Because He Was A Bonny Lad polka

Also known as Because He Was A Bonnie Lad, The Bonny Boy, Gin He Was A Bonny Lad, Gin I Was A Bonny Lad.

There are 17 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with Sandy MacInnis (a few times).

Because He Was A Bonny Lad has been added to 2 tune sets.

Because He Was A Bonny Lad has been added to 51 tunebooks.

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Four settings

X: 1
T: Because He Was A Bonny Lad
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:d|BA Gg|e/f/g dB|ce dB|cA Ac|
BA Gg| e/f/g dB|ce dc |BG G:|
|:d/c/|BG dG|eG dG|ce dB|cA Ac|
BG DG|eG dG|ce dc|BG G:|
X: 2
T: Because He Was A Bonny Lad
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
|:d|c>BA>a (3fga e>c|d*fe>c B2B>d|c>BA>a (3fga e>c|d*fe>c A2A:|
d|c>BA>c d>ef*d|c*Ae>c B2B>d|c>BA>c d>ef>g|a/g/f/e/ a>c A2A>d|
c>Ae>A f>Ae>A|c*Ae>c B2B>g|a>fg>e f>de>c|d*fe>c A2A||
X: 3
T: Because He Was A Bonny Lad
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
| AG |: FEDd (3Bcd AF | GBAF E2 EG | FEDd (3Bcd AF | GBAF D2 DG|
FEDd (3Bcd AF | GBAF E2 EG | FABc dcec | dBAG FDDG :||
|: (3FED AD BDAD | (3FED AF E2 EG | (3FED AD BDAD | GBAG FDDG |
(3FED AD BDAD | GBAF E2 EG | FABc dcec | dBAF D2 AG:||
X: 4
T: Because He Was A Bonny Lad
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:d/c/|BA Gg|e/f/g dB|ce dB|cA Ad/c/|
BA Gg| e/f/g dB|ce dc |BG G:||
|:d/c/|BG dG|eG dG|ce dB|cA Ad/c/|
BG dG|eG dG|ce dc|BG Gd/c/|
BG dG|eG dG|ce dB|cA Ad/c/|
BA Gg| e/f/g dc|BG dG|eG fg||
|:g2 dg|e/f/g dB|ce dB|cA Ag|
g2 dg|e/f/g dB|ce dc|BG Gg:||
# Added by JACKB .

Eleven comments

The architypical Northumbrian tune

Great choice. This is the most Northumbrian tune of them all. Of course its a rant and not a polka and it is played regular at sessions and at ceilidhs throughout theNorth-east to this day.
James Allen is known to have played this as part of his repertoire a couple of centuries ago.

The limited range is because it is a pipe tune; you can get it on a simple open chanter. You can also invent loads of variations - which is generally done when its played up here.
NoelJackson
Angels of the North

It’s a common tune for the nspipes, but I think it’s more likely to be Scottish originally. It appears in all the early Scottish collections (as far back as the 1700s) played as a sort of march/reel in A/Amix.

It is also a very nicely arranged GHB strathspey.

This tune seems listed as "The Bonny Boy" in O’Neill’s. Simon Thoumire does a great job with it on concertina.

Strathspey setting

The Scottish setting is more complicated in the B-part. I agree with celticrichie that it sounds great as a GHB strathspey, and it’d be good as a highland fling too. In fact you could play it as a fast single reel if you simply speed up and straighten out the rhythm. I’ve transcribed a standard Scottish setting below. * denotes Scotch snap, since the left arrow messes up the script:

X: 1
T: Because He Was A Bonny Lad
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: strathspey
K: Amaj
|:d|c>BA>a (3fga e>c|d*fe>c B2B>d|c>BA>a (3fga e>c|d*fe>c A2A:|
d|c>BA>c d>ef*d|c*Ae>c B2B>d|c>BA>c d>ef>g|a/g/f/e/ a>c A2A>d|
c>Ae>A f>Ae>A|c*Ae>c B2B>g|a>fg>e f>de>c|d*fe>c A2A||

Suppose Amix would’ve been more accurate. Never mind.

6/8

Known as a 6/8 in my parts, but with a different high part. One strange title… "Nancy Fat"

Singer/songwriter Jez Lowe plays this after his song gatineau girls on the galloways album.

first attempt

This was the first time I tried, so don’t be too hard. If corrections are needed let me know. Original setting is in A major. This is more whistle friendly. With the A whistle it should be in tune with the original tuning.

Re: Because He Was A Bonny Lad

A version similar to how Kathryn Tickell plays the tune.

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