Annotation:My Tocher's the Jewel

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X:1 T:My Tocher's the Jewel M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig B:Kerr - Merry Melodies, vol. 3, No. 289 (c. 1880's) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Amin e|cAA A2G|Acd eag|edc e2d|cGG G2e| cAA A2G|Acd eag|ega ged|cAA A2:| |:g|gag gec|deg a2a|ged ced|BGG G2e| ABA ABA|Acd eag|ega ged|cAA A2:|

MY TOCHER'S THE JEWEL. AKA and see "High Way to Edinburgh (1) (The)," "Humors of Tallow," "Lord Blake's Favorite," "Lord Elcho's Favorite." Scottish, Jig (6/8 time). A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The tune, under the "My Tocher's the Jewel" title, is attributed to Scottish bandleader, composer, musician and music publisher Nathaniel Gow [1] ( (1763–1831)).

Nathaniel Gow

The melody may have been taken at some time from "Muckin' o' Geordie's Byre (1)," at least according to Scots national poet Robert Burns who in a Cromek's Reliques (1808) called Niel Gow's (or "Niel Gow & Son's") claim of authorship 'notorious.' His opinion was seconded by the collector John Glen (1895), who, however, did not blame Niel but his son Nathaniel Gow. Nathaniel defended himself a year after Burns' accusation by protesting that no composer's name was attached to the melody in the Gow collections, and that, in any case, "My Tocher's the Jewel" could be found as an untitled quick jig in Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion (book III, p. 28). Glen (1895) points out it can also be found, long before Nathaniel's time, in James Aird's Selection of Airs and Marches (1st edition) under the name "High Way to Edinburgh (1) (The)" (for Oswald's piece see the "Giga" section appended to the main tune of "High Way to Edinburgh (2) (The)). Oswald's quick jig also was given another use by Gow who thought it a pretty tune when played slow, and, since it did not have a name, he titled it "Lord Elcho's Favorite." Robert Burns himself wrote a lyric called "My Tocher's the Jewel," contributed to James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, to the tune of the related "The Highway to Edinburgh." Cazden (et al, 1982) identify these tunes as belonging to the protean 'Lazarus' family of airs, which include the famous Irish tune "Star of the County Down" and the Scottish "Gilderoy (1)."

Fr. John Quinn finds a cognate melody in "Lord Blake's Favorite" printed in the early 1880's by Boston music publisher Elias Howe, and considers the Irish jig "Humors of Tallow" to be a member of the tune family. Compare also "My Tocher's the Jewel" with "Bundle and Go (6)" family of jigs.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 3), c. 1880's; No. 289, p. 31.

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