Wedding March from Unst

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X:1 T:Brides March from Unst S:John Stickle (1875-1957, Unst and Lerwick) N:Collected July, 1946, by Pat Shaw for Stickle N:at Baltasound, Unst. M:3/4 L:1/8 Q:"Moderate" B:Pat Shuldham Shaw - "Folk Music and Dance in Shetland" B:Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, vol. V, No. 2, 1947, p. 79. Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G g2|G2G2A2|B4d2|ef {gf}g2 {Bc}B2|AG !fermata!A2 {fgf}g>e| d2G2 GA|B2d2 Ac|{Bc}B2G2G2|G4:|{gf}g2|e2d2 {gf}g2| e2d2 {gf}g2|e2d2g2|e4 d2|e>>f {gf}g2d2|e>>f {gf}g2 d2| e>>f {gf}g2g2|g4 B2|{cd}c2c2 BA|B2d2d2|ef {gf}g2 {Bc}B2| AG !fermata!A2 {fgf}g>e|d2G2 G>A|B2d2 Ac|{Bc}B2G2G2|G4||



WEDDING MARCH FROM UNST. AKA - "Bridal March from Unst," "Unst Bridal March/Unst Wedding March." Shetland, March (irregular time). G March (Brody, Shuldham-Shaw): A Major (Martin). Standard (Brody) or AEae (Martin) tunings (fiddle). AAB. With this tune the fiddler led the wedding couple from the church to the bride's house for the party, accompanied in the lead by a ‘gunman’ who shot a rifle at intervals to frighten evil spirits and insure luck to the gathering. Pat Shuldham-Shaw remarks: "This tune was used to accompany the procession from the Kirk after the marriage service. From almost every house passed on the way there would come a fiddler onto the doorstep who would play this tune as the procession passed"[1] Wedding marches were a common Scandinavian practice, imported to the Shetlands during the Scandinavian colonization period, and Christine Martin (2002) says the march is sometimes still played in Norway. Pat Shuldham-Shaw points out this tune, however, "is really a slowed down version of "Rock and a Wee Pickle Tow (A)", a well-known Scottish dance and song tune."

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Boys of the Lough (Ireland/Shetland) [Brody]; John Stickle, Baltasound, Unst, July, 1946 [Shuldham-Shaw].

Printed sources : - Anderson (Haand Me Doon da Fiddle), 1979; No. 28. Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; p. 287. Martin (Traditional Scottish Fiddling), 2002; p. 97. Pat Shuldham-Shaw ("Folk Music and Dance in Shetland", Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society), vol. V, No. 2, 1947; p. 79.

Recorded sources: -Front Hall FHR 021, John McCutcheon - "Barefoot Boy with Boots On" (1981. Learned from fiddler Aly Bain). Great Meadow Music GMM 2002, Rodney Miller & David Surette – “New Leaf” (2000). Park Records PRKCD90, Kathryn Tickell - Strange but True" (2006). Philo 2019, Anderson and Bain - "The Silver Bow." Shanachie 79002, "The Boys of the Lough" (1973). Trailer 2086 - "Boys of the Lough."



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  1. Pat Shuldham-Shaw ("Folk Music and Dance in Shetland", Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society), vol. V, No. 2, 1947; p. 79