Annotation:Weavers' March (The)

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X:1 T:Weavers' March or 21st of August M:6/8 L:1/8 R:March B:James Aird - Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1 (1782, No. 174, p. 60) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:D ABAG F2 GA|B2B2 TA4|Bcdc B2B2|g2f2 Te4| ABAG F2 GA|B2B2TA4|BcdB c2 de|{f}Te4 d4:| |:f2 gf e2 fe|dfed c2 TBA|Bcdc B2B2|g2f2 Te4| ABAG F2 GA|B2B2TA4|BcdB c2 de|{f}Te4 d4:|

WEAVER'S MARCH, THE. AKA and see "Charles of Sweden,” “Cheat (The),” “Cheat or Swing,” "Come Jolly Bacchus," “Coquette (3),” "First of August (The)," "Frisky Jenny," "Gallant Weaver (The)," “In My Cottage Near a Wood,” “Pretty Polly (5),” "Tenth of June (The)," "Twenty first of August." English, Scottish, March (6/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody, a trade tune and processional march associated with the weavers, was printed by James Aird in his Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1 (1782; No. 164, p. 60). He gave "21st of August" as an alternate title. Poet Robert Burns wrote verses set to the march for a song called "Gallant Weaver (The)" that begins:

Where Cart rins row in tae the sea,
By mony a flow'r and shading tree,
There lives a lad, the lad for me,
He is a gallant weaver.
Oh I had wooers ought of nine,
The gui'ed me rings and ribbons fine,
But I was fear'd my heard wad tine,
And I gie'd it tae the weaver.

Allan Cunningham, commenting on Burns's song, explains:

The air is called the 'Weaver's March,' and is reckoned very beautiful. It has already been stated that every trade had formerly a marching air. Weaver's songs, however, are not numerous ; this is more to be wondered at when we reflect that, perhaps the lads of the looms are the best informed of all operative bodies. Their sedentary employment, engaging the hand and eye more than the mind, enables them to reflect, and reflection has made them, generally, republicans.

The melody was adapted by David Shaw (1785-1856) for his song "Wark o' the Weavers (The)", written for the annual meeting of the Forfar Weavers Friendly Society, much later popularized by mid-20th century folksinger Ewan MacColl[1].

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Barber (Nick Barber's English Choice), 2002; No. 31, p. 17.

Recorded sources : - DMPCD0203, Nick & Mary Barber with Huw Jones - "Bonnie Kate."

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  1. Nick Barber, Nick Barber's English Choice, 2002, p. 17