Loch Erroch Side

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X:2 T:Loch Erroch Side, a Strathspey M:C L:1/8 C:"Composed by Niel Gow & his 2nd Wife." B:Gow - 2nd Collection of Niel Gow's Reels, 3rd ed., p. 7 (1788) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:C G/F/|(EG)~G>A (c/B/c/d/) c2|TA>GAc (d/c/d/e/) dD|(EG)G>A Tc>d {c/d/}e>d|Tc>A (G/A/c/).E/ TD2 CG/F/| EG~G>A (c/B/c/d/) c2|TA>GAc (d/c/d/e/) dD|EG~G>A Tc>d {c/d/}e>d|Tc>A (G/A/c/).E/ TD2C|| g/f/|eg c(e/f/) (g/f/).e/f/ {e/f/}g2|fa d(f/g/) (a/g/).f/.g/ ag/f/|eg c(e/f/) (g/f/).e/.f/ g>c|G>ce>c Td2 c(g/f/)| eg c(e/f/) (g/f/).e/.f/ gf/e/|fa d(f/g/) (a/g/).f/.g/ ag/f/|e>gd>e ~c>Gca|cGc>E TD2 C||

LOCH ERROCH SIDE. AKA – "Loch Eireachd Side," "Loch Ericht Side." AKA and see - Lass o' Gowrie (1), Niel Gow's Second Wife (1), Loch Ericht Side, Over the Hills to Glory, Lakes of Sligo (The), Tom Billy's Polka (2), Loch Eireachd Side, Rocky Road to Dublin (4) (The), Real Scotch Polkas No. 3

Scottish, Air or Slow Strathspey. D Major (Cole): C Major (Alburger, Athole, Campbell, Kerr, Skye). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Alburger, Cole, McGlashan, Skye): AAB (Athole): AABB (Kerr): AABCCD (Campbell). Loch Erroch is the largest lake in Perthshire. This tune may have been composed by Niel Gow, who played it for Robert Burns when the latter visited him in Dunkeld in October, 1787 (though in later life Burns did not support Gow's authorship).

Burns long afterwards wrote the lyric "Oh, stay, sweet warbling woodlark, stay!" to the tune. Gow attributed it to both "Niel Gow & his 2nd Wife" (i.e. Margaret Urquhart) in his publication Second Collection, 2nd edition, 1803 (repeated in the 3rd edition), but a prior claim existed to the tune from Alexander McGlashan, who published it earlier under the same title in his Third Collection, 1786. In fact, when Gow first published it (in his Second Collection, 1st edition, 1788), he left it un-attributed, and only claimed authorship for he and Margaret in the 2nd edition of his collection.

The tune is similar to "I'm O'er Young to Marry Yet (3)" (in the first strain), which Stenhouse called the "progenitor of that fine modern strathspey "Loch Erroch Side"," but Alburger (1983) is of the opinion only that "it is likely Gow was unconsciously influenced by that earlier piece, but no more than that." The tune first appeared in print in 1786 (i.e. in McGlashan), a year before Burns' visit to Gow, according to Glen.

The melody, as both a tune and song air, proved popular and appears in a number of late 18th/early 19th century publications. James Johnson included it as a song in The Scots Musical Museum, vol. 1 (1787, pp. 78–79), as did David Sime in The Edinburgh Musical Miscellany (1793, pp. 358–359). The lyric, by James Tytler (1745–1804), begins:

As I came by Loch Eroch side,
The lofty hills surveying,
The water clear, the heather blooms,
Their fragrance sweet conveying;
I met, unsought, my lovely maid,
I found her like May morning;
With graces sweet, and charms so rare,
Her person all adorining.

Tytler's balloon was a barrel-shaped balloon heated by a stove rather than an open fire
James Tytler

Tytler earned the nickname "Balloon Tytler" from his 1784 ascent from Comely Gardens, Edinburgh, in a hot-air balloon—the first such in Scotland. He was educated for the church, and switched to medicine, but was occupied for much of his life in literary and chemical investigations as an apothecary. He is also justly famous as the editor and principal compiler of the original Encyclopedia Britannica.

However, despite these successes, Tytler was often in poverty and his literary writings, save his essays, have been criticized; his reputation was not helped by the fact that he took on "hack work for low pay." Socially, he has been described as an outcast, and he had to flee his native Scotland several times due to (variously) financial and political trouble, forcing him to finally flee to Belfast and then America. Even his aerial adventures ended in ridicule as his attempts after his first success were less than spectacular.

In one humiliating experience, his balloon only rose significantly after he descended from the attached basket, disappointing the crowd and even leading to charges of cowardice. He was soon overshadowed by the more spectacular balloon ascents of Vincenzo Lunardi, the handsome and entrepreneurial Italian 'Daredevil Aeronaut' whose success inspired ladies' fashions in skirts and hats (the "Lunardi bonnet" is mentioned in the poem "To a Louse" by Robert Burns).

Tytler died in Massachusetts in 1804.

Early American printings of "Loch Erroch" were published in Carr's The Caledonian Muse (Philadelphia, 1798, pp. 165–66), and Thomas Ball's Gentleman's Amusement Book 2 (Norfolk, 1815, p. 36).

Nigel Gatherer found the following passage in an old book called The Fiddle in Scotland (n.d.) by Alexander G. Murdoch, from an account by Peter Stewart, who accompanied Niel Gow during the Burns visit:

Arriving at Dunkeld, [Burns]...put up at the principal inn...[He] was fortunate in making the acquaintance of Dr. Stewart, an enthusiastic amateur violin player. At the dinner table he quoted to his guests the well-known local ditty-

Dunkeld it is a little toon,
An' lies intil a howe;
An' if ye want a fiddler loon,
Spier ye for Niel Gow.

Burns expressed much delight at the proposal...a visit was at once agreed to.

The greeting was a cordial one on both sides, and the meeting of Burns and Gow – both geniuses of the first order in their respective lines – was mutually worthy of each other. The magician of the bow gave them a selection of north-country airs mostly of his own spirited composition. The first tune was "Loch Erroch Side" which greatly delighted the poet, who long afterwards wrote for the same melody his touching lyric "Oh, stay, sweet warbling woodlark, stay!"

At Burns's request, Niel next gave them his pathetic "Lament for Abercairney" and afterwards one of the best-known compositions in the Highlands, "McIntosh's Lament". "Tullochgorum" was also duly honoured, after which the whole party adjourned to the little old-fashioned inn at Inver, where there was a famous deoch, or parting friendly drink.

An unusual Scottish country dance called Loch Erichtside (from Roxburghshire and West Berwickshire) was one of the relatively few dances wholly or in part in strathspey time in the early 10th century (Flett & Flett, 1964). See also the related Irish polka settings, such as "Lakes of Sligo (The)."

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 3), 1788; No. 543. Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; No. 65, p. 26. Alburger (Scottish Fiddlers and Their Music), 1983; Ex. 66, pp. 105-106. Joshua Campbell (A Collection of New Reels & Highland Strathspeys), Glasgow, 1789; pp. 26-27. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 128. Crosby (Caledonian Musical Repository), 1811; p. 102. Gale (Pocket Companion), c. 1800; p. 39. Gow (Second Collection of Niel Gow's Reels), 1788, 3rd ed.; p. 7. Gow (The Beauties of Niel Gow, vol. 1); p. 20. Gow (Second Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1788; p. 7. Graham (Popular Songs of Scotland), 1908; pp. 234–235. Gow & Shepherd (Complete Repository), p. 22. Henderson (Flowers of Scottish Melody), 1935; no. 115, p. 49. Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 1), 1787; No. 78. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 2); No. 76, p. 11. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 159. McGlashan (Collection of Reels), 1781; p. 46. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 167. Smith (Scottish Minstrel, vol. 2), 1820–24, p. 66. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 60. Tracy's Selection of the Present Favorite Country Dances, Dublin, c. 1795; no. 11. Wilson (A Companion to the Ballroom), 1816; p. 34.

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [1]

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