Cainntearachd (1)

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X:1 T:Cainntearachd [1] M:C L:1/8 R:Cainntearached - A type of Scots Gaelic mouth music sung in reel R:time, meant to be a vehicle for dancing, often with nonsense words. N:Cainnterached is pronounced "Canderach". B:Celtic Melodies, Being a Collection of Original Slow Highland Airs, B:Pipe-Reels, and Cainntearachd, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, c. 1830, No. 15, p. 9) N:"Selected and Arranged by a Highlander." The editors have been N:identified as Finlay Dunn and George Farquhar Graham Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G B|d2 G<d B<B d2|e<c d<B c<AAB/c/|d2 G<d B<B d2|e2e2 d<B (Bc):| |:B<B cA B<B g2|fe e<f dB Bc|B<B cA B<B g2|fe ef A2 A:|]



CAINNTEARACHED [1]. Scottish, Reel. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The probable editor of the Celtic Melodies collection (c. 1830, p. 10), George Farquhar Gramham, noted:

Cainnteaerachd's, pronounced Canderach's, are I believe a species of Music peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland. Before Piano's became so general, they were universally used for dancing at small merry meetings. At larger ones Weddings, &c., there was a Piper.

Two or three females sign together and seldom the dancing drowns the voice for they bawl in their loudest key.

This ancient custom like many others has nearly worn out, but I am happy to say that Cainntearachd, are still used in the islands and some few parts of the mainland. I have often danced to them and liked it as well, perhaps better, then a Reel performed on an Instrument.

The Pipers have picked up the tunes; I have given both sets. The words have in general no meaning and are merely used to bring out the air.

A pipe setting was also printed by Graham, below the vocal setting. Scots Gaelic words sung to the puirt à beul version of the melody go:

O, dámhsaidh na coilich dhubh,
'S ruithlidh na tunnagan;
Dámhsaid na coilich dhub,
Air an tulaich bhóidhich.

Which translates as:

O, the black cocks will dance,
And the ducks will reel;
The black cocks will dance,
On the bonny hillock.


Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Graham (Celtic Melodies, Being a Collection of Original Slow Highland Airs, Pipe-Reels, and Cainntearachd, vol. 1), Edinburgh, c. 1830; No. 15, p. 9.

Recorded sources: -



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