Lads of Duns

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X:1 T:Lads of Dunce, The M:6/4 L:1/8 N:”Longways for as many as will.” B:John Walsh – Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth B:(London, 1740, No. 5) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G B2|B3DD2 D2F2D2|D2F2D2 TB4A2|(BABc)d2 A2F2A2|B2E2E2 E4B2| B3D D2 D2F2D2|D2F2D2 TB4A2|(BABc)d2 A2F2A2|B2D2D2 D4:| |:g2|Tf3e d2 d4e2|(fefg)a2 TB4A2|(BABc)d2 A2F2A2|B2E2E2 E4g2| Tf3e d2 d4e2|(fefga)a2 TB4A2|(BABc)d2 A2F2A2|B2D2D2 D4:||



LADS OF DUNSE, THE (Buacailli Duinse). AKA and see: "Flowers of May (2) (The)," "The Lass(i)es of Duns/Dunce/Dunse," "Lads of Dunce," "Lads Dance (The)," "Ladds Dance (The)," "Lasses of Dunse (The)," "Lassies of Duns." Scottish, Jig or Country Dance. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The Scottish town of Duns [1] is in the historic county of Berwickshire, in the Borders region. Directions for the dance to this tune were written down in 1752 by John McGill, dancing master in Girvan (Ayrshire), for his students. McGill is sometimes credited with the composition, although it has sometimes been claimed as an Irish air, albeit with little conviction. Scottish and English sources predominate, and in was printed in England long before McGill's dance, in John Walsh's Compleat Country Dancing-Master (1731) as "Ladds of Dunce", in 6/4 time. Early printings also include Daniel Wright's collection, 1735, and the Thompson's Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 2 (1765). This led the Gows to describe it as "Old" in their 1788 2nd Collection. It was published in James Aird's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 2 (1782, p. 19).

The melody also appears in English collections of the second half of the 18th century under the titles "Lads Dance (The)" and "Land We Live In (The)," and in a 1760 Danish manuscript by the Bast brothers. As "Lads of Dance" it was included in the American music manuscript collections of flute player Henry Beck (1786) and fiddler George Bush (1779), and in the Nova Scotia music manuscript of Thomas Molyneaux (1788). As "Lads of Dunse" it is contained in the music manuscript collections of Luther Kingsley (Mansfield, Ct., 1795), John Fife (Perthshire?, 1780), Walter Rainstorp (Cheapside, London, 1747), and Thomas Hammersley (London, 1790).

A number of period ballad operas contain a tune called "Lads of Dunse", including Grub Street Opera (1731), Geunuine Grub (1731), Welsh Opera (1731), Footman (1732), The Devil of a Duke, or Trapolin's Vagaries (1733), and Rome Excis'd (1733), although it is unknown if the same tune is meant.

See note for "Dunse Dings A'" for more information on the Berwickshire town of Duns, or Wikipedia [2].


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1), 1782; No. 53, p. 19. Gow (Second Collection of Niel Gow's Reels), 1788; p. 33 (3rd ed.). Johnson (A Further Collection of Dances, Marches, Minuetts and Duetts of the Latter 18th Century), 1998; p. 6. Kennedy (Jigs & Quicksteps, Trips & Humours), 1997; No. 96, p. 24. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; No. 28, p. 33. Robert Mackintosh (A Fourth Collection of New Strathspey Reels, also some Famous old Reels), 1804; pp. 18-19. Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 28, p. 36. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 354, p. 73. Songer (Portland Collection, vol. 2), 2005; p. 113. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 136. Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 2), 1765; No. 175. Samuel, Anne & Peter Thompson (The Hibernian Muse), London, 1787; No. 8, p. 5. John Walsh (Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth), London, 1740; No. 5. Walsh (Caledonian Country Dances), c. 1745; p. 44. Wright (Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances), 1740; p. 17.

Recorded sources : - Culburnie Records CUL 121D, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas - "Fire and Grace" (2004).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [3]



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