Tweed Side

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X:1 T:Tweed Side M:3/4 L:1/8 R:Country Dance B:Wright's Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances (1740, p. 59) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:A V:1 clef=treble name="1." [V:1] cB|A2E2F2|A3B (A/B/c)|B4 cB|A2E2F2|A3B cB|A4|| cd|e2 (dc)(BA)|e2 (fe)(dc)|B4 cd|d2c2A2|AGABcd|e4 (f/g/a)| e2 (dc)(BA)|f2 (ed)(cd)|B4 AB|c2 (dc)(BA)|d2B3A|A4||

TWEEDSIDE. AKA – "Kilrush Air" (Irish), "Tweed Side." Scottish, English; Air (3/4 time). England, Northumberland. G Major (Geoghegean, Mulhollan, Neil): D Major (Livingston): A Major (O’Farrell). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Neil): AB (Mulhollan): AABB (Geoghegan, Livingston, O’Farrell). Tweedside refers to the River Tweed which rises at Hart Fell near a steep-sided valley called the 'Devil's Beeftub' and which, for much of its length, marks the border between England and Scotland. The tune, sometimes erroneously credited to James Oswald (it does appear in his Caledonian Pocket Companion of 1760) was an extremely popular vehicle for airs in ballad operas beginning with Allan Ramsay's The Gentle Shepherd (1725). It was also employed, to name just a few early works, for songs in John Gay’s Polly (1729), Henry Lintot’s The Footman (1732), Henry Ward’s Happy Lovers (1736), Thomas Gataker’s The Jealous Clown, or the Lucky Mistake (1730), and two works by Scriblerus Secundus, the Genuine Grub-Street Opera (1731) and The Welsh Opera, or the Grey Mare the Better Horse (1731). Its popularity continued through the latter part of the 18th century.

As an instrumental piece, “Tweed Side” also appears in numerous publications in England and Scotland, including—to name some of the earlier appearances—the Scottish McFarlane Collection of 1740, Adam Craig’s Collection of the Choicest Scots Tunes (1730), Francis Peacock’s Fifty Favourite Scotch Airs (1762), and Englishman Daniel Wright’s Compleat Collection of celebrated country Dances (1740). It apparently suffered from the vagaries of fashion, for we read in a 1755 Edinburgh concert program that "Tweedside" was "newly set in the Italian manner (for the sake of variety) by Signor Pasquali" (Emmerson, 1971), and it was included in the McLean Collection of 1772, in drawing-room style. “Tweedside” can be found as well in many instrument tutorial publications of the period. The title appears in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes ("The Northern Minstrel's Budget"), which he published c. 1800.

Like most popular airs, “Tweedside” was imported to America and appears in several late 18th century and early 19th century publications, such as Riley’s Flute Melodies, vol. 2 (1817), and the music manuscript copybook of Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery’s invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Montreal from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly’s dancing season of 1774–1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; No. 149, p. 57. Geoghegan (Compleat Tutor for the Pastoral or New Bagpipe), c. 1745–46; p. 24. McGibbon (Collection of Scots Tunes, vol. 3), c. 1762; p. 68. Mulhollan (Selection of Irish and Scots Tunes), Edinburgh, 1804; p. 21. Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 55, p. 75. O’Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. 2), c. 1806; pp. 158–159 (appears as “Tweed Side”). James Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 1), 1760; p. 28. Wright (Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances, vol. 1), 1740; p. 59.

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