Tha Mi Sgith strathspey

Also known as The Bracken Highland Fling, Buain Na Rainich, Buinn Y Renniagh, Cutting Bracken, Cutting Ferns, Dulaman, Dúlamán, Faery’s Lament, Heavin’ Bracken, Pulling Bracken, Pulling The Bracken, The Weary Maid.

There are 37 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with Brenda Stubbert’s (a few times), Alex Dan MacIsaac’s (a few times), Maurice O’Keeffe’s (a few times) and Mutt’s Favourite (a few times).

Tha Mi Sgith has been added to 16 tune sets.

Tha Mi Sgith has been added to 286 tunebooks.

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Eight settings

X: 1
T: Tha Mi Sgith
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
|: AAa2 | g<eg2 | e>dBA | GAB<G |
AAa2 | g<eg2 | e>dBe | A2A2 :|
|: e>dBA | GAB<G | e>dBA | B<dd2 |
e>dBA | GAB<G | edB<e | A2A2 :|
X: 2
T: Tha Mi Sgith
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|: (3AAA a2 g<e g2 | e<dB>A G>AB<G |\
(3AAA a2 g<e g2 | e>dB>e A2 A2 :|
|: e>dB>A G>AB<G | e<dB>A B<d g2 |\
[1 e<dB>A G>AB<G | e<dB<e A2 A2 :|
[2 e<dB>d g>fg<d | e<dg<B A2 A2 |]
X: 3
T: Tha Mi Sgith
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|: (3AAA a2 g<e g2 | e<dB>A G>AB<G |\
(3AAA a2 g<e g2 | e>dB>e A2 A2 :|
|: e>dB>A G>AB<G | e<dB>A B<d g2 |\
[1 e<dB>A G>AB<G | e<dB<e A2 A2 :|
[2 e<dB>d g>fg<d | e<dg<B A2 A2 |]
X: 4
T: Tha Mi Sgith
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
|:B|"Am"A<A a2 "G"g<e g2|"Em"e>dB>A "G"G>AB<G|"Am"A<A a2 "G"g<e g2|"Em"e>dB>e "Am"A/A/A A:|
|:g|"Em"e>dB>A "G"G>AB<G|"Em"e>dB>A "G"B2 B>g|"Em"e>dB>A "G"G>AB<d|"Em"e>dB>e "Am"A/A/A A:|
# Added by Tate .
X: 5
T: Tha Mi Sgith
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amin
|: A2 a2 g<e g2 | e>dBA GAB<G |A2 a2 g<e g2 | e>dB<e A2 A2|
A2 a2 g<e g2 | e>dBA GAB<G |A2 a2 g<e g2 | e>dB<e A2 A2||
|: e>dBA GAB<G | e>dBA B<d d2 |e>dBA GAB<G | edB<e A2A2 |
e>dBA GAB<G | e>dBA B<d d2 |e>dBA GAB<G | edB<e A2A2 ||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 6
T: Tha Mi Sgith
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|: B/ |A<A {f}a2 g<e {f}g2 | {f}e>d(TB>A) {F}G>AB>G |\
A<A {f}a2 g<e {f}g2 | e<dB>g {^c}B<A A3/ :|
|: g/ |e>d(TB>A) {F}G>AB>G | e>d(TB>A) TB2 B>g |\
e>d(TB>A) {F}G>AB>d | e>d{f}g>B {cB}A2 A3/ :|
X: 7
T: Tha Mi Sgith
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|: ^D/ |~E2 e2 d<B d2 | B>AF>E D>EF<D |\
(3EEE e2 d<B d2 | B>AF<d E2 E3/ :|
|: _B/ |B>AF>E D>EF<D | B>AF<E F2 d2 |\
B>AF>E D>EF<A | B<Ad<F E2 E3/ :|
X: 8
T: Tha Mi Sgith
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|: A2 a a/a/ g e g g/g/ | edBA GAB/B/G |
A2 a a/a/ g e g g/g/ |1 edBG A2 AG :|2 edBG A2 A2
|: edBA GABd | edBA B2 B g/f/ |edBA GABd |1 edGB A2 A g/f/ :|2 edGB A2A2 |

Twenty-four comments

Tha Mi Sgith

This is a strathspey (I’m pretty sure) that I had been looking for for some time. Alice Flynn found it on JC, and I decided to post it. It works quite well to break up "Raggle Taggle Gypsies" - try inserting it every 3 verses.

Tha Mi Sgith

For those interested in the lyrics, they can be found at George Seto’s mega-site of links and info:
http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Zone/6338/buain.html

The song is an old Gaelic song, collected in the Hebrides. There is a literal translation in English as well as the Gaelic lyrics at the above link. I sing my own lyrics in English, but
here is a verse I’ve heard people sing and also have found in print:

Why should I sit and sigh,
Puin’ bracken, Puin’ bracken (pulling bracken)
Why should I sit and sigh,
On the hillside dreary?

When I see the plover rising
Or the curlew wheeling,
Then I trow (trust, believe) my mortal lover,
Back to me is stealing.

Why should I sit and sigh,
Puin’ bracken, Puin’ bracken (pulling bracken)
Why should I sit and sigh,
On the hillside dreary?

alice flynn

Strathspey

It does have a strathspey kind of feel, but as such, it should be (by definition) in 4/4 time. Given the lyrics presented from the Hebrides, it’s also quite possible it predates the strathspey, and may represent a remnant of the singing style that has come down to us as a strathspey.

Stuart

I read in anohter discussion thread that strathspeys were 2/4??

JeffK

Milling Frolic Song - as sung by The North Shore Singers, Cape Breton Island

I love this stuff. Things get around. This is still sung by those fond of the Milling Frolic songs. In Nova Scotia these songs were sung by all, not just the women… These songs were entertainment for a chore, a work song, something that brought the community together, in this case to ‘full’ the woven fabric, beating it against a special table to the rhythm of the songs they sang while the singers also moved it around the circumference of the table, from singer to singer.

For proof of its recent currency, here’s the story of a song that became part of that milling frolic tradition on Cape Breton Island in the last century, the 20th, from Englishtown:

http://www.bubbaguitar.com/articles/orandoshep.html

Pipe Band Tune

I also know this tune as a bagpipe tune (with a 2/4 beat)known as "The Weary Maid".

Strathspey / Highland Fling ~ into jig?

There should have been a "?" at the end of the previous offering, carried over from someone else’s comment regarding the jig in question, "Walking the Floor". While there are ‘similarities’, the tunes are not that evidently tied, meaning the jig to this Strathspey / Highland Fling…

“The Bracken Highland”

R: highland fling
K: A Dorian
|: (3AAA a2 g*e g2 | e*dB>A G>AB*G |
(3AAA a2 g*e g2 | e>dB>e A2 A2 :|
|: e>dB>A G>AB*G | e*dB>A B*d g2 |
1 e*dB>A G>AB*G | e*dB*e A2 A2 :|
2 e*dB>d g>fg*d | e*dg*B A2 A2 ||

( * ) ~ the asterisk is given to represent a ‘snap’, in place of the ‘lesser than’ symbol which does odd things in this specific yellow realm…

Yes, thanks for the heads up, good catch. I haven’t been trolling the Straths yet, but that’s on the plans for the future. I stumbled on this one from the jig… I’ll have to return and add that link.

Hey ‘slainte’, maybe we can start and try to maintain a ‘courtesy’ ~ as an example, giving the key and the contributor and date of contribution. See the next entry…

“Drummond Castle” / “Castle Drummond”

Key signature: A Dorian (corrected key)
Submitted on February 21st 2004 by Jamie.
https://thesession.org/tunes/2540

It’s just a ‘minor’ consideration…

Tha mi sgith

This tune is usually played as a strathspey but a quick look through collections of bagpiipe music show it played as a reel, jig and i’ve even spotted a hornpipe version somewhere.

“Dulaman”

The Donegal song "Dulaman," recorded by Clannad, is another Gaelic-language song to this air. The vocal version smoothes out the "Scottish snap" figures in the fiddle setting.

“Cutting Ferns” ~ The Athole & Skye Collections

"The Athole Collection"
James Stewart Robertson, 1884, page 58

"The Skye Collection of the Best Reels & Strathspeys"
Compiled and arranged by Keith Norman MacDonald, 1887, page 105

X: 3
T: Cutting Ferns
O: "The Athole Collections" / "The Skye Collections"
N: the following transcript is as found in these books but minus any {*}, for example ‘cuts’M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: strathspey
K: Ador
|: B |\
A<A a2 g<e g2 | e>dB>A G>AB>G |
A<A a2 g<e g2 | e<dB>g B<A A :|
|: g |\
e>dB>A G>AB>G | e>dB>A B2 B>g |
e>dB>A G>AB>d | e>dg>B A2 A :|

“Cutting Ferns” / “Cutting Bracken” / “Tha Mi Sgìth” (the song)

This is well known and well played in the Maritimes, where I re-learned it, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and is a popular strathspey for step dancing ~ and both of us have stepped to it as well… … However, I first came across it in Ireland, in the north, Ulster, including Donegal & Fermanagh, played with swing and also used as a ‘highland fling’…

“Cutting Ferns” / “Cutting Bracken” / “Dulaman”

Now possible, the previous transcription, I’ve changed the * to < and added the headers…

X: 2
T: Cutting Ferns
T: Cutting Bracken
T: Dulaman
T: Bracken Highland, The
L: 1/8
R: highland fling
K: A Dorian
|: (3AAA a2 g<e g2 | e<dB>A G>AB<G |
(3AAA a2 g<e g2 | e>dB>e A2 A2 :|
|: e>dB>A G>AB<G | e<dB>A B<d g2 |
[1 e<dB>A G>AB<G | e<dB<e A2 A2 :|
[2 e<dB>d g>fg<d | e<dg<B A2 A2 |]

Conal O Grada

In his new album "Cnoc Bui" Conal O Grada plays this as a polka and calls it "Pulling Bracken" (track 6).

Cutting fern / seaweed

" Dúlamán na binne buí, dúlamán Gaelach
Dúlamán na farraige, b’fhearr a bhí in Éirinn"
has be sung to the second part of this tune alright

’ Seaweed from the yellow cliff, / Seaweed from the ocean’ : It is interesting that the English lyrics sent by alicflynn are about picking bracken as the gaelic version is about seaweed (that’s the meaning of Dúlamán for those who wonder). What type of seaweed it is in unknow to me but if it’s edible, it certainly not Channelled wrack -as we learn from the Dúlamán entry on Wikipedia- as channelled wrack is the toughest seaweed you could pick! (off the dry part of the cliff and the driest part of the shore)

What I may be able to contribute

In Highland piping I’d always had it as a 2/4-march — until playing with a Cape Breton fiddler who had me accent it as a Strathspey. W/in the same scene the only names that have been introduced to me are Cutting Bracken and Pulling Bracken.

The Cape Breton fiddler probably took it from the Highland tradition Don. It’s a very old Puirt a Beul (mouth music - I’m sure you know that) here in the Hebrides, played/sung like a Strathspey and called Tha Mi Sgith. It was later, probably 19th century, arranged as a march, and even a jig, and called Cutting Bracken in that form.

X:6 “Cutting Ferns”

S: James Stewart Robinson, The Athole Collection, 1884, Slow Strathspey, page 51
S: Keith Norman MacDonald, The Skye Collection, 1887, Strathspey, page 105

Tha Mi Sgith, X:8

I’ve added Conal O’Grada’s "Pulling Bracken" from his Cnoc Bui album. He changes the rhythm and calls it a polka. I wasn’t sure whether to post it here or to post it as a new polka.