The Stool Of Repentance jig

Also known as The Cuttie Stool, Mary Custy’s, O Stool Of Repentance, The Stool O’ Repentance, The Waddling Gander.

There are 25 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with Teviot Bridge (a few times), Calliope House (a few times), Drummond Castle (a few times), The Frost Is All Over (a few times) and I Will If I Can (a few times).

The Stool Of Repentance has been added to 7 tune sets.

The Stool Of Repentance has been added to 227 tunebooks.

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Four settings

X: 1
T: The Stool Of Repentance
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
|:a2e c2e|agf e2c|aff f2e|fag f2e|
a2e c2e|agf e2c|d2e f2e|fac B2a:||
|:cAA eAA|cAA edc|dBB fBB|dBB fed|
cAA eAA|fag a2e|d2e f2e|fac B2a:||
X: 2
T: The Stool Of Repentance
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
c2A AcA|AcA e2c|d2B BGB|BGB fed|!
c2A AcA|AcA e2c|d2e f2e|fac B2A:||!
cAA eAA|cAA edc|dBB fBB|f2e fga|!
cAA eAA|cAA edc|d2e f2e|fac B2A:||!
a3 c2e|agf edc|a2f f2e|fag fed|!
a3 c2e|agf edc|d2e f2e|fac B2A:||!
c2e ecA|cde edc|d2f fdB|adB fdB|!
c2e ecA|cde edc|d2e f2e|fac B2A:||!
X: 3
T: The Stool Of Repentance
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
A|cAA eAA|gAA f2e|dBB fBB|aBB f2e|
cAA eAA|gAA f2e|dfd ege|fac TB2A:|
|:aga ABA|ABA TB2A|aga BcB|BcB Tf2e|
aga ABA|ABA TB2A|dfd ege|(fa)c TB2A:|]
X: 4
T: The Stool Of Repentance
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
K: Amaj
|:cAA eAA|cAA edc|dBB fBB|dBB fed|
cAA eAA|cAA aec|def fga|fac B2A:||
|:a2e c2e|agf edc|aff f2e|fag f2e|
a2e c2e|agf edc|def fga|fac B2A:||

Eighteen comments

This version from an old New England collection of fiddle tunes.

Stool of Repentance

Lowland Scottish in origin. Great with Drummond Castle.
Noel Jackson
Angels of the North

Stool of repentance

Apparently if you had been naughty you were made to sit on this stool in church and be ritually humiliated by the clergy. As Robin Williamson said in his book of fiddle tunes the tune is "anything but repentant" and flies along nicely.

Stool of repentance

More central Scottish, I think, as it is attributed to one of the Gow family - Neil or Nathaniel, I’m not sure which - from Inver near Dunkeld in Perthshire.
There’s a four -part version played by the City Of Washington Pipe Band, and recorded by the Victoria Police Pipe Band - the 4th part really gives it a "lift".

Posted by .

This is how I’m playing Stool of Repentance these days. I’m not sure what my original source was, but it’s gone through some changes since I learned it.

T:Stool of Repentance
R:jig
M:6/8
L:1/8
K:D
c2A AcA|AcA e2c|d2B BGB|BGB fed|!
c2A AcA|AcA e2c|d2e f2e|fac B2A:||!
cAA eAA|cAA edc|dBB fBB|f2e fga|!
cAA eAA|cAA edc|d2e f2e|fac B2A:||!
a3 c2e|agf edc|a2f f2e|fag fed|!
a3 c2e|agf edc|d2e f2e|fac B2A:||!
c2e ecA|cde edc|d2f fdB|adB fdB|!
c2e ecA|cde edc|d2e f2e|fac B2A:||!

Stool Of Repentance

Kenny, I know I’m nitpicking here but I’ve just been having a look at the Fiddler’s Companion and apparently this tune appeared in a manuscript in 1734. Considering that Niel Gow was born in 1727 and his son Nathaniel in 1764, it would appear to be unlikely that either of them was the composer of this tune. Niel Gow would have to have written the tune and have it popularized as a toddler. I suppose it’s possible that some tune collector thought "wow this kid’s tune is amazing I must write it down immediately", but it’s unlikely don’t you think? :-)

Agree

Nothing wrong with your logic there, Dow. A lot of musicians at that time were notorious for lifting tunes and claiming them as there own compositions. Maybe that’s happened here. It does say though that “ an early version of the melody” appears in manuscripts in 1734. I’d have to see those “versions” to see how they compare, but thanks for pointing this out. I suppose we could always ask “Howsshecutting” for an opinion –
[ maybe not ].

Posted by .

I think if you’re an anorak and you’re quiet about it and hide out in the tunes section, nobody’s interested enough to bother you anymore so we’re okay ;-)

Earlier versions

Famous Highland and smallpiper Jim McGillivray of Ontario plays the early 18th century version, which has eight or ten parts, and the Highland pipe version.

Try to find the YouTube videa of Jim play both versions on smallpipes.

I find most Irish musicians who play this play it much better than Highland pipers. Needs bouncy, quick fingers. Should sound like a fiddle piece, I think.

According to the Nuttall Encyclopedia, the Stool of Repentance, in Scotland in former times, was an elevated seat in a church on which, for offences against morality, people did penance and suffered rebuke. Often these were crimes such as adultery, fornication, pregnancy outwith wedlock and so on. Suicide was a not uncommon outcome in small isolated communities. Such was the vengeance of The Lord, as embodied in the Presbyterianism of our Caledonian forebears. That this draconian instrument of spiritual control, at least by today’s standards, should be commemorated in such a sprightly tune indicating a rejoicing in its use, leads me (at least) to the conclusion that it was used as a musical accompaniment to the parlour game of the same name - The Stool of Repentance. Don’t ask me the rules. Has a whiff of soiled nappies and toddlers who should know better.

The game

Stool of Repentance is also the name of a parlour game for children and adults. The players sit in a circle around a stool.[2]

One of the group (the "victim") leaves the room, and the rest say or write all sorts of things about him. For instance, one will say he is handsome, another that he is clever, or stupid, or vain. The "victim" is then called back to sit on the stool, and one of the players begins to tell or read him the different charges that were made against him. "Someone said you were vain; can you guess who?" If the victim guesses correctly, he returns to the circle, and the person who made the accusation takes the stool as the new "victim". If, however, the "victim" is unable to guess correctly, he must leave the room again and fresh charges are made against him. The game almost certainly takes its name from the old Scottish church custom.

Cutty Stool

I found this explanation in the Funk & Wagnalls Standard American Encyclopedia…
" Cutty Stool : seat once used in The Scottish Church for the exposure of offenders against chastity. The sinner was required to sit on the stool before the whole congregation during the entire service, and at its close, to stand up while severely reprimanded by the minister."

A colourful explanation, I would say.

It is also recorded that not all ‘sinners’ accepted this punishment with due humility… according to Dean Ramsay one victim of this ritual humiliation, in Stirling, objected to the castigation from his minister with the words
"’Na! Na! Minister; it was simple fornie and no adultery ava."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuttie-stool)

Go look it up in your Funk and Wagnalls, as they say in Peru.

Several people have pointed out the similarities between "The Stool" and "The Joyners Jigg" from the William Vickers MS.
They certainly could be played together, with the ‘Joyners’ being ‘variations’. I could be tempted to mess with the Vickers tune.

X:1
T:The Joyners Jigg
M:6/8
L:1/8
R:Jig
S:Vickers MS, 1770
K:A
A|cAA eAA|gAA f2e|dBB fBB|aBB f2e|
cAA eAA|gAA f2e|dfd ege|fac TB2A:|
|:aga ABA|ABA TB2A|aga BcB|BcB Tf2e|
aga ABA|ABA TB2A|dfd ege|(fa)c TB2A:|]

Attribution

The Gows were first (1809) to publish the modern version of the tune but they did not claim to have composed it. The apparent misattribution was made by others, they themselves wrote ‘Old’ next to it. It’s in William Dixon’s 1733 ms as Stool of Repentance (one of the versions played by Jim McGillivray), and David Young’s 1734 ‘Duke of Perth’ ms, the latter as ‘Border Reel’. Other names are ‘Wrights Rant’ and ‘Joiners Jig’ as above. The association with the Border (both sides) is very old. It’s oors. But you can play it too.

stool o’repentance

theres a great recording of this tune by an Aberdeenshire fiddle and moothie band on ‘Bothy Ballads’
published by the School of Scottish Studies in the 70s I think. Also if anyone heard ’ The Archers’ over the weekend it was being played in the background at the Lower Locksley Fest along with ‘Villafjord’…………..

The Stool Of Repentance, X:4

This is my understanding of how Buddy plays this tune on the CD - Rooted in Tradition, A Musical Journey with Buddy MacMaster and Joey Beaton