This version from an old New England collection of fiddle tunes.
Stool of Repentance
Lowland Scottish in origin. Great with Drummond Castle.
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".
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
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:||!
First published in 1983 ~ “New England Fiddler’s Repertoire”
Randy Miller & Jack Perron, 1983 / 2nd edition 2003
Page 36: "Stool of Repentance"
~ another Randy Miller publication:
"Irish Traditional Fiddle Music"
“The Stool of Repentance” mix n’ match “The Waddling Gander”
Key signature: G Major
Submitted on June 29th 2004 by jdave.
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? :-)
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 ].
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 ;-)
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.
Stool of Repentance is also the name of a parlour game for children and adults. The players sit in a circle around a stool.
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.
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."
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.
T:The Joyners Jigg
S:Vickers MS, 1770
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:|]
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.
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