Pádraig O’Keeffe Mac Aoidh-O'Connell Manuscript

O’Keeffe Mac Aoidh-O'Connell MS

The 210 interactive music scores on this page have been notated from a set of manuscripts originally written by Pádraig O’Keeffe for his pupil Pat O’Connell (known locally as Páitín Connell) a small farmer from the townland of Cordal, Co. Kerry. Páitín kept his manuscripts in two biscuit tins in his kitchen. He was a near neighbour of Pádraig and remembered him with great affection. He lent Caoimhín Mac Aoidh his collection in full. Caoimhín was unable to photocopy this collection but he copied the music tablature meticulously using stencils and Rotring drafting pens.

Caoimhín Mac Aoidh writes:

Of all known existing individual collections of O’Keeffe’s fiddle tablature Paddy ‘Páitín’ O’ Connell of the townland of Cordal is the most comprehensive both in numbers of tunes and in terms of time span.
The music occurs on music paper, cigarette packs, school jotters, loose papers etc. It contains the earliest written piece of all the manuscripts, a reel called The Flowing Bowl, a version of The Piper’s Despair which bears no relation to O’Neill’s version of The Flowing Bowl. The tune was written on October 2nd, 1931. The latest tune in the collection, The Wonder Hornpipe was written on October 31st, 1962, less than five months before his death. The greatest period of writing seems to have taken place during the mid-1940’s.

The music transcriber for this current project worked from three different sources for these scores:

  • Copies of original manuscripts of Pádraig O’Keeffe’s unique form of fiddle-music tablature
  • Fair copy transcriptions made of O’Keeffe’s fiddle-music tablature by Caoimhín Mac Aoidh
  • Staff notation transcriptions of O’Keeffe’s fiddle-music tablature also made by Caoimhín Mac Aoidh

Contemporary transcriptions of the individual tunes in this manuscript downloadable as one PDF

The O’Connell collection is one of seven Pádraig O’Keeffe manuscript collections sourced by Caoimhín Mac Aoidh in the early 1980s. The manuscripts mainly belonged to Pádraig O’Keeffe’s pupils, and in a limited number of cases to others. Mac Aoidh photocopied the manuscripts where possible and returned the originals to their owners. 

Tunes in this collection