Annotation:Fy Gar Rub Her O'er Wi' Straw

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X:1 T:Fy gar rub her M:C| L:1/8 B:Alexander Stuart – “Musick for Allan Ramsay’s Collection part 6” B:(Edinburgh, c. 1724, pp. 148-149) F: Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Amin V:1 c3B A2e2|(de)(cd) B2 (AG)|c3d e2 (e/f/g)|(ed)(cB) A4:| |:g2e2e2 (dc)|Bcde B2 (AG)|gagf e2g2|ageg a4| g3f e2 (dc)|Bcde B2 (AG)|c3d e2g2|(ed)(cB) A4:| V:2 clef = bass A,,4 C,2A,,2|B,,2A,,2G,,2B,,2|A,,2A,,B,, C,2A,,2|E,2E,,2A,,4:| |:C2C,2C,2z2|z2G,2G,,2G,2|E,2D,2C,2E,2|A,2E,2A,,2z2| C,2D,2C,2 C2|G,2G,,2 G,2z2|A,,2B,,2C,2D,2|E,2E,,2 A,,4:|

FY(E) GAR RUB HER O'ER WI' STRAE. AKA - "Rub Her over with Straw." Scottish, Reel or Air. A Minor (most versions): B Minor (Oswald). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Wright): AABB (Gatherer, Howe, Manson): AABBCCDD (Aird): AABBCCDDEEFFGG (Oswald). The title means 'rub her over with straw'. This tune, found in manuscripts from c. 1610 on, and an instrumental version was printed by Daniel Wright in his Aria di Camera (London, 1727). The melody was later used by Theophilus Cibber as an air to a song in his Scotch ballad opera Patie and Peggy (1730), by Munro (in 1732) for the last a movement of a variation sonata, and by poet Allan Ramsay in Tea Table Miscellany (1724, p. 366[1]) and in his ballad opera The Gentle Shepherd (1725). Williamson says all that is known of the old song is this chorus (although Ramsay produced another six stanzas):

Gin ye meet a bonnie lassie
Gie her a kess and let her gae
But gin ye meet a dirty hizzie
Fye, gar rub her o'er wi' strae.

The word fy or fye has a few meanings; it can be an exclamation or surprise, shame or disgust, or it can mean 'come' or 'hurry'. Gar means to 'make'. Perhaps the best translation of the title, suggested by Ted Hastings is "Make her rub herself with straw"—a curious phrase, although in the context of the lines above one might surmise that it might refer to making a 'hizzie' (i.e. hussy) clean herself by rubbing herself with straw, as one might rub down a horse.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Aird (Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. II), 1785; No. 87, p. 32. Gatherer (Gatherer's Musical Museum), 1987; p. 26. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 152. Manson (Hamilton’s Universal Tune Book vol. 1), 1854; p. 112. McGibbon (Scots Tunes, book II), c. 1746; p. 58. James Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 1), 1760; p. 32. Edward Riley (Riley Flute Melodies vol. 2), New York, 1817; No. 190, p. 54. Alexander Stuart (Musick for Allan Ramsay’s Collection part 6), Edinburgh, c. 1724; pp. 148-149. William Thomson (Orpheus Caledonius), 1725; p. 27. John Walsh (Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth), London, 1740; No. 120. Daniel Wright (Aria di Camera), London, 1727; No. 18.

Recorded sources : - Flying Fish, Robin Williamson - "Legacy of the Scottish Harpers, vol. 2."

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