Annotation:My Love is but a Lassie Yet (1)

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X:1 T:My Lover's Butt a Lady Yett M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel S:William Vickers' music manuscript, p. 22 (1770) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:D A/B/c/|dDFD dDD B/c/|dDFD BEE B/c/|dDFD dgfe|d/c/B A/B/c dDD:| |:f/g/|afge fdd f/g/|afge eEE (f/g/)|afge fdec|d/c/B/A/ Bc dDD:|

MY LOVE IS/SHE'S BUT A LASSIE YET [1]. AKA – "My Lover's but a Lady Yet." AKA and see "Big Muddy," "Buffalo Nickel (1)," "Caledonian Quadrille - Figure 1," "Celebrated Set of Quadrilles II - Figure 5," "Chinky Pin," "Chinquapin/Chinquipin," "Crumb Creek Posey," "Cumberland Square Eight," "Darling Child," "Duke of York (1) (The)," "Farmer Had a Dog (The)," "Fourth of July," "Gordons Hae the Girding o't (The)," "Hair in the Butter," "Hornets Nest Reel," "I'm My Momma's Darling Child," "The King's Head" (floater-Pa.), "Lady Badinscoth's Reel," "Lead Out," "Lindsay Munnell Tune" (Pa.), "Love Somebody, Yes I Do!," "Midnight Serenade (1)," "Miss Farquharson's Reel," "Missouri Mule," "Old Kingdom," "Old Taylor (1)," "Reel de la politique," "Reel des montagnes (2)," "Richmond Blues," "Soapsuds Over the Fence (3)," "Sweet Sixteen," "Ten Nights in a Bar Room," "Too Young to Marry (1)," "Too Young to Marry (2)," "Tripping on the Mountain," "Virginia Reel (4) (The)" (floater-Pa.), "The White Cockade" (floating title, Pa.), "Yellow Eyed Cat."

Scottish, Irish, English, American; Air, Reel, Polka (Ireland), Pipe March and Country Dance Tune. USA; New England, Southwestern Pa., New York. England, Northumberland. D Major (most versions): C Major (Huntington). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Howe, Silberberg, Sweet): AABB (most versions). This famous melody has had long and popular service as an air, country dance, quadrille, Scots Measure, reel, pipe march and polka. The most common title, "My Love is but a Lassie (Yet)", was fixed on the tune because of two songs composed to it, one by Robert Burns and the other by the "Ettrick Shepherd," James Hogg, although the tune itself (according to Stenhouse) first appeared in print in Bremner's Scots Reels of 1757 as "Miss Farquharson's Reel." The writer of Gems of Scottish Song asserts that the original title of the tune was "Lady Badinscoth's Reel." C. K. Sharpe says the old title was "Put up Your Dagger Jaime," with the lyric printed in Vox Borealis (1641), but John Glen (in Early Scottish Melodies, No. 134) points out that an air is neither given nor mentioned in Vox Borealis. Glen prints a tune called "Put up thy Dagor Jennie/Put up Your Dagger Jamie," from the Blaikie MS. of 1692, that is said to be ancestral, but it is quite distanced (if indeed, related) from the reel printed by Aird, Bremner et al at the end of the 18th century. The familiar "My Love is but a Lassie Yet" was printed by Glasgow publisher James Aird in the second volume of his Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs (c. 1785), although Samuel Bayard (1981) for some reason said he could find neither the title nor the music therein, but it is clearly in the premier place on page 1, No. 1. A strathspey setting ("Gordons Hae the Girding o't (The)) is to be found in The Athole Collection (1887), and in modern times the tune is often played in a set to accompany the country dance Dashing White Sergeant.

Although of Scottish origin it soon became a popular tune south of the Tweed, as attested to the title's appearance in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes ("The Northern Minstrel's Budget"), which he published c. 1800. Northumbrian musician William Vickers included it in his 1770 music manuscript under the title "My Lover's Butt a Lady Yett." Much further south, the tune appears in the 1850 music manuscript collection (p. 71) of shoemaker and fiddler William Winters (West Bagborough, Somerset, southwest England) as "New Dance/My love is but a lassie yet." 'My Love She's But a Lassie Yet' is also the name of a Scottish country dance, though a somewhat unusual one (Flett & Flett, 1964).

Imported to Ireland, the tune was converted to a polka and played under the titles "My Love is But a Lassie" and "Tripping on the Mountain." The former title was recorded by uilleann piper Tom Ennis and fiddler John Gerrity in 1922 (backed by Paddy Muldoon on piano), while the latter title was famously recorded as in the 78 RPM era by flute player John McKenna and fiddler James Morrison.

The melody also found currency across the ocean and Bayard deems it perhaps the most widespread instrumental folk tune in Pennsylvania tradition, and that it in fact seems mostly to have been known as an instrumental air among folk musicians in general. The tune was printed under the title "Richmond Blues" in George P. Knauff's Virginia Reels, volume II (Baltimore, 1839) and was still cited as commonly played for country dances in Orange County, New York, in the 1930's (Lettie Osborn, New York Folklore Quarterly). In the South, old-time musicians know the tune under the title "Sweet Sixteen" and "Too Young to Marry (1)", among several other titles. Jim Taylor (1995) says the tune in its various titles was well-known to musicians in both North and South during the American Civil War era. In Quebec, the Chevaliers du folklore recorded it as "Reel des montagnes (2)" while the group Trois Copains (Three Friends) used "My Love is but a Lassie Yet" for the second strain of their "Quadrille St-Jean," recorded in 1930 with the figures called in French. See also note for "Annotation:Richmond Blues."

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 2), c. 1785; No. 1, p. 1. Alexander (Alexander’s New Scrap Book, vol. 6), c. 1845; No. 855, p. 11. Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 323A–V, pp. 283–289. Bruce & Emmett (Drummer's and Fifer's Guide), 1880; p. 24. Ford (Traditional Music of America), 1940; p. 51. Gems of Scottish Song, 1894; pp. 176–177. Gow (The Vocal Melodies of Scotland), 1822, 2nd ed.; p. 21. Graham (Popular Songs of Scotland), 1908; pp. 32–33. Hopkins (American Veteran Fifer), 1905; No. 61, p. 31. Howe (Diamond School for the Violin), 1981; p. 60 (appears as a set of "Caledonian Quadrilles"). Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 123. Jarman (Old Time Fiddlin' Tunes); No. or p. 20. Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 3), 1787–1803, No. 225, p. 234. Kennedy (Fiddler's Tune-Book, vol. 1), 1951; No. 57, p. 28. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1875; No. 10, p. 22. Miller & Perron (New England Fiddler's Repertoire), 1983; No. 60. Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 186, p. 241. Ostling (Music of '76), 1939; p. 21. Riley (Flute Melodies, vol. 2), 1820; No. 22. Batt Scanlon (The Violin Made Easy and Attractive), San Francisco, 1923, p. 41 (appears as the second tune in section "Plain Quadrilles"). Silberberg (Fiddle Tunes I Learned at the Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 104. Smith (Scottish Minstrel, vol. 5), 1820–24; p. 106. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p. 56. Thede (The Fiddle Book), 1967; p. 47. Trim (Musical Heritage of Thomas Hardy), 1990; No. 20. Wilson (A Companion to the Ballroom), 1840; p. 65.

Recorded sources : - Cló Iar Chonnachta CICD 165, John Wynne & John McEvoy – "Pride of the West" (2007). Columbia 33296-F (78 RPM), John McKenna & James Morrison (1928, paired with "Dark Girl Dressed in Blue (3) (The)"). F&W Records 1, "F&W String Band." Gennet 5003 (78 RPM), Tom Ennis & John Gerrity (1922. Appears as "Irish Polkas" on label, a medley of "My Love is but a Lassie Yet," "Jenny Lind" and "Rose Tree", none of them an Irish tune).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng's [2]
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [3]
Hear a solo violin recording at the Internet Archive [4]
Hear the 1922 recording of a polka setting by Tom Ennis & John Gerrity at the Internet Archive [5]

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