Miscellaneous Music

[Old Scottish Music Contents]

The music here is of unknown origin. Paul Burns has very wonderfully brought them back to life for us.

Firstly we have Greysteil, said to be “for certain as old as 1627, and presumed to be traditional from at least 1497,” and it’s had me curious for a wee while. Had I been able to play it when I first came across it, this may very well have been the RSH theme tune. I am in no way proficient enough at the piano to have tackled it, however, but Paul has outdone himself with his rendition.

For this next one, Paul says, “I have adapted a melody of two tunes. Part one is titled Major Graham of Inchbrakie (the tune preferred by Rabbie Burns for My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose) and part two is titled Down in the Broom albeit the better-known version.

I was reading the post about about ‘Three Hundred Animals‘ (1812) and I thought of Battle of the Birds and it linked me to Battle of Harlaw.

There are many verses but I have shortened the (1411) tune for listening:

As I cam’ in by Dunideer and doon by Nether Ha’
There were fifty thoosand’ heilan’ men a-marchin’ tae Harlaw.

Chorus (after each verse):
Wi’ a diddy aye o’ an’ a fal an’ doe
And a diddy aye o’ aye ay.

As I gaed on an’ farther on and doon an’ by Balquhain
Oh it’s there I saw Sir James the Rose and wi’ him John the Graeme.

“It’s cam’ ye fae the Heilan’s man, cam’ ye a’ the wey?
Saw ye MacDonald and his men as they cam’ in fae Skye?”

“It’s I was near and near eneuch that I their numbers saw
There was fifty thoosan’ heilan’ men a-marchin’ tae Harlaw.”

“Gin that be true,” says James the Rose, “We’ll no cam’ muckle speed
We’ll cry upon wir merry men and turn wir horse’s heid.”

“Oh na, o’ na,” says John the Graeme, “This thing will nivver be
The gallant Graemes wis nivver beat, we’ll try fit we can dae.”

Well, as I gaed on an’ further on an’ doon an’ by Harlaw
There fell fu’ close on ilka side sic straiks ye nivver saw.

There fell fu’ close on ilka side sic straiks ye nivver saw
An’ ilka sword gaed clash for clash at the Battle of Harlaw.

The Heilan’ men wi’ their lang swords, they laid on us fu’ sair
And they drave back wir merry men three acres breadth and mair.

An’ Forbes tae his brither did say, “Noo brither, can’t ye see
They’ve beaten us back on ilka side and we’ll be forced tae flee.”

“Oh na, na, my brither bold, this thing will nivver be
Ye’ll tak yer guid sword in yer haun’, ye’ll gang in wi’ me.”

Well, it’s back tae back the brithers bold gaed in amangst the thrang
And they drave back the heilan’ men wi’ swords baith sharp and lang.

An’ the firstan stroke that Forbes struck, he gart MacDonald reel
An’ the neistan straik that Forbes struck, the brave MacDonald fell.

An siccan a ptlairchie o’ the likes ye nivver saw
As wis amangst the Heilan’ men fan they saw MacDonald fa’.

Some rade, some ran and some did gang, they were o’ sma’ record
For Forbes and his merry men, they slew them on the road.

O’ fifty thoosan’ Heilan’ men, but fifty-three gaed hame
And oot o’ a’ the Lawlan’ men, fifty marched wi’ Graeme.

Gin onybody spier at ye for them that marched awa’
Ye can tell them plain and very plain they’re sleepin’ at Harlaw.

Staying with the Battle of Harlaw (1411), I have arranged a new fiddle version of the tune “Major Donald’s Mairch Tae Harlaw.”

“Dae ye hear the Battle Cry!

Intae battle we say aye!”

Donuil Dhu’ was Donald Cameron, a kinsman of Donald, second Lord of the Isles.

In 1411 Donald set out to claim the Earldom of Ross. Donuil Dhu supported him.

Although successful in taking control of many areas he could not secure the Earldom of Ross. The Battle of Harlaw which was fought in Aberdeenshire against the King’s Army was brutal but proved inconclusive.

My tune today, Pibroch O Donuil Dhu, was published in 1822 however the music I play is a variation in Key of A major not  B flat as in the printed music, as a personal choice.

Here is a copy of the original B flat tune;

This is music from an Article by Ellen L Beard.

Nuair Nach Eil Leughadh Gu Leor (When Reading Is Not Enough)

The article relates to Rob Donn Mackay, who lived in Durness Parish Sutherland and was known as a non-literate poet/ bard

The song is in Gaelic and here is the translation from the article.

First man who travels to Sutherland, take word to Clever John of the verses.
Isn’t his body handsome and shapely, and deformed the soul within it.
The flatterer of the avaricious hollow eyes, completely filled by greed,
Praised the shrivel-arsed, splay-footed, lichen-covered old person, and was proved
to a hundred to be false.

Scots Wha Hae, a poem written by Robert Burns 1793.

Poetry of Robert Burns,’ vol. iii, p.251.

Based on the words used by Robert the Bruce before the battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

The music here is the familiar version in use today, however Burns had a different tune in mind.

Following on from the above upload, Paul now presents the original tune that was the first choice of Rabbie Burns for his poem.

The tune is known as Hey Tutti Tatti, circa 1746.

Please Thank Paul for his Contribution to the preservation of Scottish History by

Buying Him a Coffee ☕

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