Waulkin' o' the Fauld (The)

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X:1 T:Wawking of the Faulds, The M:C L:1/8 B:Orpheus Caledonius (1733, p. 1, No. 6) N:"For the German Flute" Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G G2|DEGG G2 ge|dBAG E2 DE|GABA GEDE|GABA GEDG| EAAA A2 Bd|BABd e2ga|bage degB|AGEG A2|| g2|eaaa a2 ga|bbag e2 de|g>ag>B G>AB>G|g>aG>B G>AB>G| Aaab a2 ag|edge a2 ga|bage degB|AGEG A2||

WAULKIN' O' THE FAULD, THE. AKA and see “My Peggy is a Young Thing.” Scottish; Air, Slow Strathspey and March. Scotland; Outer Hebrides??, Lowlands. A Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB: AABB (Robinson). The tune was, according to fiddler John Cunningham, a Gaelic 'waulking' song from the Outer Hebrides Islands of Scotland, and "refers to the milling, or fulling, of a web of tween which, in the title, is called the 'fauld'." Cunningham maintains it is thus meant to accompany work, the rhythms corresponding to the pace of the work to be done. Another interpretation of the title is offered by Stuart Eydmann, who, writing in the liner notes of the Whistlebinkies second album (1980), states that ‘waulkin of the fold’ refers to the shepherd’s task of watching the sheep fold at the time of weaning lambs to prevent them from returning to their mothers. This necessitated shepherds staying awake all night, and since shepherds at this time often were older children and adolescents, this occasioned an opportunity for socializing and play to alleviate boredom, as well as an opportunity for young people of the opposite sex to convene away from the eyes of the village. Jamieson’s dictionary (1825) also defines “waulking o’ the fauld” as “the act of watching the sheep-fold, about the end of summer, when the lambs were weaned, and the ewes milked.”

The air was used by Allan Ramsay for his ballad opera The Gentle Shepherd (1725) {lending credence to Edyman’s comments about the title referencing a shepherd’s task} where it appears as "My Peggy is a young thing, just entered in her teens." This song was first published in the second edition of William Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius (1733), while another early appearance is in David Young's c. 1740 MacFarlane Manuscripts (where it is titled “Wakin of the Falds”), a collection "Written for the use of Walter Mcfarlan of that ilk." The words, published by Thomson, go:

Women at the Quern, from A Tour in Scotland.

My Peggy is a young thing,
Just entered in her Teens,
Fair as the Day, and sweet as May,
Fair as the Day, and always gay.

My Peggy is a young thing,
And I’m not very auld,
Yet well I like to meet her at
The Wawking of the Fauld.

My Peggy speaks sae sweetly,
When’er we meet alane,
I wish nae mair, to lay my Care,
I wish nae mair, of a’ that’s rare.

My Peggy speaks sae sweetly,
To a’ the Lave I’m cauld;
But she gars a’ my Spirits glow
At the Wawking of the Fauld.

My Peggy smiles so kindly,
Whene’er I whisper Love,
That I look down on a’ the Town,
That I look down upon a Crown.

My Peggy smiles sae kindly,
It makes me blyth and bauld,
And naithing gives me sie Delight,
As Wawking of the Fauld.

My Peggy sings sae saftly,
When on my Pipe I play;
By a’ the rest, it is contest,
By a’ the rest, that she sings best.

My Peggy sings sae saftly,
And in her Sangs are tald,
With Innocence the Wale of Sense,
At Wawking of the Fauld.

At one time the tune was played by the town clock in Pitenweem, according to Edymann, who maintains that the tune’s provenance is Lowland Scotland rather than Hebridean, as Cunningham suggested.

A descendent of this tune is "Paddy on the Turnpike (1)," while a close variant is "Sandy McGregor's" (Bruce & Emmett, p. 59). In Cape Breton the tune is played as a slow(ish) strathspey. Alvan Robinson Jr. printed the tune as a march in his 1820 volume of New England martial music.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Cranford (Jerry Holland: The Second Collection), 2000; No. 42, p. 18. Crosby (Caledonian Musical Repository), 1811; p. 234. Gow (Vocal Melodies of Scotland), 1822; p. 33. Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 1), 1787; No. 87. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880’s; Set 9, No. 3, p. 7. McGibbon (Collection of Scots Tunes, vol. 4), 1768?, p. 105. O’Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. 2), c. 1806; p. 125 (appears as “Waaking of the Fauld”). Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 1), 1760; p. 92. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 3), 1760; p. 20. Robinson (Massachusetts Collection of Martial Musick), 2nd ed., 1820; p. 54. Robinson (Massachusetts Collection of Martial Musick), 3rd ed., 1826; p. 57. Smith (Scottish Minstrel, vol. 6), 1820–24; p. 90. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; pp. 164–165. Surenne (Songs of Scotland), 1852; pp. 120–121. Thompson (Orpheus Caledonius, vol. 2), 1733; p. 6 (the earliest version extant, says Glen).

Recorded sources : - Green Linnet SIF 1047, John Cunningham – "Fair Warning" (1983). Green Linnet SIF 1101, John Cunningham – "Playing with Fire: the Celtic Fiddle Collection" (1989). Rounder Records 7057, Jerry Holland – “Parlor Music” (2005).

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder’s Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
See a standard notation transcription of the melody from David Young's MacFarlane Manuscript (c. 1740) [2]

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