For the Sake of Somebody

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FOR THE SAKE OF SOMEBODY. Scottish, Air (whole time). G Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDDEEFF. The song was written by English poet Allan Ramsay, although it seems the some of it at least predated him:

For the sake of Somebody,
For the sake of Somebody;
I could wake a winter night
For the sake of Somebody.
I am gaun to seek a wife,
I am gaun to buy a plaidy;
I have coft three stane o' woo'--
Carlin, is thy daughter ready?

The song "My Heart is Sair for Somebody" was published by James Johnson in his Scots Musical Museum, vol. 5 (1797, p. 448), however, to a .modified version of Oswald's. Johnson's song was written by poet Robert Burns, who borrowed two or three lines of the first stanza of Ramsay's song. J.C. Dick writes that Burns was unhappy about a melody composed by Allan Masterson, and insisted on a version of Oswald's tune. He adds that since Burns's time a second strain, probably composed by Urbani, has been appended to the tune in the Caledonian Pocket Companion (1760). John Glen concurs and says only one strain was taken from Oswald, but that "for the excellent melody now in use we are indebted to Urbani, in whose Selection book iv 1800 it appears (but not claimed by him) three years after the Museum" (Glen, Early Scottish Melodies, 1900, p. 196).

In the mid 18th century "Somebody" was a code name for Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 5), 1797; No. 436, p. 448. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 4), 1760; p. 30.

Recorded sources:




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