Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/461

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measures been writl

��SCOTISH MUSIC.

��measures chiefly to many of which words have since been written. Among the true vocal melodies are found for the first time ' Bessie Bell,' ' The Collier's dochter,' My wife has ta'en the gee,' 'Widow are ye waukcn, 1 'Good night and joy be with you,' 'For old (lang) syne, my jo,' 'Allan water,' and ' Wae 's my heart that we maun sunder.' We are thus particular because there is but one known copy of the work in existence. It is now 1 ho property of Alex. W. Inglis, Esq., of Edinburgh. Unlike many, who are chary of sharing their treasures with others, he is at present preparing a fac-simile of the little volume, for private distribution; and it is perhaps no indiscretion to add that some other rare works may follow, with annotations, or possibly a dissertation on the subject of Scotish music, to which Mr. Inglis's well-known tastes have led him to give considerable attention. This work was succeeded^ in 1725 by the 4 Orpheus Caledonius,' the first collection in which the words were united to the melodies. The editor of the work, William Thomson, does not appear to have been a man of much research or to have known very much of his subject. His versions of the airs are frequently not very good, and occasionally he not only uses English words for the tunes, but even includes some English melodies in the work. He was a singer with a fine voice and a 'sweet pathetic style,' was a favourite at court, where his services were often in demand. The volume contained 50 melodies, and was dedicated to the Princess of Wales afterwards the Queen Caroline of Jeanie Deans. It must have been successful, as a second edition in two volumes, with double the number of tunes, ap- peared in 17;i3. Of the words it may be sufficient to say, that though most of them were great improvements on the older versions, some would not be tolerated in any drawing-room in the days of Queen Victoria.

The number of Collections which appeared in Scotland, from Adam Craig's in 1730 down to our owu times, shows how continuously these tunes have held their ground, not in Scotland only, but throughout the three king- doms. Perhaps the most noteworthy of all is Johnson's

  • Miiseum.' It was issued by an engraver, who, as the

preface informs us, intended that its contents should embrace the favourite songs of the day without regard to nationality. Objections having been made to this, he after the first half volume confined it, or at least in- tended to confine it, to Scotish imisic. Its celebrity has arisen from its connection with Robert Burns, Who wrote many of his happiest songs for it, becoming virtually its unpaid editor. His prediction that it would become the text-book of Scotish song for all time, has been amply verified, for modern editors still consult its pages, and future editors must continue to do so. Its first volume ap- peared in 1787, and its sixth, and 1 ast, in 1803 ; each volume contains 100 airs, many of them taken down from the singing of country girls, and never before in print. Much of this was done by Burns himself ; for, as he said, he was ready to beg, borrow, or steal, for the furtherance of the work. It has been doubted whether he possessed suf- ficient knowledge of music to enable him to note down music ; but it has been satisfactorily proved that he played the violin well enough to catch up by ear any easy tunes he heard: that he afterwards transmitted them to Johnson, for arrangement by Stephen Clarke, is known from his letters. The notes written by Wm. Sten- house forMessrs.Blackwood's new edition of the work are often very valuable ; after making every deduction for his persistent wrongheadedness in regard to English music, much solid antiquarian information remains, which must have been utterly lost, but for his persever- ing researches, added to his personal knowledge. He had however formed a theory that the English had no national music, and whenever any tune was equally known in both kingdoms, he presumed that it neces- sarily belonged to his own country, thus sending abroad erroneous notions which have been quoted by many authors who have not taken the trouble to verify his statements.

The songs which Burns afterwards wrote for George Thomson's celebrated work are more highly finished, but they often want the ease, the abandon, which form a great part of the charm of Scotish song. They had to pass through the ordeal of fastidious criticism, for the large and handsome volumes in which they appeared, were intended for the highly educated and the wealthy of the land. The musical arrangements were by Ger- man musicians of the highest standing, whose scientific knowledge however scarcely made up for their want of acquaintance with the style of the music. The work is now only known through the correspondence which passed between the poet and the editor.

The ' Scotish Minstrel ' < lsul-24) ought not to be entirely passed over, even in this rapid sketch, as Lady Nairne wrote many of her best songs for it. The work was pro-

VOL. III. PT. 3.

��SCOTISH MUSIC.

��449

��jocted by a coterie of ladies, among whom were Miss Hume (daughter of Baron Hume) and Miss Walker of Dairy. They thought the Scotish muse, notwithstanding all that had been done for her, was still somewhat frank cf speech, and they proposed to make her better ac- quainted with the usages of good society; indeed, they iifterwards went so far as to propose a family edition of Burns. Erring stanzas they cut out, or rewrote, and as lor drinking-songs they would have none of them. Un- doubted ly these ladies were the unacknowh-dgedpioneers of the Temperance movement. Ladv Nairue, who was always very shy of acknowledging her songs, did not make hersolf known even to her publisher Mr. Purdie but contributed them under the initials of B. B. (Mrs. Bogan of Bogan). There are besides a considerable number of songs signed S[cotish] M[iustrel] which have been claimed for her, though it ia now believed that they were joint contributions, and not the work of any single individual. The musical part of the work waa done in the simple humdrum sort of fashion appreciated by amateurs of those times. It was the work of R. A. Smith, who though not a great musician has written a few simple Scotish melodies which will not be forgotten. His 'Row weel my Boatie,' is worthy of a wider apprecia- tion than it has yet received.

Later works are legion : that edited by G. F. Graham ought not to be overlooked, on account of the care be- stowed on the versions of the melodies ; florid passages being expunged, modern alterations excepting where these were decided improvements restored to the ancient form, and most useful and judicious notes appended to each melody.

One line more maybe added to notice one of the latest and best arrangements of Scotish Melodies, that by Principal Macfarren. To say that it is worthy to stand beside his 'Old English Ditties' is to give it all praise.

What has been so beautifully said of the words of our songs (History and Poetry of the Scotish Border, by ProfessorVeitch) maybe here quoted as equally applicable to the tunes : ' The form in which we now have them must be held as repre- senting the changes and additions, he suggestions and passing touches of many generations, the continuous expression of the national heart rather than individual productions.' [J.M.W.]

��The following contributions from another pen are given as a supplement to the above paper.

One of the most stirring of the Jacobite songs, and to this day often heard, is 'Awa, Whigs, Awa,' which in Hogg's edition is set to the old tune ' My Dearie an thou dee,' from which is taken the melody of What ails this Heart of mine.' In later times, however, it has been sung to a more vigorous tune, which first appeared in the 'Scotish Minstrel,' 1821. It was probably got from Lady Nairne, who took great interest in that work. She was of the family of Oliphant of Gask, well-known adherents of the Stuarts. They were out both in the '15 and the '45, were attainted, and lost their estates. A cadet of the family, equally enthusiastic for the dynasty, re- purchased a small part of the property. That he should sing 'Awa, Whigs, awa' with much vigour is not to be doubted ; and that the following is his tune seems to be exceedingly probable :

Area Whigs, awa I

��A-wa Whigs, a-wa! A wa Whigs, a - wa! Ye're

��but a pack o 1 trai-tor loons ; Ye'll do nae gude a va'

�� �