Hallow Fain jig

Also known as Hallow Fair.

Hallow Fain has been added to 14 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: Hallow Fain
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Amix
e2c d2B|c2A B2G|B/c/dB g3|dBG Bcd|
e2c d2B|c2A B2G|B/c/dB a3|ecA Acd:|
|:e>cA AcA|e>cA AcA|d>BG GBG|d>BG Bcd|
e>cA AcA|e>cA AcA|B/c/dB a3|ecA Acd:|

Six comments

Hallow Fain (jig)

An unusual old jig from the manuscript tune book of the 19th century Somerset fiddler William Winter. For more information about this tune book see under Recordings https://thesession.org/recordings/3052.

I haven’t been able to find this tune anywhere else, but it has an old “feel” about it, and is probably 18th century or earlier, so it may be a “lost” tune that has now re-surfaced with the discovery of Winter’s manuscript in 1960.

Concerning the name of the tune, I’m not at all sure what it means.

“Hallow” as a noun (obsolete) means a saint, shrine or relic, but there is also another obsolete interpretation as “the entrails of a hare given to hunting hounds as a reward”. As an an English dialect word it is also used as an adjective meaning “hollow”.

“Fain”, in its adjectival or adverbial meanings has connections with gladness or rejoicing. However, I wonder if it is, in the manuscript, a misspelling of “fane”, which has several archaic/obsolete/dialect meanings of temple, church, flag, weathcock, elf or fairy (Scottish usage). Winter’s manuscript has a number of what we would call misspellings, but which would probably have reflected local usage in his day, so variant spellings should be considered.

Hallow Fain (jig)

This is a jig that shouldn’t be played too fast - certainly not at the breakneck speeds you tend to get in some modern sessions.

Hallow FaiR

This is the Scots pipe jig Hallow Fair. It’s not a common tune, but is not totally unknown either. I found it in the Gillespie ms (Perth 1768) and published it in 1993. I’ve since seen it in a few other locations, published and ms.
I would guess that the title refers to a fair which takes place around All Hallows (1st Nov). The mode makes more sense as A mix than E dorian, though the notes come out the same.

Hallow Fain/Fair

Matt, many thanks for that explanation. It looks eminently reasonable. I’ll pass the information on to the editor of the Halsway Manor edition of William Winter’s tune book.
William Winter evidently picked it up, or heard it, probably sometime in the first half of the 19th century, and quite possibly in the late 18th century. He compiled his tune book between 1848 and 1850, when in his early 70s.

Hallow Fain/Fair

Matt, I take your point about the mode, and have amended it to Amix.