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The first few jigs in this section are from the St Ninians manuscript; they were all written in 3/4, as the compiler seems not to have got the concept of compound time signatures at first. He or she also seems not to have quite understood key signatures either; tunes that are clearly in D major often get only one sharp. (These details are in the ABC file). I have a Wife of my Own is a song of the early 18th century, printed many times. Free and accepted Mason (or Come let us prepare) was the most popular Masonic song of the 18th century. used a dance tune in Scotland for 200 years and still sung by Masons today. The words were published by the English actor Matthew Birkhead in 1722; the tune is older, first published by Thomas D'Urfey in London in 1702. Over the water to Charlie was first published in Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion in the 1740s and soon afterwards reprinted by Bremner; it stayed in print continuously after that, but I have not seen it in many manuscripts. Shulen a Gurie was first published by Burk Thumoth in London in a collection of 1745/6, as Chiling O Guiry, and it occurs in eighteenth century manuscripts with that spelling. It was published as Shiling O'Gairey by Aird in his first collection, and later as Sheelan O'Geary in the Edinburgh Musical Repository of 1818-1825, also in 3/4. Gaelic spelling was never a strong point with music publishers. It's very similar to A Rock and a wi pickle Tow, another popular early 18th century song, though the manuscript treats them as separate. There is no telling whether the Lowland Scots or Gaelic version came first.

Rock and Wee Pickle Tow is another set of the same tune, from the Farmer Collection flute tutor.

Humours of Glen is from the Caledonian Pocket Companion. It was often used for songs and was regularly reprinted until early in the nineteenth century.

The Highway to Eglintown is taken from the Knox MS; it had recently been published by Rutherford in London, in his 1750 country dance collection. It would have been written for the powerful family of the Montgomerie Earls of Eglinton.

Miss Dalrymple's Jig is by Daniel Dow, from his 1783 collection. The Dalrymples of Hailes were one of the leading legal/political dynasties in Scotland from the 17th century onwards.

The Banks of Allen, a Reel is from Hamilton's Complete Repository. It had earlier been published by the Gows and by Thomas Calvert of Kelso. "Reel" referred to the dance; while most reels were done to duple-time tunes and most jigs to compound-triple time, there were exceptions in both directions. There are two rivers called Allan in the Borders and one near Stirling; if Calvert wrote the tune, he would have meant the one that runs into the Tweed near Melrose. (There is also a song to a completely different tune, The Banks of Allan Water).

Lango Lee and Larry Grogan are from Tapp's book. Both are Irish tunes from the middle of the 18th century, found in countless collections of the time all over the British Isles; the first apparently means "The Stiff Dick", the second is named after the gentleman piper who wrote it, first published by Walsh in the 1730s.

A Fig for a Kiss is from Anderson's Pocket Companion of 1807; it had first been published by Robert Bremner in the 1750s.

The next few tunes are from the Museum for the German Flute. All the tunes here were printed before in Aird's third book; most of the volume seems to be a plagiarism of it. A Basket of Oysters, or Paddy the Weaver is a composite of two tunes. The first half is the first half of Come under my Plaidie (or Johnny McGill), included here among the music of the Black Watch fifers. The second half is a version of Greensleeves. John Glen (the thoroughly unpleasant Scottish musicologist who discovered the connection) thought the two were first put together on paper by Thomas Moore for his Irish Melodies, but Aird's third book was published when Moore was about 5 years old. (Glen owned copies of Aird's books but seems never to have looked at them, making several aggressively asserted mistakes in his attributions as a result). The Ragged Sailor is an English tune first published by Walsh in the 1730s. A Trip to the Rotunda, The Sailor Laddie, The Sailor Lassie and Saw away 'lias Scrape away were all printed first by Aird. The last one is unusual and was not reprinted often; it's in 12/8 like an Irish "slide", and sounds like a children's playground song. I would like to think it has a text taking the mickey out of fiddlers, but don't know of one.

The next two tunes are taken from Cameron's Flute Music of 1857. Kinloch of Kinloch was first published in McFadyen's The Beauties of Melody in the 18th century; Let us A' to the Bridal is older, with a text known from the late seventeenth century and a tune that was first printed in a travel book about Scotland in 1705.

Fy let us a' to the Wedding is another set of the same tune, from Robertson's Caledonian Museum of the 1830s. The next four tunes are from the same book, all probably derived from Johnson and Burns's Scots Musical Museum. Three Good Fellows Down in Yon Glen is a Jacobite song; Thro' the Muir at Night, a much-recycled tune, probably derived from the 17th century English triple-time hornpipe Three Sharp Knives, known in Scotland as Old Age and Young; We'll Put the Sheep-Head in the Pat is a deservedly forgotten song whose tune seems to derive from The Collier's Daughter, known as a reel around 1700; and Willie has Gotten a Wife is a piece of versified misogyny all but unsingable today, given a stylish instrumental treatment here.

The next three jigs are from Dan Wright's Aria di Camera. The Lads of Leith was a popular dance tune of the early 18th century. Irish Lads of Dunces is usually called The Lads of Duns today; in the Scotland of Wright's time, the word "Irish" could be applied to Highlanders, and Highlanders are more likely than Irishmen to have found their way to Duns, through the fishing industry. The Sulters of Sellkerke (The Sutors of Selkirk) is an old tune for the Border pipes, with a legend dating it back to the battle of Flodden in 1513. It's really in 9/4, but I've left it the way Wright printed it. This extended version has a far wider range than the border pipes can handle; it could be played on the pastoral pipe (the Scottish precursor of the Irish uillean pipes, which were actually developed in Northumberland), but they were only invented a generation later.

Geological Rank is an odd tune from J. Crichton Donaldson's manuscript. The title is his misreading of Geological Rant, in Hamilton's Universal Tune Book of 1844/1853, which is probably where he got it, but that doesn't make a lot more sense. Maybe it was the tune for a comic song; Hamilton has it in E flat, which is most likely a vocal key. Stool of Repentance - A Country Dance is from the same manuscript; it goes back to the middle of the 18th century. It seems to share a common origin with the reel The Mason's Apron; an early manuscript source for the reel calls it The Repenting Stool and they're clearly the same tune in different metres.

ABC tune file

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Old Scottish Flute Music
Copyright © 2003, Jack Campin