Annotation:John Bain's Sister's Wedding

Find traditional instrumental music

X:1 T:John Bain's Sister's Wedding M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig S:Kerr - Merry Melodies, vol. 3, No. 287 (c. 1880's) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Amin e | c2A AAA | agf e2d | c2A AAA | d2c B2d | c2A AAA | agf e2d | c2A BGB | A3 A2 :| |: e | A2B c2c | d2c cBc | d2c Bcd | e2A A2e | f2g agf | e2d c2a | c2A BGB | A3 A2 :|]

JOHN BAIN'S SISTER'S WEDDING. AKA - "Fair John's Sister's Wedding," "Ian Ban's Sister's Wedding," "John Bàn's Sister's Wedding." Scottish, Jig (6/8 time). A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "John Bain's Sister's Wedding" has a long history in both vocal and instrumental versions, set as both a slow air and and a dance tune. The first appearance of the melody (to be rendered 'briskly') is in Patrick MacDonald’s Highland Vocal Airs (1784), under the title "Posadh peathair In bhain" (which translates as "The wedding of John Bàn's sister," in the section of airs from the Western Isles. Donald MacDonald printed the tune in 1828 in his Collection of Quicksteps, Strathspeys, Reels and Jigs (Edinburgh, p. 60), set as a bagpipe tune, also with the title (and spelling variant) "Posadh Piuhar Iain Bhain."

The first verse and chorus of the comic song[1] go:

‘N uair chaidh sinn a mach ri na h-aonaichean
Bha ceo, bh sneachda, bha gaoth aginn;
Bha sinne cho geal ri na faoileagan
Aig posadh piuthar Iain Bhain.

I hu ro ho, i ho ro ho,
Cuiridh mi luinneag an ordugh dhuibh
I hu ro ho, i ho ro ho,
Air posadh piuthar Iain Bhain.

Scottish musician, collector, composer and writer wikipedia:Alfred_Edward_Moffat (1863–1950) in a footnote explained that a set of different Gaelic words by Malcolm MacFarlane were written in the 19th century (whose first line of the chorus goes: "Seinn hiribh o, hiuraibh o, hugaibh o hi,"):

...the original words being unsatisfactory, Mr. Malcolm MacFarlane of Elderslie wrote new Gaelic verses to the melody at the request of Mr. Archibald Ferguson, conductor of the Gaelic St. Columba Choir, Glasgow. For the excellent translation of these verses Mr. Alexander Stewart, Polmont, was awarded a prize by An Comunn Gaidhealach.

The song with Stewart's English translation was published in Moffat's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Highlands (1896, pp. 204-205) with the title "Sing cheerilie, couthilie, merrie and free," subtitled "My ain hoose." The English chorus goes:

Sing cheerilie, couthilie, merrie and free,
O this is the oor of sweet solace for me;
When wearied wi’ toilin’ out owre the green lea
I toddle wi’ glee to my ain hoose.

The tune was widely disseminated in the 20th century as the slow air and song "My Own House" (AKA "My ain hoose", "Mo dhachaigh"), albeit much adapted from the original melody.

Fr. John Quinn finds Francis O'Neill's "Long John's Wedding" to be a major-mode variant of this tune. The Scottish tune "My Wife’s a Wanton Wee Thing (1)" shares some of the same melodic material at the cadence.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 3), c. 1880's; No. 287, p. 31. Donald MacDonald (Collection of Quicksteps, Strathspeys, Reels, & Jigs), Edinburgh, 1828; p. 60 (as "Posadh Piuhar Iain Bhain"). John MacFadyen ( 2nd Collection of Bagpipe Music), 1973 (appears as "Ian Ban's Sister's Wedding").

Back to John Bain's Sister's Wedding

(0 votes)

  1. All twelve verses, as sung by Mr. Fraser Campbell at the Highland Ceilidh of the Inverness at the meeting of 25 April, 1885, are recorded in Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, vol. 10, p. 265.