Babbity Bowster jig

Also known as Bab At The Bowster, Bob At The Bolster, The Bumpkin, Old Country Bumpkin.

Babbity Bowster has been added to 11 tunebooks.

Download ABC

One setting

1
X: 1
T: Babbity Bowster
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:B|c3 B3|ABG F2D|G2G BAB|G2G BAB|
c3B3|ABA fef|g2d edc|B3G2:|
|:B|cde gdB|ABG FED|G2d B/2c/2dB|G2d B/2c/2dB|
cde gdB|ABA fef|g2d edc|B3G2:|
|:B|cAc BGB|ABG FED|GAG BAB|GAG BAB|
[1cAc BGB|ABG FED|g2d edc|B3G2:|
[2cac BgB|Aag fef|g2d edc|B3G2||

Four comments

Babbity Bowster

This is the tune for the Scottish dance. The title is an evolution of "bob at the bolster" and refers to a watermill. Some sources suggest that the ‘bowster’ is the shaft of a watermill but, in a horizontal mill at least, the bolster (head) is a load-bearing beam which supports the ‘sole tree’, an adjustable piece of wood that houses the bearing of the water wheel / stone assembly. There is probably an equivalent in a vertical water mill. I would imagine that the dance is supposed to imitate the bobbing of the mechanism in action, rather than a person called Bob!

There is a well known street rhyme that is sung to a variant of the tune - and, of course, an establishment in Glasgow, known to sessioneers, that is named after it.

I got the setting of the tune from an online manuscript.

Some further reading seems to indicate that the ‘bolster’ might be nothing to do with a watermill, but simply a pillow - the dance being a pillow or cushion dance and one is supposed to ‘bob’ down on the cushion, with some kissing involved.

Ah well, open to speculation - I’ll just play the tune.

I never knew the origins of the pub’s name. You learn something new every day!

The Bumpkin

The version below is one that I have had for many a year. I found it as a three parter with no repeats and play it with "Bonnets so Blue" for the dance of the same name.

X: 1 The Bumpkin
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
R: Jig
K: G
|| c3 B3 | ABG FED | GAG BAB | GAB BAB | c3 B3 | ABG fef | g2d edc | BAB GAB ||
|| cde/f/ gdB | ABG FED | GAG BAB | GAB GAB | G2f gdB | ABA fef | g2d edc | BAB G3 ||
|| cAc BGB | ABG FED | GAG BAB | GAG BAB | cAc BGB | ABA fef | g2d edc | BAB G3 ||

I feel they go well together with a nice change down from "Bonnets" in ‘D’ to "Yhe Bumpkin" in ‘G’

Posted by .