Cock Up Your Beaver

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X:5 T:Cock up your Beaver M:6/4 L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Brisk" S:McGibbon - Scots Tunes, book II, p. 49 (c. 1746) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G g2 | d4 G2B3AG2 | A3BA2c4e2 | d4G2T(B3AB2) | G2g2d2B3cd2 | e3 def g2d2B2 | A3BA2c4g2 | d4 c2 (BcdcBA) | G2g2d2B4 :| |: D2 | G2g2d2 (Bcd2)B2 | A2a2A2 Tc4BA | G2g2d2 (Bcd2)B2 | G2g2d2 (BABc)dB | (cBc)(def) g2G2B2 | A2a2A2 cBcdef | g2(agfe) d2 (Bcd)B | G2g2d2B4 :| |: D2 | G2(Bcd2) d2 (Bcd2) | A2 ABcA Tc4e2 | (dcBAB)G (BAB)cdB | G2g2d2BABcdB | (cBc)def g2d2B2 | A3BA2 Tc4e2 | dcdedc BcdcBA | G2g2d2B4:| |: D2 | G2g2d2 BABcdB | A2a2A2 Tc4 (BA) | G2g2d2 | BABcdB | G2 (efg)d BABcdB | cBcdef gfefgB | A2a2A2 cBcdef | gfefge dcBcdB | G2g2d2B4:||

COCK UP THY/YOUR BEAVER. AKA - "Johnny Cock Thy Beaver," "Watty's Away." English, Scottish; Jig (6/8 or 6/4 time). England, Northumberland. C Major (Seatle/Vickers): G Major (Howe, Kennedy, Manson, McGibbon). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Howe): AABB (Kennedy, Manson): AABBCC (Seattle/Vickers): AABBCCDD (McGibbon). The title refers to a beaver top-hat, popular in the late 18th and early 19th century among fashionable men; to 'cock up' in this sense would be either to wear it at a rakish angle, to tip it or to brush it so as to make it more presentable. A long variation set is found in Playford's Division Violin of 1684. Other versions (mentioned by Margaret Gilmore in her "Concordances" to Playford's volume) are "The Horse-race" and "Newmarkett", although it has little immediately apparant resemblance to the northern English tune called "Newmarket Races." Piper Matt Seattle performed a musical analysis and found that the underlying harmony from the Playford tune and finds it is the same with the Northumbrian "Newmarket Races", only displaced. He concludes that the melodies became separated at an early date and developed independently (noting that Bewick's, Vickers and William Dixon's versions seem to represent a Border piping tradition applied to the melody). The tune appears the Henry Atkinson manuscript of Morpeth (1694, as "Cock Up Thy Beaver, Jem!"), in the 1768 Gillespie Manuscript of Perth. The name of the melody is among those in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes, which he published c. 1800. Although English printings predate Scottish ones, the tune has a long history in Scotland as Robert Riddell (1794) noted: "This Old Scottish tune has before appeared in print, tho' different from the set here given--"

The "Cock Up Your Beaver" title itself comes from a song, old in Robert Burns' day, which he modified slightly and printed in his Scots Musical Museum. It goes:

When first my brave Johnnie lad
Come to this town,
He had a blue bonnet
That wanted the crown;'
But now he has gotten
A hat and a feather,--
Hey, brave Johnnie lad,
Cock up your beaver!

Cock up your beaver,
And cock it fu' sprush,
We'll over the border
And gie them a brush;
There's somebody there
We'll teach better behaviour-
Hey, brave Johnnie lad,
Cock up your beaver!

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Complete Collection of Carolan's Irish Tunes, 1984; No. 204, p. 137 (variations by Turlough O'Carolan). Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 124. Kennedy (Jigs & Quicksteps, Trips & Humours), 1997; No. 89, p. 22. Manson (Hamilton’s Universal Tune Book vol. 1), 1854; p. 96. McGibbon (Scots Tunes, book II), c. 1746; p. 49. Riddell (Collection of Scotch Galwegian Border Tunes), 1794; pp. 4-5. Seattle (William Vickers), 1987, Part 3; No. 455. Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 2), 1765; No. 179.

Recorded sources: -Maggie's Music MMCD216, Hesperus - "Early American Roots" (1997).

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