Miss Forbes’ Farewell to Banff

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X:1 T:42 Regmt Farewell. The,(etc) T:Farewell to Edinbourghe T:Miss Forbes Farewell M:C| L:1/8 C:”72…Miss Forbes Farewell”..to Edinburgh S:John Miller MS. Perth (JMP.067), 1799 (for the fife) R:Misc. O:Scotland A:Perth N:”to Edinbourghe” aka Bill Hall’s No. 2..’Miss Forbes Farewell’ written in N:pencil in a different writing N: N:”1” d and c written in pencil above the two G’s H:1799 Z:vmp.C. Graebe K:G GA|(B3B/)d (cB) (AG)|.B2.d2.e2.g2|(d3d/)e dB(AG)|B2A2A2 GA|! (B3B/)d (cB)(AG)|.B2.d2.e2.g2|(d3d/)e dB(GA)|B2 “1”G2G2:|! |:de|(g3g/)a (gf)(ed)|(ed)(ef) g2e2|(d3d/)e dBAG|B2A2A2 de|! (g3g/)a gfed|edef g2e2|(d3d/)e dB(GA)|B2 G2G2:|]

MISS FORBES' FAREWELL TO BANFF. AKA and see “Bill Hall's (2),” "Green Cockade (2) (The)," "Miss Forbes’ Farewell," "Miss Forbes' Return." AKA – "Miss Herries Forbes Farewell to Banff." Scottish (originally), English; Scottish Measure, March (2/4 time) or Country Dance (cut time). G Major (most versions): A Major (Morison): D Major (Howe): E Flat Major (Gow): E Major (Johnson/Cooper). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Morison): AAB (Gow, Lerwick): AA’B (Howe): AABB (Athole, Kerr): AABB' (Skye): AABBA’A’BB (Johnson/Cooper). The most famous composition of Isaac Cooper (c. 1754–1810/1811 or 1820), a talented musician, music teacher and dancing master of the coastal town of Banff in the Northeast (Scotland) who published several collections. It is considered "a good tune" by Collinson (1966), and cited by Glen (1895) as one of Cooper's best compositions. The melody first appears in Cooper’s Collection of Strathspeys, Reels and Irish Jigs for the Piano-Forte & Violin to which are added Scots, Irish & Welch Airs Composed and Selected by I. Cooper at Banff (London, Edinburgh, c. 1806). However, the tune was included one Perth manuscript collection dated earlier, from 1799 (see John Miller, below). The tune has been paired with Robert Burn's song "Bonnie Lass o' Ballochmyle (The)," though he had no part in choosing it. Bruce Olsen finds “Miss Forbes Farewell to Banff,” song and (a version of the) tune, is in Johnson's The Scots Musical Museum under the title "Farewell, ye fields &c." According to John Glen the song was written by an Edinburgh music seller named John Hamilton to Cooper’s melody. His lyric begins:

Farewell, ye fields an' meadows green!
The blest retreats of peace an' love;
Aft have I, silent, stolen from hence,
With my young swain a while to rove.

The melody appears in a number of British musicians’ manuscript collections from the late 18 and early 19th centuries. It appears in the music manuscript of Perth fifer John Miller (1799, as “The 42nd Regmt. Farewell”), William Winter (West Bagborough, Somerset), Lionel Winship (1833, Wark Northumberland), Rev. Robert Harrison (1820, Brombton, Cumbria), Lionel Winship [1] (1833, Moat Hill, Wark, Northumberland), and the Senhouse manuscript (Mayport, Cumbria). In America, it was entered into the c. 1790–1830 music copybook of Cherry Valley, New York, fiddler George White. Yorkshire fiddler and concertina player Bill Hall, from an isolated Pennine community, had a version of the melody, now known as “Bill Hall's (2).” Irish musicians know the tune as "Green Cockade (2) (The)."

The 'Miss Forbes' of the title, according to The Banffshire Journal (Nov. 1, 1881), was:

Herries Forbes, daughter of William Forbes Esq., of Skellater and Balbithan, "who was connected with the firm of Herries, Farquhar & Co., London. Miss H. Forbes was niece of Mrs. Abernethy, wife of Dr. Abernethy, who practiced as a physician in Banff. She was married in 1788 to James Urquhart of Meldrum, whose mother was Lady Jane Duff, third daughter of William, first Earl of Fife. Mr. Urquhart, we may remark, was the Sheriff of Banffshire for over half a century. He was appointed to the office on March 19, 1784, but his appointment did not take effect till the 13th June of the same year. He held the office until his death on November 17, 1835, or for the long period of fifty-one years and a half. The Urquharts of Meldrum lived in the house on Low Street, Banff, now owned and operated by Mr. Leask. Mrs. Urquhart is still well-remembered by some of the older people in the village of Old Meldrum, who also recollect she was the theme of Mr. Cooper's beautiful air.

Presumably Herries Forbes' (b. 1767) farewell to Banff occurred as consequence of her marriage the same year the tune was published by the Gows and James Aird (i.e. in 1788). The couple was married in London, so perhaps this was the basis for the 'farewell' of the title.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; p. 1. Cooper (Collection of Strathspeys, Reels and Irish Jigs for the Pianoforte & Violin to which are added Scots, Irish & Welch Airs), c. 1806. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 125. Johnson (A Twenty Year Anniversary Collection), 2003; p. 8. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 3), c. 1880's; No. 409, p. 45. Lerwick (Kilted Fiddler), 1985; p. 65. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 185. Morison (Highland Airs and Quicksteps, vol. 1), c. 1880; No. 22, p. 11. Page (Northern Junket, vol. 8, No. 10), 1967, p. 9. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 147.

Recorded sources : - Beltona 1670 (78 RPM), David Hutchison ().

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [2]
Hear accordion player David Hutchison's recording at the Internet Archive [3] (2nd tune in medley, paired with "Drunken Piper (1)" and "De'il in the Kitchen").

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