Wha Can Help It jig

Also known as Bonnie Strathmore, Cummings, Salute To Boston, Wha, Can Help It.

There are 7 recordings of this tune.

Wha Can Help It has been added to 7 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Three settings

1
X: 1
T: Wha Can Help It
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
C/B,/ | A,>CE ECE | FEF A2B | c2A d2c | BB,B, B,2C/B,/ |
A,>CE ECE | FEF A2B | c2A d2B | cAA A2 :|
|: c/d/ | e>fe ece | agf ecA | d/e/fd ecA | GBB B2c/d/ |
e>fe ece | agf ecA | dcd Bed | cAA A2 :|
2
X: 2
T: Wha Can Help It
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
B,/2A,/2 | G,>B,D DB,D | EDE G2A | B2G c2B | AA,A, A,2B,/2A,/2 |
G,>B,D DB,D | EDE G2A | B2G c2A | BGG G2 :|
|: B/2c/2 | d>ed dBd | gfe dBG | c/2d/2ec dBG | FAA A2B/2c/2 |
d>ed dBd | gfe dBG | cBc Adc | BGG G2 :||
3
X: 3
T: Wha Can Help It
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
C/B,/ | A,>CE ECE | FEF A2B | c2A d2c | BB,B, B,2
C/B,/ | A,>CE ECE | FEF A2B | c2A d2B | cAA A2 :|
c/d/ | e>fe ece | agf ecA | d/e/fd ecA | GBB B2
c/d/ | e>fe ece | agf ecA | dcd Bed | cAA A2
c/d/ | e>fe ece | agf ecA | d/e/fd ecA | GBB B2
C/B,/ | A,>CE ECE | FEF A2B | A/B/cA B/c/dB | cAA A2 |]

Five comments

Wha Can Help It

An old Scottish fiddle tune by Niel Gow. I have a fiddle book of Scottish jigs, and after submitting details on this website (see my post of 10 February 2007 in the discussion thread #12617 "Scottish tunes for fiddles") I noticed this tune in the collage of old printed music on the back cover of the book. There was enough information there for me to reconstruct the tune, and here it is. BTW, for those whose native language isn’t English the title means "Who Can Help It".

For those who may prefer to play it in G and so take advantage of the resonance in the opening arpeggio here is a transcription into that key:

K:G
B,/2A,/2 | G,>B,D DB,D | EDE G2A | B2G c2B | AA,A, A,2B,/2A,/2 |
G,>B,D DB,D | EDE G2A | B2G c2A | BGG G2 :|
|: B/2c/2 | d>ed dBd | gfe dBG | c/2d/2ec dBG | FAA A2B/2c/2 |
d>ed dBd | gfe dBG | cBc Adc | BGG G2 :||

Wha Can Help It

Nice one, lazy. It’s actually slightly more involved than that, with the tune eventually reverting to the last four bars of the A part:

X:1
T:Wha Can Help It
C:Niel Gow
S:Frae A’ the Airts (RSCDS Bk 37, 1992)
Z:Nigel Gatherer
M:6/8
L:1/8
K:A
C/B,/ | A,>CE ECE | FEF A2B | c2A d2c | BB,B, B,2
C/B,/ | A,>CE ECE | FEF A2B | c2A d2B | cAA A2 :|
c/d/ | e>fe ece | agf ecA | d/e/fd ecA | GBB B2
c/d/ | e>fe ece | agf ecA | dcd Bed | cAA A2
c/d/ | e>fe ece | agf ecA | d/e/fd ecA | GBB B2
C/B,/ | A,>CE ECE | FEF A2B | A/B/cA B/c/dB | cAA A2 |]

Wha Can Help It

By the way, the tune was used for a dance called "Gothenburg’s Welcome" - a modern dance devised in, I think, the 1990s to mark the First Scandinavian Scottish Weekend Course in Gothenburg. This info from the RSCDS (Royal Scottish Country Dance Society)’s booklet "Frae A’ the Airts" vol 2 (1992).

Wha Can Help It

Nigelg, many thanks for that most useful post.
When I noticed the tune in the collage I tried it out, rather liked it, and decided to submit it. Unfortunately, most of the last 8 bars of the B part had disappeared off the bottom of the page (of the book I referred to) and some was obscured by a printed ISBN notice. But there was enough there for me to reconstruct a playable B part which was a simple repetition of 8 bars - as is found in most jigs.
I really like the authentic version you have posted.

Wha Can Help It

I think I’ve got the book you’re talking about, lazyhound, and a great wee collection of jigs it is. However, I can’t lay my hands on it - did I lend it to someone years ago and never got it back? There are loads of good Scottish jigs which are simply never played these days; maybe we can change that!