Comin' Thro' the Rye (1)

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X:1 T:Coming through the Raye [1], a Strathspey M:C L:1/16 R:Strathspey B:Robert Petrie – Third Collection of Strathspey Reels (1802, p. 11) N:Dedicated to Francis Garden Esq. Junior of Troup by N:Robert Petrie at Kirkmichael. Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Eb B,2|E3EE3G TF3EFG3|EE3E3G [G6B6]e2|EE3E3G F3EF3G| EC3TC3B, [G,6E6]B,2|EE3E3G TF3EFG3|EE3E3G [G6B6]e2| EE3E3G TF3EF3G|EC3C3B, [G6E6]||c2|BG3GE3 GF3FG3|BG3GE3 [G6B6] e2| (cB)(AG) (AG)(FE) F3EFG3|EC3CB,3 [G6E6]c2|BG3GE3 GF3FG3| BG3GE3 [G6B6] e2|(cB)(AG) (AG)(FE) F3EFG3|EC3C3B, [G,6E6]||



COMING THROUGH THE RYE (Ag teacht tríd an seagal). AKA and see "Gin a Body Meet a Body," "Miller's Daughter (1) (The)," "Rye Waltz." Scottish, Shetland; Country Dance Tune (2/4 or 4/4 time) or Strathspey. Irish, Slide. E Flat Major (Petrie): D Major (Kerr/3rd, Sweet): A Major (Kerr/4th). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Sweet): AB (Breathnach, Petrie): AABB (Kerr/4th). The title of the song comes from lyrics by Robert Burns set to the tune originally composed by Robert Bremner called "Miller's Daughter (1) (The)." It was published in 1797 in The Scots Musical Museum (vol. 5), though it had earlier appeared in 1796 under the title "If a Body Meet a Body," the arrangement credited to J. Sanderson with words by Mr. Cross. Several sources have noted the similarity between this tune and "Auld Lang Syne," and Fuld (1966) believes they have similar melodic antecedents. The original song was a particularly bawdy ditty collected by Burns (who wrote not a few bawdy lyrics himself) and published posthumously around 1800 in The Merry Muses of Caledonia. Fuld believes that Cross's 1796 words were simply a prurient altering of the original song for public consumption.

The air has been adapted to dancing in a number of rhythms and genres. Jackie Small, editor of CRÉ V (1999), says in his note with the tune: "It is interesting how little reluctance traditional musicians have to use bits of 'pop music', of whatever age, for their own purposes." Multi-instrumentalist John Rook of Waverton, Cumbria, included it in his large 1840 music manuscript collection. In County Kerry it is played as a slide (12/8 time), and was noted by Kerry fiddle teacher Pádraig O'Keeffe in his idiosyncratic manuscript notation. As a novelty number called "The Rye Waltz," it was popular at dances in the southwest United States around 1900 (Shumway, 1990). The tune was recorded from Ozark Mountain fiddlers by folklorist/musicologist Vance Randolph in the early 1940's for the Library of Congress. Cooke prints the following words to the tune, collected in the Shetland Islands:

Jaanie she's a poor body,
Jaanie she's no dry;
Drinkin o' a pirrie cups,
Coming through the rye.

While Burns' begins:

Gin a body meet a body
Comin' thro' the rye.

The Shetland words are mirrored in Scottish piper John Sutherland's late 19th music manuscript collection, where he includes a version of the melody under the title "Jenny's a wet poor Body." The title comes from Burns' song "Comin' thro' the Rye", a stanza of which goes:

O, Jenny's a' weet, poor body,
Jenny's seldom dry:
She draigl't a' her petticoatie,
Comin thro' the rye!


Additional notes

Source for notated version: - melodeon player Denis O'Keeffe (Rathmore, County Kerry) [Breathnach].

Printed sources : - Breathnach (CRÉ V), 1999; No. 77, p. 39. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 3), c. 1880's; No. 370, p. 41. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 4), c. 1880's; No. 4, p. 3. Petrie (Third Collection of Strathspey Reels), c. 1802; p. 11. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p. 17.

Recorded sources: -Folkways FG 3553, Neil A. Duddy - "Donegal Piper, vol. 2" (1964). Veteran VT111, Francis Shergold - "Greeny Up" (1988. Recorded from Bampton, England, morris dance musicians).



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