Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/456

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444

��SCOTISH MUSIC.

��of the greater portion of them. In most cases the tunes also are modern. ' Bonnie Prince Charlie ' and ' The lament of Flora Macdonald ' are both compositions of Neil Gow, the grand- son of old Neil the famous reel-player ' He's

��SCOTISH MUSIC.

owre the hills that I loe weel,' 'Come o'er the stream, Charlie,' 'The bonnets of bonnie Dundee ' (Claverhouse), are all of recent origin ; even ' Charlie is my darling ' words and music is a modern rifacimento of the old song.

��Charlie is my darling. The Old Air.

��Oh!

�� ��The Modern Air.

��One exception to this ought to be noted; the tune now known as * Wae 's me for Prince Charlie ' is really ancient. In the Skene MS. (1635) it is called 'Lady Cassilis' Lilt' ; it is also known as ' Johnny Faa,' and ' The Gypsy laddie,' all three names connected with what is now believed to be a malicious ballad written against an exemplary wife in order to annoy her Covenanting husband, the Earl of Cassilis, who was not a favourite.

Enough has been said of these relics of an en- thusiastic time, but the subject is so extensive that it is not easy to be concise. Those who wish to know more of it will find in the volumes of James Hogg and Dr. Charles Mackay all that is worthy of being remembered of this episode of Scotish. song.

OF THE SCOTTISH SCALES AND CLOSES.

The existence of Scotish airs constructed on the series i, 2, 3, 5, 6 of a major diatonic scale is well known and has been already alluded to. Whether this pentatonic series was acquired through the use of a defective instrument, or from the melodic taste of singer or player, must remain mere matter of conjecture. The style itself may be accepted as undoubtedly ancient, whatever uncertainty there may be as to the exact age of the airs constructed on it. These are not by any means numerous, though their characteristic leap between the third and fifth, and sixth and eighth of the scale, is so common in Scotish melody, that many persons not only believe the greater part of our airs to be penta- tonic, but do not admit any others to be Scotish. However the taste for this style may have arisen, the series of notes was a very convenient one ; for an instrument possessing the major diatonic scale in one key only, could play these airs correctly in the three positions of the scale where major thirds are found, that is, on the first, fourth and fifth degrees. In the key of C, these are as shown below, adding the octave to the lowest note of the series in each case.

Pentatonic scale in three positions, without change of signature.

8

��It would not be quite correct to term these the keys of C, F, and G, for they want the charac- teristic notes of each scale ; still it is convenient to do so, especially as in harmonising tunes written in this series it is frequently necessary to use the omitted intervals, the fourth and seventh, and also to affix the proper signature of the key as usual at the beginning. If, reversing the order of the notes given above, we begin with the sixth, and passing downwards add the octave below, the feeling of a minor key is established, and keys of A, D and E minor seem to be produced. Be- sides tunes in these six keys, a few others will be found, which begin and end in G minor (signature two flats), though also played with natural notes ; for B and E being avoided in the melody neither of the flats is required.

A curious peculiarity of tunes written in this series is, that from the proximity of the second and third positions phrases move up and down from one into the other, thus appearing to be alternately in the adjoining keys a full tone apart, moving for example from G into F and vice versa.

The following are good examples of the style.

(x) Gala Water.

�� ��(2) Were na my heart licht I wad die.

�� �