Towie Castle polka

Towie Castle has been added to 4 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: Towie Castle
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
E|C>F A/G/F/E/|C>F F>G|A>c BG|E2 EG|
C>F A/G/F/E/|C>F F>f|e>c cBAG|F2 FE|
C>F A/G/F/E/|c>F A/G/F/E/|B,>E G/F/E/G/|B>E G/F/E/F/|
C>F E>G|F>A G>f|e>c c/B/A/G/|F2 Fc||
f>g a/g/f/e/|f2 c>f|e>g c>e|B>e GE|
f>g a/g/f/e/|f2 c>f|B/c/e/c/ B/G/E/G/|F2 Ff|
f>g a/g/f/e/|f2 c>f|e>f g> f|e>B GE|
F/G/A/F/ G/A/B/G/|A/B/c/A/ B/c/d/B/|c/f/e/g/ f/c/B/G/|AF F||
X: 2
T: Towie Castle
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
G|E>A c/B/A/G/|E>A A>B|c>e dB|G2 GB|
E>A c/B/A/G/|E>A A>a|g>e edcB|A2 AG|
E>A c/B/A/G/|e>A c/B/A/G/|D>G B/A/G/B/|d>G B/A/G/A/|
E>A G>B|A>c B>a|g>e e/d/c/B/|A2 Ae||
a>b c'/b/a/g/|a2 e>a|g>b e>g|d>g BG|
a>b c'/b/a/g/|a2 e>a|d/e/g/e/ d/B/G/B/|A2 Aa|
a>b c'/b/a/g/|a2 e>a|g>a b> a|g>d BG|
A/B/c/A/ B/c/d/B/|c/d/e/c/ d/e/f/d/|e/a/g/b/ a/e/d/B/|cA A||

Six comments

Towie Castle

This is a 1866 Scottish tune by Alexander Walker. I have a large (complete?) collection of his tunes in a book. We play it slow and mournfully.

Re: Towie Castle

This is a much more broken up version of The Morpeth Lasses (or perhaps this one came first, given the 1800’s date).

Towie Castle, X:2

Transposed the original setting from F#min to Amin, for a more direct comparison to Morpeth Lasses.

Re: Towie Castle

I like the sound of this one - does anyone know of a recording or video of it? My google skills are lacking…

Re: Towie Castle

Nope, cannot either. But can point you to the related tune, which is played slower as the OP suggested this one is.

Check out Footloose’s A Finnish Polka Medley (2nd tune in the set), and Amarillis’ set "Bennett/Morpeth Lasses". Both are available on CDBaby & iTunes.

Re: Towie Castle

"Towie Castle" was composed by Alexander Walker as a slow air (which found in his 1866 collection). Based on comments section of "The Morpeth Lasses", pretty sure Alexander lifted the melody from the Scottish tune "Lady Warkworth’s Reel" (found in the William Vickers’ 1770 collection, and also re-appearing as "Marry Me Now" in the 1884 Athole Collection). Given that it appears in both the Joseph Crawhill’s 1872 (from Newcastle, Northumberland) music manuscript collection, and in the 1882 Northumbrian Minstrelsy, as "The Morpeth Lasses", I’m guessing that it migrated south from Scotland to Northern England around this time as well. Joseph’s version was more dotted (polka-like or march-like) than the original Scottish reel versions, but, not quite as dotted or changed as Walker’s air version here. Whereas the Northumbrian Minstrelsy setting was more reel-like.

From tune archive ( ):
"Towie Castle was a 17th century tower house near Kildrummy, Aberdeenshire, and once a stronghold of Clan Forbes. A previous castle on the site may have been burnt in 1571 by Adam Gordon of Auchindoun (1545–1580), brother of the Earl of Huntly and a supporter of Mary Queen of Scots, which resulted in the deaths of Lady Forbes, her children, and others, numbering thirty-seven in all. The castle was rebuilt in 1618 as a three-story L-shaped tower house, altered in 1788 when the towers and battlements were destroyed and dismantled, but later abandoned and allowed to fall into ruin. By the mid-19th century is was completely in ruins and uninhabited. It was finally completely demolished in the 20th century as it was deemed unsafe."

On a related note, there’s a Scottish song about the burning of Auchindoun, see Harmony Glen’s 2012 album "Where The Wind Blows" for a nice arrangement of this.