Lone Vale (The)

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LONE VALE, THE. Scottish, Slow Air (6/8 time). B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "A Highland air" (Gow). This is the air for the song "How sweet this lone vale," printed in Thomson's Scots Musicial Museum, vol. vi (1803, No. 569, p. 588). It was attributed to Andrew Erskine by Stenhouse, brother to Thomas Erskine, the Earl of Kelly (who himself was a musician and composer of some fame). Robert Burns opined to his publisher, "Mr. Erskine's songs are all pretty, but his 'Lone Vale' is divine." The song begins:

How sweet this lone vale,
and how soothing to feeling
Yon nightingale's notes,
which in melody melt!
Oblivion of woe o'er
my mind gently stealing, --
A pause from keen anguish
a moment is felt.

The air to which the song is set is adapted from an earlier tune called "Lord Breadalbane's March," or "Boddich n'am Brigis" (the first strains are the same, while the second deviates). Several Scots songs have been set to the air, including Burns' own "O merry hae I been teethin a heckle." "The Lone Vale" was also set as a song by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). See Lord Breadalbane's March for more.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 548. Gow (Complete Repository), Part 3, 1806; p. 14.

Recorded sources:




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