Hard is My Fate

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HARD IS MY FATE (Nach truagh mo chàs). Scottish, Slow Air (4/4 time, "Slow and plaintive"). B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Fraser): AABB (Alburger, Hunter). "This delightful melody has been attached to a supposed soliloquy of Prince Charles on the night after his defeat at Culloden. The editor's mother, with her elder sister, then little girls, were, from the crowd which the presence of the Prince and Lord Lovat brought to their father's house, stowed into a small apartment or closet betwixt the Prince's bedchamber and another, having a door of communication with both when requisite. The whispers of the little girls, in terror of making noise, produced suspicion in the Prince's breast of having been betrayed. Their door was secured; but how they must have been astonished to hear him knock, and exclaim with agitation 'Open, open!'--when, upon their reluctantly opening the door, he presented a visage of consternation which they could never forget, easier to be imagined than described. It however gave them the best opportunity they had of viewing his person; and his only exclamation which they understood was 'Hard is my fate, when the innocent prattle of children could annoy me so much.'" (Fraser). Alburger suggests that this tune may be an unacknowledged composition of Fraser's, "writing music associated with the past in the same way that Burns and Hogg wrote poems and songs with historic connections and, by not acknowledging the them as theirs, left the reader to think he would" (Alburger).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Alburger (Scottish Fiddlers and Their Music), 1983; ex. 98, p. 163. Fraser (The Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles), 1874; No. 125, p. 49. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 53.

Recorded sources:

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