What pain I've endured since last year

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WHAT PAIN I'VE ENDURED SINCE LAST YEAR (Gur mis hta gu cròiteach o'n uiridh). Scottish, Slow Air (9/8 time). E Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. "This air the editor never heard but from his father; if that gentleman was composer of any in this work, it is the present, although even that, the editor cannot assert. It was, at any rate, revived and preserved by him; nay, more, he repeated extempore words, which the editor never could get a second time, and was not at liberty to urge on a subject which affected him so much the fate of an amiable brother of his, who was one of the sufferers in the Black Hole at Calcutta" (Fraser).

Irish antiquarian P.W. Joyce () finds the tune to be one of a family of tunes wide-spread in Ireland and Scotland. He notes a version--"a very incorrect one"--is included in Edward Bunting's collection as "I will pay them yet" procured from a woman in Oranmore, County Galway. Irish air settings are sung "in moderate time and in the minor mode, but, more generally, as a lively air, and in the major" as in Bunting's tune. He also finds song variants in both Lowland and Highland Scotland:

In Scotland, on the contrary, such settings of the air as I have met with are given in the minor mode, though, as in Ireland, some are set as Andantes, and others as Allegros. Of these settings, two, differing much from each other, appear in Fraser's Airs and Meiodies peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles: Edinburgh, 1816. They are both given as slow airs: one is called "Ionian nan gamhna", or "Driving the Steers;" and the other "Gur mis hta gu cròiteach o'n uiridh," or "What pain I've endured since last year;" and, like most of the tunes in that work, they are very incorrect or corrupted settings.

Joyce finds other members of the tune family as "Gae to the ky wi' me Johnny," which is the burden of an old Lowland song, printed in by Thompson in the Scots Musical Museum (1787), and in the Irish "Cove of Cork (The)" and "Monks of the Screw (The)."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Fraser (The Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles), 1816; No. 153, p. 62.

Recorded sources:




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