Fair Fa' the Minstrel

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FAIR FA' THE MINSTREL (Mart dhe crodh a' Mheineirich). Scottish, Reel. B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Surenne): AABCCD (Fraser, Stewart-Robertson). "The ancient family of Menzies, Bart., have immemorially inherited the beautiful banks of Tay, which, before assuming their present perfect cultivation, must have grazed some of the finest cattle of any part in the central Highlands. These were, of course, subject to the spoliations of their mire predatory neighbors; hence, when music was well performed, the prize allotted the minstrel was one of Menzies' cows, in other words, 'Fair fa' the minstrel, he is worthy of one of Menzies' cows.' The expression is so common that a better definition of it may be given than this one, compressed within a note, merely to shew the allusion" (Fraser).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Fraser (The Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles), 1816/1874; No. 106, p. 40-41. Köhlers’ Violin Repository, Part Third, 1881-1885; p. 230. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 280. Surenne (Dance Music of Scotland), 1852; p. 33.

Recorded sources: Celtic CX-20, The Five MacDonald Fiddlers - "The Five MacDonalds." JYM003, Up in the Air - "Moonshine" (2012).




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