The Morpeth Lasses reel

Also known as I Wish You Would Marry Me Now, Lady Warkworth’s, Marry Me Now.

There are 13 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Morpeth Lasses has been added to 45 tunebooks.

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Seven settings

X: 1
T: The Morpeth Lasses
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
G|ABcB EAAc|BGGd BGGB|ABcB EAAe|dBGB cAAG|
ABcB [E3A,3] c|BAGd BGGB|ABcB EAAe|dBGB cAAe||
agea ge~a2|gedg BgGg|agea ge~a2|gegB [A3E3] e|
agea ge~a2|gedg BGdB|AcBd ceda|gegB [A3E3]||
X: 2
T: The Morpeth Lasses
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:AE E/E/E c2ce|dcBA GABG|AE E/E/E c2ce|dBgB A/A/A A2:|
|:agea gfeg|fedg dBGB|1 agea gfeg|gfgB A/A/A A2:|
2 cBdB ecfd|geac A/A/A A2||
X: 3
T: The Morpeth Lasses
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
|:G|EA A/A/A c2ce|dcBA GABG|AE E/E/E c2ce|dBgB A/A/A A:|
|:g|agea geae|gedg BGdB|1 agea geae|gegB A/A/A A:|
2 cAdB ecae|gegB A/A/A A||
X: 4
T: The Morpeth Lasses
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
G | EAAB c2 ce | dcBA GA (3BAG) | AE ~E2 c2 ce | dBgB ~A3 :|
g | agea geae | gedg BGdB | agea geae | gegB ~A3|
g | agea geae | gedg BGdB |cAdB ecae|gegB A/2A/2A A2||
X: 5
T: The Morpeth Lasses
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
|:E | ABcA EAAc|BGGd BGGB|ABcA EAAe|dBGB cAAG|
ABcA EAAc|BAGd BGGB|ABcA EAAe|dBGB cAAe||
|:agea ge a2|gedg BGdB|agea ge a2|gedB A3e|
agea ge a2|gedg BGdB|AcBd ce a2|g3B A3||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 6
T: The Morpeth Lasses
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
E|: ABcB EAA2|BAGd BGGB|ABcB EAAe|dBGB cAA2:|
agea ge a2|gedg BGd2|agea ge a2|gegB A2A2|
agea ge a2|gedg dBd2|AcBd ceda|gegB A2A2||
X: 7
T: The Morpeth Lasses
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
B,|: EFGF B,EE2|FEDA FDDF|EFGF B,EEB|AFDF GEE2:|
edBe dB e2|dBAd FDA2|edBe dB e2|dBdF E2E2|
edBe dB e2|dBAd AFA2|EGFA GBAe|dBdF E2E2||

Sixteen comments

I would normally post a few Irish tunes before this, but I couldn’t wait - it’s such a cracking tune, and I can’t stop playing it at the moment. I’ve had to practise it for longer than the average tune because it’s difficult to play on the English concertina (due to the frequent 5th leaps). It’s featured in different forms in Northumbrian manuscripts, most of the time as a march played in 4/4 time and the quavers as crotchets and dotted notes. I find it a bit uninspiring played this way so I play it as a reel. See JC’s for other settings. There are no F’s of any sort in the tune, so it is possible to think of it in A dorian as opposed to the darker-sounding A minor.

Very cool tune, Dow.

With a concerted effort from Session members, I can see this one cropping up in the more ‘progressive’ Irish sessions before long.

This is the standard tune for the Ampleforth longsword
dance (Yorkshire, England). I am a bit bemused by the
comment about English concertina, as I haven’t noted
the difficulty, and the usual instrumentation on this used by the Greenwich Morris Men in NYC uses one (or two!) English concertinas (they do it at the Christmas Revels every year, as well as in other dance outs.)

Marty Fager has also written a country dance (Maine
Chance) to this tune.

Do you play it as a fast reel or like a sort of polka? I find it difficult to play because if you’re playing it as a fast reel you have to change your finger positions swapping from "across the rows" to "along the rows" to get the 5th leaps nice and smooth, so the fingering ends up being a bit more complicated than most other tunes where you can keep one finger for each row. For example, in the bit that goes BGGd BGG, I use my index finger for the first "G" and then swap onto my middle finger for the second "G" so I can use my index finger for the "d". Aside from that, I’m a beginner and I would expect most people to be better than me. Better than I. Am.

I think you’re probably supposed to repeat the 2nd part, but I never do. I play this in a set with "Stay A Wee Bit Bonnie Lad" which can be found at https://thesession.org/tunes/1284
I’m never sure about the repeats for that one either. I also play another tune in between the two which I’ll post another day.

Morpeth Lasses

This is a phenomenal tune. Its in the Northumbrian Minstrelsy (late 19th century) andits usually played slowly, like a strathspey. However, there has been a revival of playing fast - much faster than one plays for sword dance. This is brilliant as when it hurtles along at two to the bar, by punhing the gs in bars 1 and five of the B part you get an amazibng 3 against 2 syncopation. It sounds very jaxzzy but its there in the original.

As for concertinaring, I agree that the last two bars are tricky at speed but they come with practise.
Noel Jackson
Angels of the North

Morpeth Lasses

Lovely tune! Unfotunatly I have no recordings of this tune, I never heard it from someone’s playing, and I don’t know how to play it. It works as a reel and also as a polka, and I like it also as a sort of donegal highland…
…suggestions?

Morpeth Lasses

I’ve discovered that this used to be a Scottish reel. It’s in Vickers 1770 as "Lady Warkworth’s Reel". This setting is in Amix, but it’s thought that this is a mistake and that it should be in Ador. Anyway, I like the F#s:

From William Vickers (1770):
K:Ador
|:AE E/E/E c2ce|dcBA GABG|AE E/E/E c2ce|dBgB A/A/A A2:|
|:agea gfeg|fedg dBGB|1 agea gfeg|gfgB A/A/A A2:|
2 cBdB ecfd|geac A/A/A A2||

Later transcriptions of this kind of reel from the 1800s contain semiquaver runs and polka-like phrases, e.g. |a>gea gea2|. I think this indicates that they were being played more slowly, like a sort of march or polka. A lot of musos get the older tunes from written sources, so these reels still get played this way.

I believe that since this is basically a Scottish reel in terms of its structure, it sounds its best when played at reel tempo. Having said that, I also enjoy it slowed down and swung like a Donegal Highland. So GM, play it how you think it should sound :-)

Here’s a similar setting in the Athole collection, where it is entitled "Marry Me Now":

K:Amin
|:G|EA A/A/A c2ce|dcBA GABG|AE E/E/E c2ce|dBgB A/A/A A:|
|:g|agea geae|gedg BGdB|1 agea geae|gegB A/A/A A:|
2 cAdB ecae|gegB A/A/A A||

As played by Hempson -Early Irish Music

X: 1
T:Marry Me Now
T:I Wish You Would Marry Me Now
M:4/4
L:1/8
R:Reel
K:Amin
G | EAAB c2 ce | dcBA GA (3BAG) | AE ~E2 c2 ce | dBgB ~A3 :|
g | agea geae | gedg BGdB | agea geae | gegB ~A3|
g | agea geae | gedg BGdB |cAdB ecae|gegB A/2A/2A A2||

This is more or less a transcription as the band Hempson played it on their album Early Irish Music
Enjoy it.

The Morpeth Lasses, X:7

Amarillis play it down in Eminor, so here’s another setting.