Maggie's Tocher

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MAGGIE'S TOCHER. AKA and see "Four Bare Legs in a Bed," "Four Bare Legs Together," "Raking Quality," "Trip to Marrowbone (A)." Scottish, Air and Jig (9/8 time). A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. Tocher is the old Scots word for a dowery. The song, which relates the negotiations around Maggie's betrothal, was printed in Allan Ramsay's [1] Tea Table Miscellany (1724-7, vol. III, Song 230), "To it's ain tune," and by London publisher William Thomson in his Orpheus Caledonius of 1733 as "Maggie's Tocher" (Song 39). Ramsay indicated by printing a 'Z' on the page, that he considered it to be 'ancient'. The song was also set by classical composer Franz Joseph Haydn. The lyric begins:

Allan Ramsay (1686-1758)

The meal was dear short syne,
We buckl'd us a' the gither;
And Maggie was in her prime,
When Willie made courtship till her:
Twa pistals charg'd beguess,
To gie the courting shot;
And syne came ben the lass
Wi' swats drawn frae the but.
He first speer'd at the guidman,
And syne at Giles the mither,
An ye was gi's a bit land,
We'd buckle us e'en the gither.

The melody was in included in William Vickers' 1770 Northumbrian music manuscript collection under the title "Raking Quality, or, Four Bare Legs Together." Jack Campin finds an ancestral melody in Playford's Apollo's Banquet of 1669 under the title "A New Scottish Jig."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Kennedy (Fiddler's Tune-Book: Slip Jigs and Waltzes), 1999; No. 43, p. 10.

Recorded sources:




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