Auld Wife Ahunt the Fire

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X:1 T:Ald wife ayond the fire, The M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel S:David Young - The MacFarlane Manuscript (c. 1740, p. 233) K:Gmix c|TB2 (AG) FFcA|TB2 (AG) GGgd|TB2 (AG) FFcA|BdAB G2G:| |:c|TB>c de cdTcA|TBd2 e/^f/ g/f/e/d/ gd|Bcde cc (d/c/B/A/)|(B/c/d) G2G:|]



AULD WIFE AHUNT THE FIRE. AKA - "Old Wife Beyond the Fire (The)." Scottish, Reel. G Major (Barnes, Bremner, Cranford, Gow, Kerr, Lowe): F Major (Hunter): A Mixoldyian (McLachlan). Standard tuning. One part (Hunter): AAB (Gow, Lowe): AABB (Barnes, Bremner, Kerr): AA’BB (Cranford): AABB' (McLachlan). Once popular throughout Britain, albeit in different versions. According to music antiquarian John Glen the tune was first published by Robert Bremner (1757) and Neil Stewart (1761, pg. 12), however, the melody appears earliest in Scottish sources in the Drummond Castle Manuscript (in the possession of the Earl of Ancaster at Drummond Castle), inscribed "A Collection of Country dances written for the use of his Grace the Duke of Perth by Dav. Young, 1734.” All the Scottish printings are predated by the tune’s appearance in John and William Neal’s Choice Collection of Country Dances (Dublin, c. 1726), where the tune is given as “Old Wife Behind the Fire.” English appearances in print (with the Neal title) are numerous, including Johnson’s edition of Daniel Wright’s Compleat Collection of celebrated country Dances (London, 1740), Longman, Lukey & Broderip’s edition of Bride’s Favourite Collection of 200 Select Country Dances, Cotillons (London, 1776), and Longman & Broderips Compleat Collection of 200 Favorite Country Dances (London, 1781). In manuscript form, the tune was included in the collections of Northumbrian musician William Vickers (1770) and London musician Thomas Hammersley (c. 1790). Known also throughout the Shetlands. Cooke (1986) prints the following text to this dance tune, in oral tradition in the Shetlands in the 1970's:

The aald wife behunt the fire,
The aald wife behunt the fire,
The aald wife behunt the fire,
She deed for want of sneezing
She neether deed for kale or salt
She deed for a werrer fault
She deed for want of sneezing.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Neal’s c. 1726 collection [Barnes].

Printed sources : - Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 2), 2005; p. 97. Bremner (Scots Reels), c. 1757; p. 90. Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 8. Cranford (Jerry Holland’s Collection), 1995; No. 164, p. 47. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 1), 1799; p. 14. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 2), 1802; p. 6 (slow strathspey). Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 43. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 2) c. 1880's; No. 115, p. 14. Joseph Lowe (Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, book 3), 1844–1845; p. 8. McLachlan (The Piper's Assistant), 1854; No. 43, p. 24.






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