Scotland The Brave polka

Also known as Alba An Àigh, Scotland The Brave March.

There are 13 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with The Barren Rocks Of Aden (a few times), Lord Lovat’s Lament (a few times) and We’re No’ Awa Tae Bide Awa’ (a few times).

Scotland The Brave has been added to 13 tune sets.

Scotland The Brave has been added to 244 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Two settings

X: 1
T: Scotland The Brave
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A,D|D2 D3/2E/2|FD FA|d2 d3/2c/2|dA FD|G2 B3/2G/2|FA FD|
E2 A3/2B/2|(3ABA FE|D2 D3/2E/2|FD FA|d2 d3/2c/2|dA FD|
G2 B3/2G/2|FA FD|E2 D3/2D/2|D2 cd|e2 e3/2e/2|ec A2|
d2 f3/2e/2|dA FD|d2 dd|c2 dc|Bd cB|AG FE|D2 D3/2E/2|FD FA|
d2 d3/2c/2|dA FD|G2 B3/2G/2|FA FD|E2 D3/2E/2|D2||
X: 2
T: Scotland The Brave
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
D2 D>E|FD FA|d2 d>c|dA FD|G2 B>G| FA FD| E2A>B|AG FE|
D2 D>E|FD FA|d2 d>c|dA FD|G2 B>G| FA FD|E2 D>E|D4|
e2 e>d|ec A2|d2 f>e|dA FA|d2 dd|c2 dc|Bd cB|AG FE|
D2 D>E|FD FA|d2 d>c|dA FD|G2 B>G| FA df|e2 AB/c/|d4|

Eighteen comments

Scotland The Brave

OK, it’s corny and overplayed but it’s still a good tune and somebody had to post it so…

Not a polka

Oh, yeah, and it’s not a Polka but a march, technicaly, but there’s not category for ‘March’ but the polka time signature and rythm fits best out of the other categories.

This is a popular ring tone melody, but certainly not a session tune.

Says who?

What a remarkable statement - Slainte!

This certainly is a traditional tune (although I think the words were added a bit more recently - in the last 100 years or so) and therefore it’s perfectly acceptable as a Session tune. It is also played as a reel at ceilidhs making a good tune to which you can dance The Gay Gordons.

Just because something has become popular as a ring tone is no reason to denigrate the tune. I’ve heard Beethoven as a ring tone but that doesn’t mean it suddenly not classical music.

Says us….

"slainte" having spent some time in Edinburgh, I’m sure is well aware that it’s a Scottish traditional tune. I think what he’s telling you is that this is not a tune which is often played in sessions, and I agree with him. Pipe bands will certainly play it, and as you point out, it may often be played at ceilidh dances, but in a session ? I’ve been playing in sessions for over thirty years, and have never heard this played in any session in Scotland. The only time I have heard it played was at the Irish Club in Adelaide in Australia. By all means, play it in your session if you want to, but don’t be surprised if you get some funny looks.

Posted by .

It is certainly played at ceilis for the Gay Gordons. I played it myself just last week at a ceili mor. But as it is, a march and not as a reel. How do you play it as a reel?

There’s a hornpipe version or a reel version knocking around somewhere, which I think is a Sean Ryan tune or something. Am too tired to look it up today but I think it’s here somewhere.

I and attending others have and also play this march to ‘the Gei Gordons’, as well as often dancing to it, including in ceilis in Eire…

People do play it in sessions

Right here in The Session discussion of "Common Session Tunes" scottythefiddler says (

"The session at the Lionshead Pub in Hamilton, Ontario, has been changed again, this time from Thursday nights, to Tuesdays, and as a result, I have a list of tune sets prepared by the session leader."

He includes Scotland The Brave in the list.

Also look at:
which represents a random web sreach to see if anybody else lists it as a session tune.

So, we’ve established that this is a traditional tune often played at ceilidhs (and ceilis). I will also accept that it is not commonly played in sessions but to say flatly that this is not a sesion tune is not correct when clearly people on this list do play it in sessions (even if rarely).

Not arguing………………


Posted by .

One of the *daggiest* tunes on this site.

Dag’s a laugh, good kick ~

unless you take it all too seriously, so seriously that you’re easy to wind up… (so serious ‘smiley’s’ aren’t allowed…)

Funnily enough, this got played at a session I went to last week.

Avoided for understandable reasons in sessions, still a core trad tune

I like it! Good busking tune, which I’ve sometimes played with a polka-ised version of the song tune "Hot Asphalt" after. An essential ceilidh band tune for the Gay Gordons, one of the core dances in the ceilidh repertoire, in Scotland and Northern England anyway: it’s one of those dances which, with a good caller, those of us who are only occasional dancers can actually do.
I suppose few Irish tunes go to that rhythm (can’t think of any, offhand), which would make it hard to introduce to Irish sessions, and it may have a cliche / cringe factor for Scottish ITM sessioneers; but it’s still a good tune, whose rhythm is shared incidentally by a number of Scottish and Northumbrian tunes.

"Not a tune which is often played at sessions"

Actually, this statement is true for the majority of tunes even some of the very good ones. It just depends what is either "fashionable" or, on the other hand, the accepted common repertoire (may be very unfashionable and obscure to anyone else) of a particular group of musicians.
I’d agree that S the B would be extremely unlikely to fall into either category.

Of course, players will sometimes play a lesser known or different tune from time to time but I don’t think it would be this one.

Scotland the Brave

Found in the Darley & McCall Collection (1914) as "The Irishman’s Toast". Their notes say, “This air was adapted to the Fenian ballad “General Burke’s Dream”, a broadsheet published by Nugent & Co., Cook Street, Dublin.” Slightly further back in the Gesto Collection (1893) it goes under the title "Scotland For Ever" or "Brave Scotland", and is described as a "Trumpet March".

Scotland The Brave, X:2

I was surprised there weren’t more settings of this very common tune. Not my favourite ever tune, but one I have played for every Gay Gordon’s set I have ever played. This is the setting I have most commonly heard, though I used to play a pipe version that stays within one octave, only going up to the D for the B part.