Annotation:Tweed Side

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X:1 T:Tweed Side M:3/4 L:1/8 R:Country Dance B:Wright's Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances (1740, p. 59) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:A V:1 clef=treble name="1." [V:1] cB|A2E2F2|A3B (A/B/c)|B4 cB|A2E2F2|A3B cB|A4|| cd|e2 (dc)(BA)|e2 (fe)(dc)|B4 cd|d2c2A2|AGABcd|e4 (f/g/a)| e2 (dc)(BA)|f2 (ed)(cd)|B4 AB|c2 (dc)(BA)|d2B3A|A4||

TWEEDSIDE. AKA – "Kilrush Air" (Irish), "Tweed Side." Scottish, English; Air (3/4 time). England, Northumberland. G Major (Geoghegean, Mulhollan, Neil): D Major (Livingston): A Major (O’Farrell, Riley). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Neil): AB (Mulhollan, Riley): AABB (Geoghegan, Livingston, O’Farrell). Tweedside refers to the River Tweed which rises at Hart Fell near a steep-sided valley called the 'Devil's Beeftub' and which, for much of its length, marks the border between England and Scotland. The melody "Tweed Side" dates to the late 17th century where its earliest recorded appearance is in a collection commonly referred to as the Blaikie Manuscript[1] (1692) as "Doun Tweedside". The tune, sometimes erroneously credited to James Oswald (it does appear in his Caledonian Pocket Companion of 1760) was an extremely popular vehicle for airs in ballad operas beginning with Allan Ramsay's (1686–1758) The Gentle Shepherd (1725), who had included it as a song in his Tea Table Miscellany (1724, p. 295). It was also employed, to name just a few early works, for songs in John Gay’s ballad opera Polly (1729), Henry Lintot’s The Footman (1732), Henry Ward’s Happy Lovers (1736), Thomas Gataker’s The Jealous Clown, or the Lucky Mistake (1730), and two works by Scriblerus Secundus, the Genuine Grub-Street Opera (1731) and The Welsh Opera, or the Grey Mare the Better Horse (1731). Its popularity continued through the latter part of the 18th century. Ramsay commissioned new words for the song from Robert Crawford for the Tea Table Miscellany. The first two stanzas go:

What Beauties does Flora disclose!
How sweet are her smiles upon Tweed?
Yet Mary’s still sweeter than those;
Both nature and fancy exceed.
Nor daisy, nor sweet–blushing rose,
Not all the gay flow’rs of the field,
Not Tweed gliding gently through those,
Such beauty and pleasure does yield.

The warblers are heard in the grove,
The linnet, the lark, and the thrush,
The blackbird, and sweet–cooing dove,
With music enchant ev’ry bush.
Come, let us go forth to the mead,
Let us see how the primroses spring,
We’ll lodge in some village on Tweed,
And love while the feather’d folk sing.

As an instrumental piece, “Tweed Side” also appears in numerous publications in England and Scotland, including—to name some of the earlier appearances—the Scottish McFarlane Collection of 1740, Adam Craig’s Collection of the Choicest Scots Tunes (1730), Francis Peacock’s Fifty Favourite Scotch Airs (1762), and Englishman Daniel Wright’s Compleat Collection of celebrated country Dances (1740). It apparently suffered from the vagaries of fashion, for we read in a 1755 Edinburgh concert program that "Tweedside" was "newly set in the Italian manner (for the sake of variety) by Signor Pasquali" (Emmerson, 1971), and it was included in the McLean Collection of 1772, in drawing-room style. “Tweedside” can be found as well in many instrument tutorial publications of the period. The title appears in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes ("The Northern Minstrel's Budget"), which he published c. 1800.

Like most popular airs, “Tweedside” was imported to America and appears in several late 18th century and early 19th century publications, such as Riley’s Flute Melodies, vol. 2 (1817), and the music manuscript copybook of Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery’s invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Montreal from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly’s dancing season of 1774–1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; No. 149, p. 57. Geoghegan (Compleat Tutor for the Pastoral or New Bagpipe), c. 1745–46; p. 24. McGibbon (Collection of Scots Tunes, vol. 3), c. 1762; p. 68. Mulhollan (Selection of Irish and Scots Tunes), Edinburgh, 1804; p. 21. Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 55, p. 75. O’Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. 2), c. 1806; pp. 158–159 (appears as “Tweed Side”). James Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 1), 1760; p. 28. Edward Riley (Riley's Flute Melodies vol. 2), New York, 1817; No. 68, p. 23. Alexander Stuart (Musick for Allan Ramsay’s Collection), Edinburgh, c. 1724; pp. 8-9. Wright (Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances, vol. 1), 1740; p. 59.

See also listing at :
For an extensive history of the song and tune see Cynthia Cathcart's article "Tweedside — For Ireland I’d Not Tell Her Name The Melody and Lyrics of a Traditional Song" [1]

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  1. The manuscript takes its name from the c. 1820's music collection of Paisley engraver Andrew Blaikie.