Annotation:Little Men of the Mearns (The)

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X:1 T:Little Men of the Mearns, The M:C| L:1/8 R:Strathspey S:McGlashan - Strathspey Reels (1780) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Dmix (d2 d)>f B/B/B e2|(d2 d)>a f/f/f f2|g>fe>d B>de>g|1 a>gf>e d2 AB:| |2 a>gf>e d3f||:d>DA>F E/E/E e>f|d>DA>f d>DA>f|d>DAF E/E/E e>f| d>DA>B d>ef>d|B>dA>F E/E/E eg|1 a>gf>e d3:|2 a>gf>e d2 A>B||

LITTLE MEN OF THE MEARNS [1]. Scottish, Strathspey (cut or whole time). D Mixolydian (McGlashan): D Major (Mackintosh). Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'BB' (McGlashan): ABCD (Mackintosh). John Glen (1891) finds the earliest appearance of the tune in print in Alexander McGlashan's 1780 collection (p. 20). The parts are not even: the first strain has four measures (repeated), while the second has six. McGlashan and Mackintosh, both contemporary fiddler-composer and bandleaders in Edinburgh, printed very different versions of the same tune, albeit twenty years apart. Mackintosh's version seems more "polite", more of the drawing room than the dance hall.

'Little Men of the Mearns' was a proverbial expression dating to the 18th century, and perhaps refers to a middle class of tenants that was emerging between the landowners and small tenants in the region of East Renfrewshire, south of Glasgow. No one knows the origin of the name, but it has been suggested that it derives from the Gaelic an mhaorine, or a 'stewardry'.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - McGlashan (A Collection of Strathspey Reels), c. 1780/81; p. 20. Robert Mackintosh (A Fourth Collection of New Strathspey Reels, also some Famous old Reels), 1804; p. 42.

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