay's English version of Òran (though not entirely a translation of the Gaelic – and in Collected Poems and Songs of George Campbell Hay, Edinburgh University Press 2000, appearing as a separate work), as the basis of the lyric for the song-tune offered here. Hay's Song presents problems to the tunesmith, since although all four verses share a rhyme-scheme and a pattern of stresses, the pattern of unstressed syllables varies from verse to verse; MacNeill was wanting to write a single tune that would suit every verse. For the most part, the solution lies in letting two notes carry a single syllable in some verses, but two syllables in other verses. That solution is however less easy to apply at the start of a line, since some lines begin with two unstressed syllables, some with one and some with none (before the first stressed syllable). So MacNeill has ventured - too boldly you may judge - to add a syllable or two at or near the beginning of some lines, as noted on the page that gives the song words.
The sheet music offered for (The) day will rise gives just melody line, harmony line and chord symbols. Traditional musicians will anyway devise their own arrangements to suit their resources and to bring variety to the singing of several verses. The audio file lacks expression and dynamics, but serves to let the tune be heard.
No note of tune or harmony offered here is an accidental. So the music may suit players of folk/lever/wire/Celtic harps.
In the (The) day will rise audio file, there is just the most basic guitar accompaniment, namely a three-note chord (often arpeggiated) at each chord symbol. There is also a short fiddle & guitar intro.
To offer more arrangement possibilities, an optional harmony part has been added above the melody, and may be heard in the audio played on a fiddle, though it could be possibly be sung or played on another instrument. The harmony part could be used in various ways, including as an alternative melody. The first verse in the audio file has no harmony part; the second verse has the harmony part but not the melody; the third verse has melody and harmony but no guitar; the fourth verse has melody, harmony and guitar. A coda is offered, to which the last few words may be sung again. The tempo and arrangement in the audio file are for purposes of demonstration rather than recommendation.
Hay's tune: bass line amended 15 June 2017
Words: (The) day will rise / Song.
Audio: tune by Hay for Òran with bass line by MacNeill.
Audio: (The) day will rise.
PDF sheet music: tune by Hay for Òran with bass line by MacNeill.
PDF sheet music: tune for (The) day will rise.
PDF sheet music: harmony (and intro) for (The) day will rise.