Marion the Gaberlunzie Man's Daughter (1)

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MARION, THE GABERLUNZIE MAN'S DAUGHTER [1]. AKA - "Mor Nighean a' Ghiobarlain." Scottish, Slow Air (4/4 time). G Dorian (Fraser): A Dorian (Morison). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Morison): AAB (Fraser). "This is a very ancient air, loaded with variations by MacGibbon, Oswald, and others, but still retaining the Gaelic name; the editor supposes from inability to find English for it. He consulted several gentlemen, fond of diving into Celtic derivations, who seemed to think the name signifies 'Marion, the Knab's Daughter.' There are an abundance of Gaelic verses to it, which throw no light on the origin of the name. The air is given as sung by the gentlemen mentioned in the Prospectus, and he has lately heard Scots verses of mediocrity to the first measure of it, which may probably in like manner suit the second measure. The Scots verses begin, 'Blythe was the time.' &c." (Fraser).

Fraser (1816) references the the appearance of the piece in James Oswald's Curious Collection (1740) and in his Caledonian Pocket Companion (Book 1, c. 1743), where it appears as "More W. Inghean Ghiberlan" (a variation of the Scots Gaelic title). The MacFarlane manuscript (c. 1740) includes a version as "Muire 'N Inghean Ghiberlan." Scots poet Robert Tannahill used the first part of the melody for his song "My Braw Highland Laddie."

"Marion the daughter of the Gaberlunzie" (and title variants) ultimately seem to have derived from a broadly humorous, mildly bawdy, song that may date to the middle of the 17th century. There are different tunes associated with the numerous title variants. See the annotation for "Mór nighean a ghiberlain" in the Elizabeth Ross Manuscript [1] (No. 118, Raasay, 1812) for more.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Fraser (The Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles), 1816; No. 209, p. 86. Morison (Highland Airs and Quicksteps, vol. 2), c. 1882; No. 45, p. 29.

Recorded sources:




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