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The Lowland Jig

Blanche of Middlebie II

My two recent posts on gracings are particularly relevant to the interpretation of this tune, but before going on to look more closely at that question I wanted to ask a question which follows directly from Robert Riddell's story

about the origin of the title of the tune. In hie discussion of the tune in the recent Common Stock [December 2010], Matt Seattle retold how it was added to the tune during a visit of Charles II to Middlebie [or was it James IV?]. The point being that the tune had an earlier existence with a different title. Matt mentions a number of tunes which appear to be of the same family; I have been unable, so far to trace a histoyr for 'Larach Alasdair' but 'The Old Woman of the Mill Dust' is a well-known and apparently antiqu enough tune:it may well be familiar to highland pipers:-

 

X:9
T: Old Woman Of The Milldust [Cailleach An Dudain]
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
R: jig
K: Amix
AAA a2e|g2f edB|AAA a2e|g2e dBG|
AAA a2 e|g2d efg|agf g2e|d2e dBG:|
Bcd e2A|a2A e2A|Bcd e2A|g2e dBG|
Bcd e2A|g2d efg|agf g2e|d2e dBG:|
c2A AAA|cee a2e|c2A AAA|B2e dBG|
c2A AAA|cee g3|agf g2e|d2e dBG:|
a2A e2A|a2A ecA|a2A e2A|g2e dBG|
a2A e2A|a2A efg|agf g2e|d2e dBG:|
AAA AAA|c2A edB|AAA AAA|g2e dBG|
AAA AAA|cee efg|agf g2e|d2e dBG:|
a2A AAA|a2A ecA|a2A AAA|g2e dBG|
a2A AAA|AAA g3|agf g2e|d2e dBG:|

and here for completeness is Larach Alasdair:

X:7
T: Larach Alasdair
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
R: jig
K:Amix
|: ABA a2e | f2d ecA | ABA a2e | g2e dBG |
ABA a2e | f2d efg | agf g2e | d2g dBG :|
|: A2e c2e | A2f ecA | A2e c2e | B2g dBG |
A2e c2e | d2e B2g | agf g2e | d2g dBG |
A2e c2e | A2f ecA | A2e c2e | B2g dBG |
A3 c2A | d2e g2e | agf g2e | d2g dBG ||

While you'd be unlikely to play either of these together with Blanche in a set, Blanche as recorded by Riddell is to my mind a distinctive enough version, and of the three the one I prefer - the second strain in particular being an interesting one for the pipes which leads us back to the question of ornamentation.

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