Back of the Change House

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X:1 T:Back of the Change House, The M:C L:1/8 R:Reel B:Bremner - Scots Reels (c. 1757) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:D (B | TA>)FAf Te>dBd | TA>FAB (ded)B | TA>FAf TedB(f/g/ | a>)(A A)B (d2d) :| |: (g | Tf>)edf Te>dBg | Tf>efg a>baf | g>af>g Te>dBg | (f/g/a) A>B (d2d) :||



BACK OF THE CHANGE HOUSE, THE. AKA - "Cùl an Taigh Osda." AKA and see "Cadger o' Crieff (The)," "Change Alley," "Cuckold's Song," "Hame Cam Oor Gude Man." Scottish, Canadian; Reel, Strathspey and/or Pipe March. Canada, Cape Breton. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Athole, Goodman, Gow, Skye): AABB' (Cranford/Holland): AB (Honeyman, Surenne): AABB (Bremner). A 'change house' was a 1) structure for changing horses on coaches or wagons, for example, as at an inn, and 2) short for 'exchange house', a commonly found building in rural areas for exchanging goods and services. Paul de Grae says, of the latter, "many of these buildings survive in large and medium-sized towns all over Ireland, though nowadays often converted to other uses such as shops, heritage centres or even public toilets." The tune was printed as "Back of the Change House" in Edinburgh in 1757 by Robert Bremner, and later in the century in Glasgow by James Aird, but Scottish musician and dancing master David Young's inclusion of it in his Bodelian Manuscript of 1734 predates these publications. Young's title was "Cadger o' Crieff (The)." London music publishers Preston & Son printed it around the year 1800 as a country dance called "Change Alley." The title "Hame Cam Oor Gude Man," by which the melody appears in London dancing master Thomas Wilson's Companion to the Ball Room (1816) links it to the popular and oft-collected comic song about a naive cuckold.

The tune was one of the reels (along with "Lord John Campbell (1)") that late 19th century fiddler Archie Menzies used to play when he used to compete for prizes [1].

This Scottish tune is not related to the similarly titled Irish reel "Back of the Change (The)" as printed, for example, in the Roche Collection. John Glen finds the tune first printed in Robert Bremner's 1757 collection.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 3), 1788; No.583, p. 223. Bremner (Scots Reels), c. 1757; p. 93. Cranford (Jerry Holland: The Second Collection), 2000; No. 90, p. 36. Davidson (Davidson's Gems of Schottish Melody), n.d. (c. 1830); p. 27. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 1), 1799; p. 33. William Gunn (The Caledonian Repository of Music Adapted for the Bagpipes), Glasgow, 1848; p. 2. Honeyman (Strathspey, Reel and Hornpipe Tutor), 1898; p. 11. Jones [Ed.] (Complete Tutor Violin), c. 1815; p. 8. Elias Howe (Musician’s Omnibus Nos. 6 & 7), Boston, 1880-1882; p. 620. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 39. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 101. Surenne (Dance Music of Scotland), 1852; p. 23.

Recorded sources : - Rounder 7005, Carl MacKenzie - "Welcome to Your Feet Again" (1977). Smithsonian Folkways SWF 40507, Glenda Graham - "Cape Breton Fiddle and Piano Music" (2004).

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [1]



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  1. David Baptie, Musical Scotland, 1894, p. 240