The Thief Of Lochaber jig

Also known as Meurlach Loch Abair, The Thief Of Loch Earne.

There are 8 recordings of this tune.

The Thief Of Lochaber has been added to 40 tunebooks.

Download ABC

One setting

X: 1
T: The Thief Of Lochaber
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
e|:(d2A) AAA|fag (f2e)|dBB (B2e)|dBB (B2G)|(d2A) AAA|fag (f2e)|fdd (d2e)|1 fdd d2 e:|2 fdd d2 f||
|:ABd fdd|add fdd|Ace ecc|gcc ecc|ABd fdd|add fdd|Bcd afe|fdd d2 f:|
|:Bdd AAA|(fa)A f2 e|Bdd AAA|dBB (B2G)|Bdd AAA|(fa)A f2 e|fag (f2e)|1 fdd d2 f:|2 fdd d2 g||
|:faa AAA|aff (f2e)|faa AAA|dBB (B2G)|1 faa AAA|aff (f2e)|fag (f2e)|fdd d2 g:|2 Bdd AAA|(fa)A f2 e|aAA (f2e)|fdd d3||

Five comments

History of tune

This is a rather lovely tune which I believe to be traditional, although parts 3 and 4 were added by Donald MacLeod.
One of our members here(NigelG) has done some research into this tune and it is apparently adapted from an Irish tune called "The Thief of Loch Earne" which can be found in O’Neills. Perhaps, you can tell us more, Nigel?

I learned this tune in the key of D on the fiddle but I don’t believe this was the original key. It also has a Gaelic title " Meurlach Loch Abair"

History of tune

In the publication your talking about, I meant that <i><b>I</b></i> adapted it from the O’Neill’s version, the version played by The Battlefield Band and Sandy Coghill being somewhat different. I think it was probably a Scottish pipe tune originally, but I haven’t any evidence to hand.

History. etc

Regarding the origin of many tunes like this one, said to be Irish or Scottish, it is worth remembering that, until the 17th century, the gaelic speaking people of the western highlands - a quite distinct cultural group from the anglo-norman dominated lowlands - were most closely connected with the people of Northern Ireland with whom they shared language, religion, and music, not to mention conjugal ties. It seems futile to attribute a tune such as this one to one or the other ‘nation’ now that this ‘Gaeltachd’ has largely vanished and been replaced by others. Interestingly, these Gaels (and their descendants today) did not refer to themselves as ‘Scots’ but as ‘Albannaich’, ‘Scot’ being originally a (probably uncomplementary) nickname applied to them, first by the Romans and then by the Anglo-Saxons, who also settled ‘Alba’ but referred to it as ‘Scot -land’ rather than use the native’s term for their country - a bit like the North American natives who have been forever lumbered with the name ‘Indian’ simply because Columbus went to the wrong place.

Brilliant Tune. Angus Mac Coll the Scottish Piper plays it on track 2 of The clan Mac Coll - the best piping CD in history and I am not relatied to him in anyway!

History of tune

Lochaber is in Scotland if that helps?