This is not My Own House

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X:1 T:This is not my own house M:C| L:1/8 B:David Young – Drummond Castle/Duke of Perth Manuscript (1734, No. 42) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Dmix A|TF A2a Tf2 ed|TB2 AF E/E/E BE|TF A2a f2 ed|BdAF D/D/D AD:| |:TF A2d BdAF|GBAF E/E/E BE|TF A2d BdAF|GBAF D/D/D AD:|]

THIS IS NO MY AIN HOUSE. AKA and see "This is No My Ain Lassie (2)." Scottish, Shetland; Reel or ("Very Slow" {Gow}) Strathspey. Shetland, Whalsay. D Major (Aird, Athole, Emmerson, Kerr, Mackintosh): C Major (Dick, Emmerson, Thomson). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (most versions): AABB' (Aird). The reel is an old one, a version of which appears in the Blaikie MS of 1692 as "Abbeyhills Rant"[1]. Bonnie Prince Charlie danced to this tune at the house of Lude, near Blair, before the battle of Prestonpans, 1745 {he won that one} (Marshall monogram, 1845 Collection, and Winstock 1970). Country dance directions to the tune were recovered from the Holmain Manuscript from Dumfries-shire (c. 1710-1750). The earliest record of the melody under the "ain/own house" title (which may be seen as a set of "De'il Stick the Minister (2)," is from David Young's Duke of Perth Manuscript (AKA the Drummond Castle Manuscript) of 1734 (where it is listed as a country dance), and Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius, vol. 2, 1733. Glasgow musician and editor James Aird included it in his 1785 Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 2, and Niel Gow printed it in his First Collection (1785) set as a stathspey (which is it is usually played nowadays in Scotland), including the note: “This Tune may be played very Slow.” Niel's son, Nathaniel, published a tune in his Sixth Collection (1822) called "Colonel David Stewart of Garth's Reel," which has occasionally been called a version of "This is no' my ain house," and there are several points of similarity that do merit attention. The underlying harmonic component of both is nearly they same, and the cadences at the end of each four bar phrase, and at the end of the second bars of each four bar group quite similar (almost identical in the 2nd bar of the second four-bar line of each of the tunes). Finally the melodic contours are quite similar. However, it is generally concluded that the two tunes have enough melodic differences as to preclude their being cognate.

Related melodies include "This is no' my ain Lassie/This is No My Ain Lassie (2)" and "Sean Triubhas (1)." Cooke (1986) prints the following text to this dance tune, collected in the Shetland Islands:

This is no me ain hoose
I ken by the tickin o it
Bread and butter were my door's cheeks
And pancakes were the tickin o it.

The couplet is very similar one in “This is no my ain house” printed in G.S. MacQuoid’s Jacobite Songs and Ballads, an allegory for feelings of displacement after the failure of the Jacobite rebellion. Poet Allan Ramsay (1686-1758) cast “This is no my ain house” as a love song, printed with music in William Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius, vol. II (1733). The words go:

This is no my ain house,
I ken by the rigging o’t;
Since with my love I’ve changed my vows,
I dinna like the bigging o’t:
For now that I’m young Robie’s bride,
And mistress of his fire-side,
Mine ain house I’ll like to guide,
And please me with the trigging o’t.

Then farewell to my father’s house,
I gang where love invites me;
The strictest duty this allows,
When love with honour meets me.
When Hymen moulds us into ane,
My Robie’s nearer than my kin,
And to refuse him were a sin,
Sae lang’s he kindly treats me.

When I’m in mine ain house,
True love shall be a hand ay,
To make me still a prudent spouse,
And let my man command ay;
Avoiding ilka cause of strife,
The common pest of married life,
That makes ane wearied of his wife,
And breaks the kindly band ay.

All these versions were probably predated by a children’s song with the title “This is no my ain house.” Antiquarian William Stenhouse, writing in Illustrations to the Scots Musical Museum (No. 237), indicates it is an “old nursery ditty” from which Ramsay borrowed a line or two for the inspiration for his poem.

Compare also "This is no my ain house" with the first strain of "Niel Gow's Recovery."

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 2), 1785; No. 176 p. 65. Alburger (Scottish Fiddlers and Their Music), 1983; Ex. 28, pp. 49-50. Bland & Weller (Favorite Country Dances, Hornpipes & Reels), 1803; No. 22, p. 11. Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 225. Dick, No. 96. Emmerson (Rantin’ Pipe and Tremblin’ String), 1971; Nos. 12-13, p. 131. Gow (First Collection of Niel Gow’s Reels), 1784 (revised 1801); p. 28. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; Set 13, No. 2, p. 9. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 63. Robert Mackintosh (A Fourth Collection of New Strathspey Reels, also some Famous old Reels), 1804; p. 16. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 11), 1760; p. 118. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 105. Thomson (Orpheus Caledonius, vol. 2), 1733; Song 32, p. 172. Young (Drummond Castle Manuscript), 1734; No. 42.

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  1. as per James C. Dick, "The Songs of Robert Burns", London, 1903, No. 96.