Mhàiri bhàn òg (1) (A)

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X:1 T:Mary Young and Fair T:Mairi bhàn òg, A M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Slow Air S:Simon Fraser Collection (1816) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Amin E|A>BA c2d|e2c dcB|e2A A>BA|^G3 z2E| A>BA c2d|e2c deg|e2c dcB|A3 z2:|| eg|a>ba g2f|e2c deg|e2A A>BA|^G3 z2E| A>BA c2d|e2c agf|e2c dcB|A3 z2e/g/| a>ba g2f|e2c deg|e2A A>BA|^G3 z2E| c>Bc d>^cd|e>^de c'2 b/a/|e2c d>cB|A3 z3||



MHÀIRI BHÀN ÒG [1], A ("Fair Young Mary" or "Mary Young and Fair"). AKA - "Mary Young and Fair." Scottish, Slow Air (6/8 time). A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The tune is the opening to a once well-known Gaelic love song written by the celebrated poet Duncan Bàn MacIntyre (b. Glenorchy, Argyllshire, 1724) in honor of his wife after marriage. The air is traditional, one of the many variants of "Gilderoy (1)," but (according to Simon Fraser) words were written by MacIntyre. MacIntyre was "a Breadalbane man, who published a volume of Gaelic songs; the air was previously known, as sung by the gentlemen alluded to in the prospectus" (Fraser). John Purser says the air is one of the most famous of all Scottish Gaelic love-songs (adding that in addition to her youth and pulchritude, Mary brought talents as a fine whiskey distiller to the union). Emmerson (1971) says this "well-known and beautiful air" has the character of the ancient 'ports' of the harper's repertoire. Martin (2002) says the tune is popular both as a fiddle and pipe solo, and that many versions exist, including an Argyleshire one in the Patrick McDonald Collection (1784, no. 139), called "Màraidh bhàn òg," noted before 1760.

Broadwood et al (1931) say that Fraser's version is "embellished and incorrect," and that there "is a bad version in Songs of the North, noting as well:

c.f. also "My Tocheer's the Jewel]]" and notes thereon in Wood's Scottish Songs, and "Adieu Dundee" and "Mary of Castle Cary" also in Wood's Scottish Songs, also "True-hearted was he" (air "Bonnie Dundee") in Smith's Scottish Minstrel, vol. 2." This is very commonly included in Gaelic collections to widely differing variants of the fine tune.[1]

There is also a version in Alexander Campbell's Albyn's Anthology, vol. 2 (1816).


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Fraser (The Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles), 1816; No. 47, p. 17. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; No. 22, p. 49. Martin (Traditional Scottish Fiddling), 2002; p. 60. Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 157, p. 203.

Recorded sources : - Redwing Music RWMCD 5410, Abby Newton - "Castles, Kirks and Caves" (2001).




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  1. Broadwood et al, "Twenty Gaelic Songs", Journal of the Folk-Song Society, vol. 8, No. 35, p. 289, Dec. 1931.
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