The Maids Of Arrochar jig

There are 8 recordings of a tune by this name.

The Maids Of Arrochar has been added to 10 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: The Maids Of Arrochar
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
D/E/|{DE}F>ED {DE}F>ED|FA[EA] [F2A2] d/>e/|{e}f>ed {de}f>ed|
{f}e2d B2{c}d|{G}F>ED {DE}F>ED|fAA A2 d/>e/|(fd)A (BF)A|{F}E2 D D2:|
|:A/G/|(FA)B (FA)B|d>ef/e/ (dB)A|(FA)B (FA)f|{f}e2d B2A|~dfa fdA|
B/A/(B/c/)d/B/ AFD|(Fd)A (BF)A|{F}E2D D2:|
X: 2
T: The Maids Of Arrochar
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Fmaj
F/G/|{G}A3/TA/G/F/ {G}A3/TA/G/F/|{G}Ac3/d/ c2f/g/|{g}a3/{b}Ta/g/f/ {g}a3/{b}Ta/g/f/|g2{e}f d2e/f/|
A3/A/G/F/ {G}A3/A/G/F/|Ac3/{c}d/ c2f/g/|{g}a{e}f3/c/ {c}dA A/4c3/4|[1G3/TG/F {E}F2:|[2G3/TG/F {E}F3/c/{d}c/B/|
|:Acd/A/ Acd|{d}f3/g/{g}a/g/ fd3/c/|Acd/A/ Aca|{ba}g2{e}f d3/Td/c/d/|
fa a/4c'3/4 af3/c/|{c}d/c/{c}d/e/{e}f/d/ cAF|A{e}f3/c/ {c}dA A/4c3/4|[1G3/TG/F {E}F3/ c/{d}c/B/:|[2G3/TG/F {E}F2|]

Seven comments

Maids Of Arrochar, The

On the Shane Cook album

Re: The Maids Of Arrochar

I haven’t heard the Shane Cook recording, but if this is a transcription of his playing, he plays exactly as it’s written in the Skye Collection, where it says it was composed by John Macdonald (who was a fiddler and dancing master in Dundee). It’s also in The Gesto Collection of Highland Music of 1895 (same compiler as Skye), and both originally came from Gow’s 4th Collection of 1800. John Macdonald also wrote a slow air called "Arrochar House"

J Murray Neil in his book The Scots Fiddle (Glasgow 1999) gives the tune under a different name: "Lament of Wallace" but he rarely tells us where he got his tunes. There are a couple of instances of the tune under the name "The Lament of Wallace (After the Battle of Falkirk)" published in the early 19th century (e.g. Gale’s Pocket Companion, c1800), so perhaps that’s his source.

The Wallace title may stem from the poet and songwriter Robert Tannahill (1774-1810), who wrote a short song called "Wallace’s Lament" to the tune "Maids of Arrochar". The song is about the fateful Battle of Falkirk (1298), where the Scots led by Sir William Wallace were defeated by Edward I’s English troops.

Re: The Maids Of Arrochar

As Nigel hints at, this is certainly not a transcription from the playing of Shane Cook. Apart from anything else, Shane plays it in F major, rather than the D major given here.

The Maids Of Arrochar, X:2

This is more like how Shane Cook played this tune on his first CD. I’ve put in repeat signs but, needless-to-say, he puts in variations here and there.
Tempo is about 93 quavers (eighth notes) per minute - about a quarter of jig speed!

Re: The Maids Of Arrochar

Lovely tune, which some of my friends and I have been playing since we looked a couple of years back for some Scottish tunes to fit the early 1800s period. Not having much guidance as to what the correct speed was, we did play it as a pretty lyrical slow air, much as in the video above, or possibly slightly slower still. Have since heard Ryan Young, one of the finalists in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Trad Musician competition playing it: he takes it a bit faster, but not at jig speed.
There are some differences in our score too, (compared with the first above) especially at the start of the second part, with all the F# A sequences played as gentle snaps i.e. Semiquaver followed by dotted quaver, and the second half of the first bar of last line played:
(semiquavers) A F# then (quavers) D E. We usually pause on the D in the final time through.(Sorry I don’t do ABC, so that’s the best way I can explain it!)

Re: The Maids Of Arrochar

The tune can also be found in F in A Collection of Strathspey Reels & Country Dances by John Bowie published in Edinburgh in 1789 (http://hms.scot/fiddle/copy/1/#v=d&z=3&n=5&i=01_Bowie_1-032.tiff&y=1142&x=442). I’m unsure which key it is in in the 1800 Gow collection that Nigel identified but as the Gows didn’t tend to shy away from the flat keys it’s possible it was originally in F before being transposed into D by the time of the Skye Collection in 1887.

Makes you wonder where Shane Cook came across it…