Lees of Luncarty (The)

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X:1 T:Lees of Luncarties Strathspey, The M:C L:1/8 R:Strathspey B:Joshua Campbell – A Collection of New Reels & Highland Strathspeys (Glasgow, 1789, p. 27) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G G|(DG)(BG) (cG)(BG)|(AG)(BG) T(A>G)FA|(DG)(BG) (cG)(BG)||1 (DC)(B,A,) TB,G,G,:|2 Bgdg BGG|| d|gdgd g/g/g Ta2|fe=fd Tc>AFd|gdgd g/g/g Ta2|g(dd)g gbab| g(dd)e (=f>ga)(f|ge)=fd Tc>Afg|e>gd>g c>gBG|B<gd<g BGG||



LEES OF LUNCARTY, THE. AKA and see "Lady Baird's Delight," "Lees of Luncarte (The)," "Leys o' Luncarty (The)," "There was a Wedding in the West," "When You Go to the Hill Take Your Gun." Scottish, Strathspey. G Mixolydian (most versions): A Mixolydian (Ross's pipe setting). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Ross): AAB (Lowe): AA'B (Campbell). Composed by Dunkeld, Perthshire, fiddler-composer Niel Gow [1]. Emmerson (1971) reports that the fiddler's intimate friends believed he composed the popular tune in 1745, when as a teenager he followed Bonnie Prince Charlie and Lord Murray's Highland army through the Luncarty area as far as Perth. He left the cause at that time, not willing to leave his native area.

Niel Gow (1727-1806)

Gow himself noted in his First Collection (1784): "The original name is 'When you go to the hill take your gun'", referring to an older pipers' tune. Luncarty, as it is spelled (spelled 'Luncarte' in the Gow collections), is a village in central Perth and Kinross, Scotland. It was newly created in Gow's time, having been founded in 1752 to house the workers needed for William Sandeman's bleachfields, a large industrial enterprise. However, the title "Leys o' Luncarty" refers to a battle between the Scots and Danes about A.D. 980, which saw the Scots victorious. Local legend has it that a Scottish peasant farmer was ennobled for his actions in the battle, for he and his sons blocked the flight of some Danes by employing a large yoke, allowing them to be cut down. The farmer, an elderly man, was exhausted by his efforts, and leaned against an ancient standing stone called The King's Stone, and puffed to catch his breath. The Scottish king, impressed by his efforts, supposedly said "Hech hey, say ye, and Hay shall ye be," upon which he bestowed the lands between two standing stones to the peasant.

See also cognate tunes "Wedding in the West" and "Lady Doll Sinclair."


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Anonymous (A Companion to the reticule), 1833; p. 26. Joshua Campbell (A Collection of New Reels & Highland Strathspeys), Glasgow, 1789; p. 27. Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 113. Gow (First Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1784 (revised 1801); p. 4. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 81 (as "Leys o' Luncarty"). Joseph Lowe (Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, book 3), 1844–1845; p. 9. William Ross (Ross's Collection of Pipe Music), 1869, No. 173, p. 118. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 171.






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