Put Me In The Big Chest reel

Also known as Beaton’s Last, Big Coffin, Cuir Sa Chiste Mhoir Mi, Cuir Sa’ Chiste Mhoir Mi, Cuir’s A’Chiste Mhoir Mi, Cur Dhan Chiste Mhor Mi, Lying In The Casket, Lying In The Coffin, Miss Cruickshank’s, Old Time Wedding Reel #3, Put Me In The Box, Put Me In The Chest, Put Me In The Great Chest.

There are 14 recordings of a tune by this name.

Put Me In The Big Chest has been added to 79 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Nine settings

X: 1
T: Put Me In The Big Chest
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
|:F|EFAB c2 cf|ecBA F2 AF|EFAB c2 cf|ecBc A3:|
|:c|efec eAAc|efec B3 c|efec efaf|ecBc A3:|
ABC
X: 2
T: Put Me In The Big Chest
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
|:AF|EFAB c2 af|ecBA F2 AF|EFAB c2 ca|ecBc A2:|
|:Ac|efec eAAe|faec BABc|efec efac|BAcB A2:|
ABC
X: 3
T: Put Me In The Big Chest
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
EFAB c3 f | ecBA FAAF | EFAB c^Bcf | ecBG A2 :|
e2 ec eA (3AAA | efec B^ABc | ~e3 c e ~f3 | ec (3BAG A2 :|
ABC
X: 4
T: Put Me In The Big Chest
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
EFAB c2 af | ecBA F2 AF | EFAB c2 ca | ecBc A2 :|
efec eAae | faec BABc | efec efac | ecBc A2 :|
ABC
X: 5
T: Put Me In The Big Chest
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
EFAB c2 cf | ecBA F/F/F F2 | EFAB c cf | ecBc A/A/A A :|
Efec eAAc | efec BABc | efec efaf | ecBc A/A/A A :|
ABC
X: 6
T: Put Me In The Big Chest
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
| ecBA F2 FA | ~or~ | cBce f/f/f f2 |
ABC
X: 7
T: Put Me In The Big Chest
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: FGBd e2 eg | fdcB cBGB | FGBd e2 eg | fdcd B/B/B B2 :|
gaba gfed | cBcd BGGf | gaba gfed | cBcd B/B/B B2 |
gaba gfed | cBcd BGGB | FGBc defg | fdcd B/B/B B2 ||
|: EFAc d2 df | ecBA BAFA | EFAc d2 df | ecBc A/A/A A2 :|
fgag fedc | BABc AFFe | fgag fedc | BABc A/A/A A2 |
fgag fedc | BABc AFFA | EFAB cdef | ecBc A/A/A A2 ||
|: DEGB c2 ce | dBAG AGEG | DEGB c2 ce | dBAB G/G/G G2 :|
efgf edcB | AGAB GEEd | efgf edcB | AGAB G/G/G G2 |
efgf edcB | AGAB GEEG | DEGA Bcde | dBAB G/G/G G2 ||
ABC
X: 8
T: Put Me In The Big Chest
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
z | EFAB c2 cf | ecBA F2 AF | EFAB cBcf | ecBc A3 :|
c | efec eAAc | efec BABc | efec efaf | ecBc A3 :|
z | EFAB c2 cB | c2 cB ce f2 | EFAB cBcf | ecBc A3 :|
c | efec eAAc | efec BABc | efec efaf | ecBc A/A/A A :|
ABC
X: 9
T: Put Me In The Big Chest
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
|: E | EFAB c2 Bc | dBcA F<F F2 | EFAB c2 Bc |[1 ecac A<A A :|[2 ecac A<A A2 ||
ceea ecAc | dBcA F<F F2 | cdea ecAc | dBec A<A A2 |
ceea ecAc | dBcA F<F F2 | EFAB d2 df | ecac AA A |] |
|: EFAB c<c c2 | cBce f<f f2 | EFAB c2 ca |[1 ecBc AA A2 :|[2 ecBc AA Af ||
eAec eAAf | eAec cBBf | eAec ecca | ecBc AAAf |
eAec eAAf | eAec cBBc | eAce fgaf | ecBc A<A A2 |]
ABC

Twenty-five comments

Put Me In The Big Chest

This is the last reel from the well-known Cape Breton medley, Old Time Wedding Reels. It’s one of a few A major tunes which I can play on the whistle. A simple, lovely Scots tune.

Old Time Wedding Reel #1 (John of Badenyon): http://thesession.org/tunes/1480
Old Time Wedding Reel #2 (Hamish the Carpenter): http://thesession.org/tunes/3103

I learned this at a workshop in Mabou, Cape Breton a couple years ago and haven’t played it much since - thanks for the reminder. The version I learned was:

K: Amaj
|:AF|EFAB c2 af|ecBA F2 AF|EFAB c2 ca|ecBc A2:|
|:Ac|efec eAAe|faec BABc|efec efac|BAcB A2:|

Possibly a better setting for fiddles.

“Put Me in the Big Chest” ~ or whatever you’d like to call it…

R: reel
K: A Major
|: (3AGF |
EFAB c3 f | ecBA FAAF | EFAB c^Bcf | ecBG A2 :|
|: zc |
e2 ec eA (3AAA | efec B^ABc | ~e3 c e ~f3 | ec (3BAG A2 :|

My friend always plays a version of the tune with 4 parts. It seems that’s how Cape Breton fiddlers play the tune. I need to transcribe the additional bits soon.

“Put Me in the Big Chest” ~ another key and take

K: G Major
|: E |
DEGA B2 Be | dGBG E2 GE |
DEGA BGBe | dBAF G3 :|
|: B |
dedB dGBe | dedB A2 AB |
dedB d2 ge | dBAF G3 |

Damn, where’d the colon repeat go for the B-part? Here:

| dBAF G3 :|

“Put Me in the Big Chest” ~ some island ways with it

K: A Major
|: AF |
EFAB c2 af | ecBA F2 AF | EFAB c2 ca | ecBc A2 :|
|: Ac |
efec eAae | faec BABc | efec efac | ecBc A2 :|

They don’t all play it four parts in Cape Breton. I only ever heard the two part… But things change, eh?

“Cuir ‘s a’ Chiste Mhóir Mi” / “Put Me in the Big Chest” / “Beaton’s Last”

K: A Major (pentatonic ~ ABcef)
Transcription by Roddie MacDonald of Inverness Town

|: F |
EFAB c2 cf | ecBA F/F/F F2 | EFAB c cf | ecBc A/A/A A :|
|: c |
Efec eAAc | efec BABc | efec efaf | ecBc A/A/A A :|

“The Cape Breton Fiddler” ~ by Allister MacGillivray ~ “Beaton’s Last Reel”

Source of the above transcription, sadly out of print but HIGHLY recommended. Here is a bit more on the subject of this tune…

Donald John “Domhnull Iaian an Tarllear” / “The Tailor” Beaton

fiddler and dancer and a giant of a man ~ 1856 – 1919, a native of Mabou Coal Mines…

Page 10, a small excerpt from his bio:

“In 1919, while playing for servicemen in Antigonish, Donald John took sick. Fr. Rory MacNeil, a relative and close friend, was instrumental in getting him to the hospital and stayed to comfort him. On Christmas Eve, the fading giant requested a violin and ,with his remaining strength, appropriately played “Cuir ‘s a’ Chiste Mhóir Mi” (“Put Me in the Big Chest”); moments later he was dead (63 years of age). ~ in certain parts of Inverness County the Cape Breton variant of “Cuir ‘s a’ Chiste Mhóir Mi” is now referred to by the title “Beaton’s Last” in honour of Donald John”.”

“~ the prevalent opinion has endured that he was one of the greatest musicians (& dancers) to bless the Island of Cape Breton.” ~ tales continue to be told…

“The Cape Breton Fiddler” ~ by Allister MacGillivray

ISBN 0-920336-12-4
College of Cape Breton Press, 1981

Used copies are still out there, try ‘Abe Books’ or ‘AddAll’ or any other of the book search sites. It can even still be acquired at a reasonable price, sometimes. This is a superb dedication to the musicians of Cape Breton Island, featuring short bios of many of its wonderful fiddlers, and some music too…

“Traditional Celtic Violin Music of Cape Breton: The DunGreen Collection”

Edited and transcribed by Kate Dunlay & David Greenberg
DunGreen Music, 1996
ISBN 0-9680802-0-0

http://www.dungreenmusic.com/
http://www.dungreenmusic.com/tunebook/book.html

Temporarily Out of Print but in the process of being updated and revised…

"Put Me in the Big Chest" ~ two other takes on the tune can be found in this collection:

Page 46 ~ “Put Me in the Big Chest” – from the playing of John Campbell, K: A Major (A pentatonic) ~ this could be taken and played as if it were 4-part, but is in fact this transcription and Campbell’s way with it is such that the B-part (2) and D-part (4) are identical, slight variations aside. The C-part (3) is really only a slightly different take on the A-part (1)… This valued book also includes a few bars of variation from the fiddles of Kinnon Beaton, Donald Angus Beaton and Buddy MacMaster.

Page 47 ~ a transcription from the fiddle of Donald MacLellan, 2 parts, and noted that it was played “with lots of e-string drone.” ~ lovely…

Here is another note from the collection with regards to ‘parts’:

“ ‘Put Me in the Big Chest’ is usually played as a two-part reel; sometimes a variation to the first turn is substituted, making it feel more like a four-part tune.”

“I told you I was ill…” ~ Spike Milligan

Basic differences that cause that 4-part feel, first time through the parts ~

A/C-parts (1 & 3) ~
measure 2, whether or not the 4th beat goes up or down:
~ c2 ca | ~or~ ~ c2 cB |,

~ and how the 3rd measure goes:

| ecBA F2 FA | ~or~ | cBce f/f/f f2 |

~ and similar to the first example, the 4th beat of measure 4, but how you go up and down:

~ c2 cf | ~or~ ~ c2 af |

This is just a rough example, loosely taken from the playing of John Campbell, a wondeful fiddler. On the repeats of these two parts they pretty much mirror each other except for bar/measure 3, given above, and as you can see, it is just a matter of what octave you play to ~ F ~or~ f…

“Cuir Sa Chiste Mhoir Mi” / “Miss Cruickshank’s Reel”

The root cause of it all… While some try to take away the connection, claiming that the Skye take on it, William Marshall’s tune, is not the same, I think the provenance is obvious. They are, in my book, the ‘SAME’ tune. Here is a good example of the beauty that agate and quartz can sometimes achieve over time in a river bed, or blue glass in the surf of a sandy beach. Anything slightly out of kilter, ‘composed’, or not quite as well delivered for the memory and inspiration of the dancer can be worn down. Here, with Cape Breton and some other players, including ‘old time’, the fiddle, dance and fiddler favoured the second ending of the B-part, and some of the reflective sense of a lot of the stock of music we played worked itself between the A and B parts, making them more in concert with each other. In essence, making Marshall’s tune into a better ‘traditional’ dance melody. You will, which is good kick, also find some of Marshall’s original ways with it working into variations, such as some of the higher notes. It is interesting as well that his second ending also reflects some other common characteristics in the music, two measures and reflecting the ending of the A-part of the melody, but, in the transcription from ‘The Skye Collection’, also having that run up in the penultimate measure:

| DEGA Bcde |

~ which is also a classic type of turn for the music, including for strathspeys and highland flings… It surprised me that there isn’t the often usual correlative of a ‘strathspey’ take on the melody, well, not one I’ve found yet, though I have created one here for comparison:

"The Fiddler’s Casket" / "Fiddler in a Box":
Submitted on June 2nd 2006 by ceolachan.
http://www.thesession.org/tunes/5822

"The Skye Collection" notations are to follow…
~ sorry all, it’s Dow’s bad influence… ;-)

“Cuir Sa Chiste Mhoir Mi” / “Miss Cruickshank’s Reel”

~ William Marshall

from: "The Skye Collection" by Keith Norman MacDonald, 1887
http://www.cranfordpub.com/
http://www.cranfordpub.com/books/skye.htm
http://www.cranfordpub.com/book_indexes/skye_index.htm
ISBN: (MelBay) 0786665106

Page 137 ~ original and two transpositions downward…

K: Bb Major
|: FGBd e2 eg | fdcB cBGB | FGBd e2 eg | fdcd B/B/B B2 :|
gaba gfed | cBcd BGGf | gaba gfed | cBcd B/B/B B2 |
gaba gfed | cBcd BGGB | FGBc defg | fdcd B/B/B B2 ||

K: A Major
|: EFAc d2 df | ecBA BAFA | EFAc d2 df | ecBc A/A/A A2 :|
fgag fedc | BABc AFFe | fgag fedc | BABc A/A/A A2 |
fgag fedc | BABc AFFA | EFAB cdef | ecBc A/A/A A2 ||

K: G Major
|: DEGB c2 ce | dBAG AGEG | DEGB c2 ce | dBAB G/G/G G2 :|
efgf edcB | AGAB GEEd | efgf edcB | AGAB G/G/G G2 |
efgf edcB | AGAB GEEG | DEGA Bcde | dBAB G/G/G G2 ||

Put Me In The Big Chest (reel)

Unless I missed it, slainte forgot to give us the 4-part version of this tune, which I hear frequently at sessions in Scotland:

X:730
T:Put Me In the Big Chest
S:Sessions, Laurie’s Bar, Glasgow 18/10/04
Z:Nigel Gatherer
L:1/8
M:4/4
K:A
z | EFAB c2 cf | ecBA F2 AF | EFAB cBcf | ecBc A3 :|
c | efec eAAc | efec BABc | efec efaf | ecBc A3 :|
z | EFAB c2 cB | c2 cB ce f2 | EFAB cBcf | ecBc A3 :|
c | efec eAAc | efec BABc | efec efaf | ecBc A/A/A A :|

Nigel, that’s the one I was about to post!

Put Me In The Big Chest (reel)

Sorry, Hiro - you announced it in June 2006, so I figured it had slipped your mind.

“Cuir ‘s a’ Chiste Mhóir Mi” / “Put Me in the Big Chest” ~ 1812 & 2 parts

"The Elizabeth Ross Manuscript", 1812, pages 128 & 129
http://www.celtscot.ed.ac.uk/documents/RossMS.pdf

Thanks to a heads up from Weejie I was directed here for two other transcriptions of this tune. I’ve transcribed them to ABCs to add here for comparison ~

X: 9
T: Cuir ’sa chiste mhòir mi
T: Put Me In The Big Chest
S: "The Elizabeth Ross Manuscript", 1812, page 128
S: http://www.celtscot.ed.ac.uk/documents/RossMS.pdf
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Amaj
|: E | EFAB c2 Bc | dBcA F<F F2 | EFAB c2 Bc |[1 ecac A<A A :|[2 ecac A<A A2 ||
ceea ecAc | dBcA F<F F2 | cdea ecAc | dBec A<A A2 |
ceea ecAc | dBcA F<F F2 | EFAB d2 df | ecac AA A |] |

X: 10
T: Cuir ’sa chiste mhòir mi
T: Put Me In The Big Chest
S: "The Elizabeth Ross Manuscript", 1812, page 129
S: http://www.celtscot.ed.ac.uk/documents/RossMS.pdf
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Amaj
|: EFAB c<c c2 | cBce f<f f2 | EFAB c2 ca |[1 ecBc AA A2 :|[2 ecBc AA Af ||
eAec eAAf | eAec cBBf | eAec ecca | ecBc AAAf |
eAec eAAf | eAec cBBc | eAce fgaf | ecBc A<A A2 |]

“Cuir ‘s a’ Chiste Mhóir Mi” / “Put Me in the Big Chest” - as a highland fling

Swung this makes a great highland fling…