Am Faillean Ùr / The Fresh Sapling - a tune by John N MacNeill for George Campbell Hay's words.
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The Gaelic poem Am Faillean Ùr by George Campbell Hay and Hay's English version The Fresh Sapling (not a translation of the Gaelic) appear together in Collected Poems and Songs of George Campbell Hay, Edinburgh University Press 2000. The song-tune offered here is intended to suit either poem. Hay's lines present problems to the tunesmith, since not all verses have exactly the same metre. To cope with those variations, there are notes that are for some verses only (in the sheet music these notes are in brackets), and slurs (indicating more than one note for a syllable) that are for some verses only (in the sheet music these slurs are broken).The Gaelic poem has a notable fourth verse to which Hay gave no equivalent in the English poem. MacNeill has ventured to supply an English fourth verse as an optional extra.
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 whistle (flageolet), 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. For instance, if the English words are being used, verses one & two could be sung by a man (melody), verse three by a woman (harmony, no melody) and then verse three repeated (man & woman, melody & harmony).
The sheet music and audio offered here for MacNeill's tune give just harmony line, melody line and a very simple chordal accompaniment (three-note chords playable on a guitar with standard tuning); also an extremely simple intro and coda. Traditional musicians will anyway devise their own arrangements to suit their resources and to bring variety to the singing of several verses.
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. All three verses are accompanied by a guitar. The tempo and arrangement in the audio file are for purposes of demonstration rather than recommendation. 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.
Words: Am Faillean Ùr.
Words: The Fresh Sapling (plus optional verse).
Audio: tune by Hay for with bass line by MacNeill.
Audio: tune by MacNeill (with none of the bracketed notes).
Audio: tune by MacNeill (with all of the bracketed notes).
PDF sheet music: tune by Hay with bass line by MacNeill.
PDF sheet music: tune by MacNeill.