This is a tune which I’ve heard at a local session; it can be found (in ABC notation) in Kuntz’s on-line tune compendium "The Fiddler’s Companion".
Apparently there is an un-named version of this in Breandan Breathnach’s "Ceol Rince na hEireann" Vol. 2. The tune seems to me to sit very naturally with Irish ones, though I gather it is a Scottish one.
Playing it myself on whistle, I tend to alter bars 2 and 6 of the third part from:- | aBB bBB | to:- | aBB gBB | - because octave jumps can be awkward on the whistle, and I prefer the latter rendering anyway. But I’ve submitted Kuntz’s version, which with the possible exception of this small variation is exactly the tune I’ve been hearing and learning.
In the c18 and into the c19, droving cattle from Scotland - notably the Highlands - into England was a major industry. The drovers’ routes sometimes followed what are now main roads and sometimes paths which remain (if it all) as undeveloped tracks, down both East and West sides of Northern England.
I have not been able to find the un-named version in Breathnach Vol 2, neither in the Jigs section nor in the Slides section (which interestingly has a fair number of 6/8s).
Thanks for that info, lazyhound - I cited the Breathnach detail from somewhere, but did not check for myself.
(I think I’ve got Breathnach 2 up in an attic, but I couldn’t be fagged to go up and look for it…)
It’s Scottish and quite old
I was taught it in July 2003 under the title Gillean an Drobhair by Colm O’Rua at a workshop at the Gaelic College on Skye. It’s also in a book of fiddle tunes called The Well travelled Fiddler’s Collection published by Taigh na Teud. Originally from the "Skye Collection".
Nice little jig and good for fourth finger work on mandolin/banjo
Gillian An Drover
There is an air called Gillian An Drover, spelled in this or a similar way in English (it’s a corruption of the Gaelic name). I think it’s a slowed-down version of the tune submitted here, but I’m not sure on this point. Alistair Anderson recorded it with The High Level Ranters many years ago.
The tune submitted here is a straightforward jig, for which I am sure the name Gillian An Drover is also correct (it is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic for "Drover Lads").
Gillean nan Drobher
I know this as a pipe tune by the name of either The Grumbling Carle or Gillean nan Drobher
Played on harp by Robert Douglas Kerr:
curious meter anomaly
i am learning the ins and outs of the new site, and in exploring the sheet music, i tried "print" option. it worked well enough except that it put 4/4 for the time signature. my music reading skills are not great, but it looked like 6/8 and was labeled jig. indeed in the on screen version above, it is 6/8, and yet it printed the same dot arrangement and named it 4/4. curious. it’s a jig i know from the playing of johnny cunningham.
You’re right. Looks like a bug. The image file it generates is clearly 6/8, but the time signature says 4/4. You should email Jeremy.
Thanks for catching that issue with the time signatures in the printed settings—should be all fixed now.