an amusing end tune for a medley of jigs or reels. the title alone is worth the playing…
Hey, is the dotted eighth supposed to signify some type of swinginess to the tune? Or are they to be strictly adhered to? Not that I will adhere to them - I don’t like them. I’m just curious about the origins of the tune and the notation.
Origins of the tune, etc.
From the "Aird’s Airs and Melodies vol 1"
Yes, it is to be played with a bit of a swing to it (especially in the second half)…and hey, it’s Scottish, if you would rather play the whole thing straight through, I doubt the Scots would mind too much… ^..^
From the Fiddler’s Companion website:
"AKA and see ‘Rustic Courtship.’ Scottish. John Glen (1891) finds the earliest printing of the tune in James Aird’s 1782 collection (Selections, pg. 4)."
…and from the same website, the entry for "Rustic Courtship" :
"AKA and see ‘I’ll Tousle Your Kurtchy.’ Irish, Air (6/8 time). E Minor. Standard. AABB. O’Neill (O’Neill’s Irish Music), 1915; No. 73, pg. 44."
The tune in question…
I just finished playing the tune both ways — once with the swing and once without. Personal opinion here, but I think they both work.
The A and B parts aren’t distinctive enough by themselves to make the tune anything more than another repetitive jig in a minor key, and so the speed at which each is played becomes critical. You can’t play both ways at the same speed, however, when you do it right they’re almost two different tunes.
The swing+key is a device which lends the melody a haunting quality it wouldn’t normally have, but you can’t do it at breakneck speed or it doesn’t work; the device loses its function or "charm" and deteriorates into something awkward and cumbersome.
Conversely, when played signifigantly faster without the swing, you get a melody with a great kinetic drive which the swing is lost on; the urgency imparted by the speed becomes the reason for playing it, not the mood (as with the swing). I guess it’s sort of similar to Connaughtman’s Rambles in that way. Although you have a few differences there, the idea is even though it is a nondescript and repetitive melody, once it gets rolling, it is hard to stop, like a train going down a hill. I guess it would be nice to walk to.
I found it on a fife/drum album by a Colonial Williamsburg reenactment troupe, and foxpaw got it from the American fife/drum tradition in Virginia — so it went full circle. Cool!
This tune is known as "Young Men in their Bloom" in the fifing and Lambeg tradition of the north of Ireland.