One of a possible three tunings described by Bunting in MS29 p157 appears to be a variation
of the leithghléas which employs a single ff natural amongst the other F#s and which Bunting
seems to relate to the song Uileacán Dubh Ó.
Bunting published the song in 1809 in the key of G with all Fs natural. G natural major is not
mentioned as a key in Bunting's publications despite clear evidence that he conceived of it:
he names a key of G natural in his vocabulary in MS34 f58r and gives it the name 'fuáil
bheag'. D one sharp is also not mentioned, even though song tunes of this kind were given
to Bunting by Arthur O' Neill. It may be that D one sharp tunes were subsumed into the key of
G in the leithghléas for purely instrumental performance.
The retuning of a sole high treble ff# to ff natural against other F# notes elsewhere on the
gamut, does not necessarily imply a chromaticism in the treble or bass line. A lower treble f#
is not necessary to the melody of tunes such as Uileacán Dubh Ó or an Londubh agus an
Chéirseach (the Blackbird and the Hen) and therefore may not have been struck on the harp
in these tunes at all. When used for such songs, this tuning would save having to alter all the
(unused) F#s to F naturals.
This tuning comes into its own however in songs such Pléaráca an Mhagaidh (the Mock
Feast) where the chromatic contrast is clearly heard between the higher F natural and lower
F#. This octave chromaticism may be the explanation behind this tuning.