Farewell to Lochaber

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FAREWELL TO LOCHABER. AKA and see "Irish Lamentation." English, Irish, Scottish; Air (3/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The tune appears in Johnson's Compleat Tutor for the Flute, published before 1740. O'Neill (1913) credits the composition of the tune to the ancient Irish harper Thomas O'Connellan, born in the mid-17th century at Cloonmahon, County Sligo, and remarks that it was a prelude to the piece "Breach of Aughrim (The)." When Thomas died in 1698 his younger brother Laurence, also a harper, though reportedly with a different style, popularized this and other of his brother's pieces in Scotland. [Ed note: the preceding information was probably taken by Francis O'Neill from the late 19th century Irish musicologist Grattan Flood, who was notoriously unreliable--it must be verified]. Words to a song "Lochaber no more" were penned by Scots poet Alan Ramsay for his Tea-Table Miscellany (1724), and begin:

Farewell to Lochaber and farewell my Jean,
Where heartsome with thee I have many times been,
For Lochaber no more, Lochaber no more,
We'll may be return to Lochaber no more.

Both words and music (a simple keyboard arrangement) appear in the music manuscript copybook of Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery's invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Québec from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly's dancing season of 1774-1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York. See also the South Riding Tune Book notes on "Lochaber No More" for a good discussion of a rather complicated history.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Johnson (Scots Musical Museum), vol. 1, 1787; No. 95. Watson (A Rollick of Recorders or Other Instruments), 1975; No. 12, pp. 14-15.

Recorded sources:




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