X:2 T:Cawdor Fair M:C L:1/8 R:Reel S:Surenne - Dance Music of Scotland, p. 81 (1852) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:D c | dcBA (Bd)F2 | ABAF A2 Ac | dcBA (Bd) F2 | E2 FA B2 Bc | dcBA (Bd) F2 | ABAF A2 Ac | dcBA (Bd) F2 | E2 FA B2B || A | (Ad)dc d2 dc | (Be)ed e2 de | fedc dcBA Bdce d2d2 | (Ad)dc d2 dc | (Be)ed e2 de | fedc dcBA | Bdce d2d |]
CAWDOR FAIR. AKA - "Cowder Fair." AKA and see "Calder Fair," "Camden Fair," "Cock o' Bendy," "Cockabendie," "Do Boys Do," "Freumh a's Craobh Taigh Challadair," "Go on Lads and Give a Tune," "Hawthorne Tree of Cawdor," "Sing a Song of Sixpence." Scottish, English, Cape Breton; Reel, Strathspey or Highland Schottische. C Major: A Minor or A Dorian ('A' part) & C Major ('B' part) [Dunlay & Greenberg, Howe]: D Major [Balmoral, Lowe]: G Major [Kerr]: D Major (Gow, Surenne). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Surenne): AAB (Gow, Johnson, Lowe): ABB' (Howe): AABB (Balmoral, Honeyman, MacDonald, Stewart-Robertson): AA'BB (Dunlay & Greenberg). Cawdor was originally called 'Calder' (see "Calder Fair"). The tonality of the 'A' part differs from publication to publication, with some ambiguously harmonizing the accompaniment with once a C, then an A bass; on Cape Breton Dunlay & Greenberg note the first section traditionally is played in A Dorian. See note for "Hawthorne Tree of Cawdor" for more on Cawdor, Invernessshire, and Cawdor Castle. Gow (1817) notes: "See Dancing Set in our Dances for 1813" but says the melody is "Very Old." "Cawdor Fair" appears in the music manuscript copybook of musician John Beach (Gloucester, Mass.), dating from 1801, and, as an untitled piece, in Book 3 of the c. 1883 music manuscript collection of County Leitrim piper and fiddler Stephen Grier.
The tune compares in a general way with that to which the nursery rhyme 'Sing a Song of Sixpence' is sung, and possibly dates to the early 17th century, though the earliest printed appearance is considered to have been in Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book (1744) , a copy of which is in the British Library.