My Love is Like a Red Red Rose (2)

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MY LOVE IS LIKE A RED, RED ROSE [2]. AKA and see "Major Graham of Inchbrakie." Scottish, Air (4/4 time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The tune, the original Burn's set his song to, is Neil Gow's "Major Graham of Inchbrakie," printed in his Collection of Strathpsey Reels (1784). Some have called Gow's "Major Graham" "unconsciously similar" in composition to William Marshall's "Miss Admiral Gordon’s Reel." Burn's extremely popular song "My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose" was printed, set to the "Major Graham" tune, in the fifth volume of James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, published after the poet's death in 1796.

O my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.--

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will love thee still, my dear
Till a' the seas gang dry.--

Alternative melodies for the song include "Mary Queen of Scots," which Johnson himself published in the Museum as an alternate air, and "Wishaw's Favorite," a composition of fiddler-composer William Marshall. The latter was published with Burns's words in George Thomson's Selection Collection in 1799. However, the tune most often associated nowadays with the "Red Red Rose" lyric is that of "Low Down in the Broom," another popular 18th century air.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 176, p. 231. Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 5), 1796; No. 402.

Recorded sources:




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