Flower o' the Quern

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FLOWER O' THE QUERN, THE. AKA and see "Tribute to the Queen." Scottish, Slow Air (4/4 time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One Part (Hunter, Neil, Skinner): AABB (Martin). A quern (pronounced 'kern') is Gaelic for 'hollow'. The melody was published in song form by J. Gordon Phillips, Elgin (Scotland), whose words were written as a tribute to a young woman, Mary Morrison. Mary, who lived in Forres in the latter half of the 19th century, was described as "the bonniest lass from Inverness to Aberdeen", but was widowed at an early age. She remarried David Flyslop who was the chauffeur to the Earl of Moray, and lived in a lodge at the end of one of the driveways to Darnaway Castle. The music was composed by J. Scott Skinner as a tune for the song, but the melody also became popular as a slow air. It appears in his Logie Collection, dedicated to another girl, Miss Jessie Stockwell.

The flo-ers grow fair on the lowland vales,
an' green grow the wids on the braes,
an' saft an' low sing the scented gales
in the lang, lang simmer days;
But dearer to me are the mountains blue
where grow the heath an' fern,
an' the bonniest flo'er is the ane I lo'e
that blooms 'mang the braes o' the Quern.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 28 (arranged by James Hunter for string quintent). Martin (Ceol na Fidhle), vol. 1, 1991; p. 14 (includes a harmony part). Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 88, p. 119. Skinner (The Scottish Violinist), 1900; p. 35.

Recorded sources:

See also listing at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]




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