Dairyman's Daughter (The)

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DAIRYMAN'S DAUGHTER, THE (Hoirrionn O! air nighean an àirich). Scottish, Strathspey. E Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. This tune "is the guileless and sincere, but perhaps too candid confession of love, by the dairyman's daughter to her admirer,--but to the simple language of a female heart, uncorrupted with dissimulation of vice, no indelicacy can be attached. In each Highland hamlet or cottage there is always a dog, who acts the part of a sentinel, and is more useful in preventing nightly depredation than locks and keys. If her lover came round in the night time, she takes into consideration that the dog might not possibly distinguish him form a thief, and thus disclose their assignation,--she therefore declares that her faith being plighted to him, and him alone, it was her intention to check the cur, open the door, and hold an interview with her lover, where no other could hear their mutual protestation. The air is of a cheerful cast" (Fraser). The melody also appears in the 1820 music manuscript collection of piper Robert Millar (1789-1861), of the "Forfar Reg. and Piper to the Aberdeen Highland Society," who gives the title in both Scots Gaelic and English.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Fraser (The Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles), 1816/1874; No. 141, p. 57.

Recorded sources:




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