Mo Mhàiri Mhin Mheall’ Shuileach strathspey

Also known as A Mhàiri Mhìn Mheallshùileach Dhubh, Gentle Mary Of The Bewitching Black Eyes, Mhari Mhin Mhealshuileach Dhu, Mo Mhàiri Mhin Mheall’Shuileach, My Gentle Winning Eyed Mary, My Sweet Mary With Beguiling Eyes.

There are 2 recordings of a tune by this name.

Mo Mhàiri Mhin Mheall' Shuileach has been added to 4 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: Mo Mhàiri Mhin Mheall' Shuileach
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|: B, | "Am"A,<B,E>F "Em"{EF}E>DE<G | "G"G,/G,/G, D>G, B,>A,G,>B, | "Am"A,<B,E>F "Em"{EF}E>DE<G | "Am"A>E"Em"G<B, "Am"{A,B,}A,2 A, :|
|: B | "Am"A<aa>b {ab}a>gg<a | "G"b>aa<b "Em"g>ee<g | "G"d>eg>a ""b>ga<b | "Am"{ab}a>e"Em"g<B "Am"{AB}[A2A2] A :|
# Added by Tate .
ABC
X: 2
T: Mo Mhàiri Mhin Mheall' Shuileach
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
B|A<A e2 e>dB<g|G<G d>G B>AG<B|A<A e2 e>dB<g|a>eg>B {B}A2 A:|
|:B|A<a a>b a2 ga|{ga}b2 a>g g>ee<g|d>e g>a b>ga<b|g<eg>B A2 A:|
ABC

Four comments

Mo Mhàiri Mhin Mheall’ Shuileach

This traditional Scottish strathspey is heard around Cape Breton, although not often, and seems to be favored with older players and the older style of playing. I learned this version from Dougie MacDonald on his CD "A Miner". He heard this tune played by Alex Francis MacKay and Dan Hughie MacEachern. Some fiddlers play the first part in the higher octave, but I’ve only heard it played this way so far. I might pop it to the higher octave while playing with another fiddler. This tune is in the Athole Collection, and James Robertson-Stewart notes that this tune is "very old." If it was already very old when the Athole Collection was published in 1884, then this tune must be close to 300 years old, maybe older.

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Gàidhlig Translation

I believe the name translates as "My Sweet Mary with Beguiling Eyes," but I’ve also seen it as "My Gentle Winning Eyed Mary" or something along those lines. It would be much appreciated if someone could provide an approximate pronunciation of the Gàidhlig name.

Posted by .

Exactly how old the tune is is anybody’s guess, except that it as old, if not older than its first appearance.

It appears in the Elizabeth Ross Manuscript from Raasay, of 1812 (Mhari mhin mhealshuileach dhu - her eyes are dark here!), and according to notes in the annotated edition of the MS, it also appears in the Inverness Collection of 1806. along with several other manuscripts.

X:2
T:Mhari mhin mhealshuileach dhu
T:A Mhàiri mhìn mheallshùileach dhubh
T:Gentle Mary of the bewitching black eyes
S:Elizabeth Ross MS, 1812
R:Strathspey
M:C
L:1/8
K:Amix
B|A<A e2 e>dB<g|G<G d>G B>AG<B|A<A e2 e>dB<g|a>eg>B {B}A2 A:|
|:B|A<a a>b a2 ga|{ga}b2 a>g g>ee<g|d>e g>a b>ga<b|g<eg>B A2 A:|

As for pronunciation, I would have my way of saying it, but I’m not a native Gàidhlig speaker.
Suffice to say that the "Mh" sounds are aspirated "Ms", so would be pronounced as a "V".


The Ross MS can be downloaded here:

http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/literatures-languages-cultures/celtic-scottish-studies/research-publications/publications/staff-pubs

You’ll also find some words in the annotated version of the Ross MS.