The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #52272   Message #800300
Posted By: masato sakurai
10-Oct-02 - 09:51 AM
Thread Name: O, mirk, mirk is this midnight hour (Lord Gregory)
Subject: RE: O, mirk, mirk is this midnight hour
The recording is on Robert Burns: The Complete Songs, Vol.6 [with sound clip].

The tune is from James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, I [1787], where it is set to "Oh open the door, Lord Gregory" (Child #76I). Bertrand Harris Bronson (Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads, vol. II, 1962, p. 218) says of the tune:

"The Lass of Roch Royal" must have been circulating freely before the middle of the eighteenth century, because Child's A-text, from a manuscript of the second quarter of that century, is in a state obviously disordered by traditional transmission. Of the early music of the ballad we know nothing. The tune published in the Scots Musical Museum in 1787 does not inspire confidence in its authenticity, although--perhaps faute de mieux--it has been frequently reprinted. According to Stenhouse's note it is a "very ancient Gallowegian melody"--a statement which has no support from MS. or print, so far as I have been able to discover. On the other hand, it has some resemblance to a tune now generally known as "The Miller of Dee," which in one form or another was in circulation early in the eighteenth century--and undoubtedly earlier--and which appears with various texts in D'Urfy's Pills (e.g., 1719-20, V, 22, 29, 46; VI, 124. Cf. also Chappell, Popular Music, II, pp. 666-68; and Margaret Dean-Smith, A Guide to English Folk Song Collection, 1954, p. 120). As Johnson prints it, it is a modern minor tune in two strains, but it falls easily back into the Æolian mode.

Isla St Clair sings "Annie Of Lochroyan" (the text is from Scott's Minstrelsy) to this tune a cappella on Isla St Clair Sings Traditional Scottish Songs (Tangent TGSMC 112).