Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/460

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448

��SCOTISH MUSIC.

��called indifferently Irish, Eerish, Ersch, and Erse ; so that the Scots themselves would then style the tune Irish while they meant Highland or Gaelic. Of course the air could not at that time be known as 'Lochaber,' for Allan Ramsay did not write his celebrated song till more than twenty years after that date ; but no doubt it had a Gaelic name, now apparently lost. It had a Lowland name however, for Burns found it in Ayrshire as the tune of the old ballad * Lord Ronald my son,' which is traditional not only in that county, but also in Ettrick forest, where Sir Walter Scott recovered it under the name of ' Lord Randal.' As this version consists of one part only, it is believed to be the most ancient now known. Mr. Chappell has recently pointed out that the air seems to have first appeared in print in the ' Dancing Master ' of 1 701, under the name of ' Reeve's Maggot,' so that but for the style England might almost make some claim to the tune. As for the allegation that Thomas Duffet's song 'Since Celia's my foe,' written 1675, was originally sung to it, Mr. Chappell has shown that to be an error. He prints the original Irish tune of * Celia,' and also a very good version of 'Lochaber,' which superseded it about 1730. (See Ballad Society's 'Roxburgh Ballads,' part 8.) Bunting, who claims the air under the name of ' Limerick's Lamentation,' prints what he seems to think is the original version in his volume of 1809. It is certainly one of the worst that has ever appeared, and if being overlaid with what is called the ' Scotch snap ' will make it Scotish, then no further evidence would be required of the strength of the Gaelic claim. The version is so peculiar, and so little known, that it is given below. Much more might no doubt be said on both sides, in all likelihood without coming to any definite conclusion ; the composition of the tune may therefore be left as a moot point ; both countries have indeed so many fine airs that they can afford to leave it so.

Limerick's Lamentation. (Bunting 1809.)

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���It is evident from the examples given by Patrick Macdonald that in the most ancient times Gaelic music was devoid of rhythm. The

��SCOTISH MUSIC.

Ossianic chants are short and wild. They are succeeded by longer musical phrases, well suited it may be to heighten the effect of the Gaelic verse, but apart from that, formless, and uninter- esting as mere music. From these emerge airs still wild and irregular, but with a certain sub- limity arising from their very vagueness. Even when they become more rhythmic, the airs do not at once settle down into phrases of twos and fours, but retain an easy indifference to regularity; two alternating with three, four with five bars, and this in so charming a way that the ease and singularity are alone apparent. The air ' Morag ' may be quoted ; other examples will be found in Albyn's Anthology 1816-18, and in 'Orain na h-Albain,' an excellent collection of Gaelic airs made by Miss Bell and edited by Finlay Dun.

A glance at some of our printed collections of Scotish airs may not be uninteresting.

The earliest, and the only one known to have appeared in Scotland in the 17th century, is that usually called 'Forbes's Cantus,' from the name of the publisher. The first edition of it was printed at Aberdeen in 1662, a second and third following in 1666 and 1682. It was in- tended for tuition, and contains the soprano (or cantus) parts only of short pieces for 3, 4, and 5 voices. The other voice parts were probably never printed, for a few copies only would be wanted for use at examinations and exhibitions of the pupils, and these would doubtless be supplied in MS. ; it is not therefore surprising that none are known to exist. The work was evidently a compilation of pieces, chiefly in the scholastic style of the time. Some of them, set to Scotish words by Mont- gomery and Scot, are probably of home origin ; others are certainly English, notably Morley's ballet 'Now is the month of Maying,' and three ballad tunes, ' For- tune my foe,' ' Crimson velvet,' and ' Love will find out the way.' The first of these set to ' Sathan my foe full of iniquity' Mr. Chappell informs us, was known as the Hanging tune, from * the metrical lamentations of extraordinary criminals being always chanted to it.' The only tune in the volume with any Scotish character- istics is ' The gowans are gay, my jo,' which is written on four notes, and ends on the second of the scale. It is easy to see that popular Scotish tunes were intentionally avoided, as the object of the work was to teach the young to read at sight, and not to sing by ear.

The next Scotish publication is that of Allan Kamsay, who did much to secure many of our old songs and tunes from further chance of being lost by his 'Tea Table Miscellany,' 1724, and by the little volume containing the airs of the principal songs, 1726. No doubt his chief object in this work was to give new and more decorous words for the old airs, and in some instances may thus have secured their coming down to us. His 'Gentle Shepherd' (1736, with music) did the same good office. Previous to this there had been several publications in England which contained a few Scotish airs. 'The Dancing Master,' brought out by John Playford in 1651, and re-issued with constant additions up to the 17th edition in 1721, contained a very few. Two of these may be named, 'The broom of the Cowden Knowes,' and ' Katherine ogie ' ; the former has a close on the second of the key, and the latter, though slightly altered in ' The Dancing Master,' is pentatomc in 'Apollo's Banquet,' 1690, and in Graham's Flute-book, 1694. It must be ad- mitted that the work contains a considerably larger number of English airs, which having become favourites on the north of the border, and had good pongs written to them, are now stoutly maintained to be Sc9tish. The ' Oyle of Barley ' has become ' Up in the morning early ' ; ' A health to Betty,' ' My mither 's ay glowrin o'er me ' ; 'Buff coat' is 'The deuks dang owre mydaddie'; 'The Hemp dresser,' ' The deil cam fiddling thro' the town ' ; and this does not by any means complete the list of our obligations to our southern neighbours. Mr. Wm. Chappell's excellent work has done much to enlighten us on this subject.

The earliest collection professing to contain Scotish melodies only is that published by Henry Playford (London, 1700). His title is 'A Collection of Original Scotch-Tunes (Full of the Highland Humours) for tba Violin. Being the First of this Kind yet Printed.' A large portion of the work consists of dance tunes Scotish

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