The Cardin’ O’t reel

Also known as The Cairdin O’t, The Cairding O’T, The Cairin O’t, I Coft A Stane O Haslock Woo, On Cessnock Bank, Queensbury’s Scots Measure, Salt Fish And Dumplings.

There are 5 recordings of this tune.

The Cardin’ O’t has been added to 3 tune sets.

The Cardin' O't has been added to 18 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Three settings

X: 1
T: The Cardin' O't
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
|:E2|A2 AB cBcd|eaaf ecBA|dcdf ecBA|GABc BABc|
dcde fgaf|ecBA AGFE|A2 AB ceBd|c2A2 A2:|
|:af|ecAc e2 af|ecAc e2 (3cBA|dcde fgaf|g2e2 e2 dc|
dcde fgaf|ecBA AGFE|A2 AB ceBd|c2A2 A2:|
# Added by cfree .
X: 2
T: The Cardin' O't
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Fmaj
A>G|F3 G A3 B|c2 (f<d) (c<A) (GF)|B3 d (cA) (GF)|(EF) ((GA)) G3 A|
BA Bc (de) (fd)|(cA) (GF){F} E2 DC|F3 G (Ac) ((GB))|A2 F2 F2||
(fd)|(cA) (FA) c3 d|cA FA c2 (BA)|BA Bc de fg|e2 c2 c3 B/A/|
(BA) (Bc) (de) (fd)|cA GF{F} E2 DC|F3 G (Ac) ((GB))|A2 F2 F2||
X: 3
T: The Cardin' O't
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:B>A|G3 A (B3 c)|d3 g dBAG|c3 e dBAG|FGAB A3 B|
cBcd efge|dBAG{G} F2 ED|GBAc BdAc|B2 G2 G2:|
|:ge|dBGB d3 e|dBGB d2 cB|cBcd efga|f2 d2 d2 cB|
cBcd efge|dBAG{G} TF2 ED|GBAc BdAc|B2 G2 G2:|

Twelve comments

The Cairdin’ O’t

Although on Fair Warning by John Cunningham this tune is given as “The Cairin O’t”, its actual title is “The Cairdin’ O’t”, but it has had several names atached to it in its long career.

In a manuscript book in Perth (c.1710) it is called “Queensbury’s Scots Measure”, and it has also been arranged as a 4-part pipe march called “The Braes o’ Glen Brun” by 19th century Glasgow dancing master Peter Wright. In James Aird’s 3rd Selection (1788) it is found as “Salt Fish and Dumplings”. and it has been used for two songs, “I Coft a Stane o’ Haslock Woo’” and “Come Taste the Cup”.

Nigel - Being a Scotsman, it is probably obvious to you. But, for the benefit of us doon sooth, what does ‘cairdin’ mean? My guess is, it has nothing to do with accordions.

Carding of wool, perhaps, given the alternate title, I Coft a Stane o’ Haslock Woo’? ‘Coft’ - cognate with German ‘kaufen’/‘Ich kaufte’? ‘Haslock’ - A breed of sheep? Or something technical to do with wool, that modern types wouldn’t understand?

‘Salt Fish and Dumplings’ sounds rather Caribbean. And Queensbury’s just north of Wembley.


I coft a stane o’ haslock woo’,
To mak a wab to Johnie o’t;
For Johnie is my only jo,
I loe him best of onie yet.

The cardin’ o’t, the spinnin’ o’t,
The warpin’ o’t, the winnin’ o’t;
When ilka ell cost me a groat,
The tailor staw the lynin’ o’t.

For tho’ his locks be lyart grey,
And tho’ his brow be beld aboon,
Yet I hae seen him on a day,
The pride of a’ the parishen.


salt fish and dumplings

Jack Armstrong, famous piper and fiddle player from Northumberland played a version of this under the title of Gallowgate Lass.

Re: The Cairin O’t

There is a tune in the Goodman manuscript called “The Shepherd’s Hornpipe” which was subsequently copied by Joyce in one of his manuscripts, which is a setting of this tune.

Re: The Cairin O’t

Several of the sources cited in the earlier rounds of discussion about this tune are now available online. I’ve posted a detailed compilation at and will be adding a transcription of the eponymous version from 1798 to the database here. I’ll also be changing the primary title to match the original lyrics (which were added to this discussion 14 years ago) and reordering the aka’s.

The Cardin’ O’t, X:2

This is a transcription of the earliest published version of this tune under the title “The Cardin’ O’t.” It initially appeared in the fifth of the six volumes of James Johnson’s “The Scots Musical Museum,” published in 1798. The conversion of the ABC notation to staff notation here adds slurs to the grace notes in the middle of the second and fourth lines that do not appear in the source. The audio playback does not render them properly but the accordion voice makes the alternate title “The Cairdin’ o’t” particularly apt!

The Cardin’ O’t, X:3

Early compilations of songs that include “The Cardin’ O’t” cite the third volume of “Aird’s selection of Scotch, English, Irish, and foreign airs” as the source of the tune, where it is named “Salt Fish and Dumplings.” It appears with that title as tune no. 487, and X:3 is a direct transcription of it. (No. 487 is headed “…Dumplins” but appears as “…Dumplings” in the index and all other references) The conversion of the ABC notation to staff notation here adds slurs to the grace notes that do not appear in the source and do not render properly on playback.

There is also a typo in the X:3 ABC that I didn’t spot until it was added to the database. The last two measures should read:

| GBAc BdAc| B2 G2 G2 :|