Highland Fair (The)

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X:1 T:Highland Fair, The M:C| L:1/8 R:Country Dance B:Samuel, Ann & Peter Thompson - Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country B:Dances, vol. 5 (London, 1788, No. 158, p. 70) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:A A|E2 E>F E>GA>B|(dcBA) (GABd)|cAeA {d}c2 BA|G>AB>c cAA:| |:f|ecAc eA {d}cB/A/|(ec)(cA) (GB)(Bd)|eAcA eA {d}cB/A/|G>ABd cAA :|]



HIGHLAND FAIR, THE. Scottish, Reel. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Gow has "Lasses" in parenthesis with the title, so presumably "Highland Lasses" is an alternate title. "Old," notes Gow. The melody first appears in Charles and Samuel Thompson's Compleat Collection of 200 Favorite Country Dances, vol. 5, printed in London in 1788. While the title 'Highland Fair' may refer to a generic fair in the region, there was a specific "Highland Fair" which was held at Crieff, Perthshire. One English gentleman, who visited the fair in the early 18th century remarked:

The Highland gentlemen were mighty civil--dressed in their short slashed westcoats--a trousing (which is breetches and stockings of one piece of striped stuff), with a plaid for a cloak, and a blue bonnet. They have a ponyard knife and fork in one sheath hanging at one side of their belt, their pistol at the other, and their snuff-mill before, with a great broadsword by their side. There attendance were very numerous, all in belted plaids, girt like women's petticoats down to the knee--their thighs and half of the leg all bare. They had also each their ponyard and broadsword and all spake Irish--an unintelligible language to the English. ......... (Burton, History of Scotland, vol. 8, 1873, note on p. 533).

Highland Fair is also the name of a Scottish Country Dance, and there was a London ballad opera called The Highland Fair, or, Union of the Clans (Mitchell, 1729). A different tune called "Highland Fair" was printed by John Walsh in the sixth volume of the Compleat Country Dancing Master (London, 1754).

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; No. 97, p. 39. Campbell (9th Book of New and Favorite Country Dances & Strathspey Reels), 1795; p. 13. Gow (Sixth Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1822; p. 33. Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favorite Country Dances, vol. 5), 1788; No. 158, p. 70. Watlen (The Celebrated Circus Tunes), 1791; p. 23.

Recorded sources: -



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