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Lyr Req: 100 pipers

charcloth 16 Dec 99 - 09:01 PM
Helen 16 Dec 99 - 09:24 PM
johnp 16 Dec 99 - 11:19 PM
paddymac 17 Dec 99 - 12:27 AM
Vixen 17 Dec 99 - 09:16 AM
charcloth 17 Dec 99 - 11:29 PM
Murray on Saltspring 18 Dec 99 - 01:24 AM
charcloth 18 Dec 99 - 04:13 PM
Lighter 20 Jun 13 - 10:15 AM
Jack Campin 20 Jun 13 - 11:28 AM
GUEST 20 Jun 13 - 11:54 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Jun 13 - 11:58 AM
Lighter 20 Jun 13 - 12:51 PM
Jack Campin 20 Jun 13 - 02:21 PM
Lighter 20 Jun 13 - 06:48 PM
Lighter 20 Jun 13 - 08:37 PM
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Subject: 100 pipers
From: charcloth
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 09:01 PM

where can I get the lyrics to 100 pipers and info as to about it, like it's antiquity etc.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: Helen
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 09:24 PM

Hi charcloth

You can find the lyrics & tune in the Digital Traditions database by doing a search using the word - pipers -. Just use the blue search box on the top right corner of this page.

I don't know anything about the history of it but just sit tight because someone here at the 'Cat (or lots of someones, more likely) will come forward with some useful information.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: johnp
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 11:19 PM

more stuff and scot links

100 Pipers is not bad for a blended scotch

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: paddymac
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 12:27 AM

We do it as an instrumental: AABB in waltz time, then AABBAABB in jig time. Audiences always seem to love it.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: Vixen
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 09:16 AM

Tim has a nifty compilation CD called "Fire in the Kitchen" with a really neat medley of Kitty McGee and Hundred Pipers. If you can find it, it's worth a listen.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: charcloth
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 11:29 PM

When I recorded it I didn't know it was a song. It was (at the time)just a nice yet simple jig. Any way Thanks for the input on the lyrics.I had tried the dgitrad before but I ain't exactly Mr. Computer wiz! Any way, I would still like to know some more about the tune.can anybody help me out here?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: Murray on Saltspring
Date: 18 Dec 99 - 01:24 AM

Words are by the prolific Lady Nairne (1766-1845), who came of a Jacobite family, and so her songs about Royal Charlie & co. have the true patriotic ring. [Take a look at some of her other songs, where she tried to clean up what she considered in bad taste--rather pitiful efforts!--e.g. "Cauld Kail", a great drinking song (with a bawdy variant) was turned into a teetotal one.] Anyway: her song is not quite accurate. The Prince did get to Carlisle ha' (18 November 1745), preceded by one hundred pipers. But the river Esk was waded not in glory but in defeat,, when they returned to Scotland [a bit of wishful thinking and rewriting history]. As to the tune, its origin is as far as I know unknown, or dubious. It has been said to be a variant of the old tune "The White Cockade", brisked up into jig time.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: charcloth
Date: 18 Dec 99 - 04:13 PM

Thank you very very much Murry, I owe you one.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Jun 13 - 10:15 AM

The history of this song illustrates the sometimes murky boundary between genres like "folk," "fake," and "high art."

Carolina, Lady Nairne (1766-1845), was very probably the most prolific and successful Scots songwriter after Burns. As Murray pointed out above, the song's Jacobite sentiments were authentically her own and not just something hoked up for the pop market, as are many modern songs.

In fact, as a baroness, Nairne couldn't have cared less about the pop market, such as it was.

"Wi' a Hundred Pipers" was published in 1851, six years after Nairne's death and over a century after the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion it celebrates. Yet nonspecialists usually assume it's a genuine relic of 1745.

More to the point, scholar James Fuld notes that the earliest printings list no lyricist or composer, which further encourages belief that the song is "traditional." The sheet music does, however, credit a romantically mysterious, anonymous manuscript called "Lays of Strathearn" - which is indeed Lady Nairne's work, published under that title about 1846. Additional material was added in later editions.

There's no telling just when Nairn wrote "Wi' a Hundred Pipers," or how far beyond her immediate circle it had travelled before its posthumous publication.

It couldn't have been far, because it goes unmentioned anywhere before 1851. (At least I haven't found a mention in any data base; nor do I see the melody in the four-volume collection of "Kerr's Merry Melodies" [Edinburgh,?1880], containing about 1800 tunes, mostly Scottish and Irish.) Presumably it became a pipe-band staple around that time.

Despite the anonymous early publications, there's no substantive reason to dispute Nairne's authorship. With great caution, Fuld says only that the song is "possibly" by Lady Nairne, its famous melody "possibly" by the London-born singer Elizabeth Rainforth (1814-1877) who seems to have popularized the song, and who is credited on the 1851 sheet music merely as the arranger.

Now for the melody. "Folk tunes" are supposed to exist in many versions, but as folk-sounding as is the melody of "Wi' a Hundred Pipers," Fuld's comprehensive research unearthed no appearance of it (under any title) before 1851. As he suggests, the opening bars of "The Lee Rig" in Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, vol I, p. 50, are quite similar - but there the similarity ends.

As Murray suggested above, "The White Cockade" too is remotely similar, and could be made more similar by fiddling around with it and then altering the time signature. Nevertheless, "Cockade," isn't an obvious "version" of "Pipers." The educated and sophisticated Lady Nairne was almost certainly familiar with both "The White Cockade" and "The Lee Rig." So was Finlay Dun (1795-1853), the composer who at the very least arranged the music of many of Nairn's songs.

So the fanciful words of "Wi' a Hundred Pipers" are Nairn's and do not come from any folk-lyric tradition. (Even modern performers like Kenneth McKellar, Peter Morrison, and Isla St. Clair omit some stanzas as too wordy.)

The melody, however, is a more interesting question. Though presumably also composed by Nairne (or by Dun or Rainforth), its style is entirely inside the "folk tradition." At some point, apparently in the later 20th century, it was made less martial and became the anonymous Irish jig "The Market Town," rec. by Kevin Burke and Micheal O Domhnaill on "Portland."

Nairne was a baronness, Dun a well-connected professional musician, and Rainforth a fashionable stage soprano. Those facts detract nothing from the objective folk quality of the terrific melody that one - or in a way all of them - created in the early Victorian period.

To describe "Wi' a Hundred Pipers" blandly as either "folk" or "fake" would be seriously to misrepresent it. The same could be said of many other songs.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Jun 13 - 11:28 AM

Another somewhat related tune is "The Hills of Glenorchy" (with a change of mode).

Disguised authorship by aristocratic ladies was quite common in the 18th and 19th centuries. The most spectacularly successful example is Lady John Scott probably writing "Loch Lomond" and passing it off as Anon from decades earlier.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
Date: 20 Jun 13 - 11:54 AM

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jun 13 - 11:58 AM

Kenneth McKellar (1927-2010) sang "Wi' a Hundred Pipers;" his singing is available on a couple of lps. The song, with others of his, can be heard on

The songs of Lady Nairne did much to shape popular ideas about Scotland.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Jun 13 - 12:51 PM

Thanks for the ref., Jack.

For those who, like me, can sometimes enjoy that light-opera style, McKellar is one of the greats.

I can also recommend Morrison's and St. Clair's tracks in a similar vein. For a style that Nairne, Dun, and Rainforth might have appreciated, try Jeni Montrose with Geoffrey Duce on piano ("Traditional Scottish Songs"). Nor should you overlook the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on "Bagpipe Rock!"(It even sounds good slowed way down, as on by Cal Scott on "Scotland's Lighthouses.")

Amazon lists well over 100 available recordings.

Jean Redpath released an entire album of Lady Nairne's songs some years ago.

(Kerr's "Merry Melodies" was pub'd in Glasgow, not Edinburgh as I erroneously wrote.)

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Jun 13 - 02:21 PM

GUEST's reference is to Lesley Nelson's Contemplator site, which says "The words [of Loch Lomond] are attributed to Lady John Scott (1810-1900) who adapted a broadside by Sanderson of Edinburgh (1838)".

I tried to check this this up. I think I've looked through every single copy of every broadside published by any of the Sandersons in any of the files in libraries in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee, and I couldn't find any such song. And the Sandersons didn't date their sheets. So my guess is that Alicia Scott invented this broadside out of thin air, in a more elaborate deception than Nairne's simple hiding behind initials.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Jun 13 - 06:48 PM

Of "Loch Lomond," James Fuld says "No reference is made to the song in the best biography of Lady John Scott ('Thirty Songs by Lady John Scott,' Edinburgh, 1910)."

Fuld was unable to find any early broadsides either. What's more, "The earliest proven printing of the song is in W. Christie, 'Traditional Ballad Airs,' published in Edinburgh, Vol. I, p. 278, under the title 'The Bonny, Bonny Banks o' the Lomond.'... Although the title page of Vol. 1 is dated 1876, the entry at Stationers' Hall on June 1, 1881, says the date of publication was May 23, 1881 (without indicating whether such publication date refers to vol I and/or vol. II). The title page of vol. II is dated 1881. A careful history of the song in this book, at pp. 278 and 295, does not refer to the ...[alleged] sheet music editions."

Fuld notes a "substantially different melody...without words" called "Loch Lomond" in "A Favorite Collection of Popular Country Dances" [no. 14], published...[in] London, ca. 1806-1810."

I've checked Christie. His words are a little different from the usual (ex.: "Where the sun shines bright till the gloamin'.") The tune too is a little different.

Christie (p. 279) notes: "A set of the first strain of this air was noted by a lady in Broadford, Isle of Skye, from the singing of a 'stray waif' and was sent to the Editor in 1871. He had heard the whole Air sung in his early years in Buchan [where he was born in 1816]; but supposing it merely to be a set of the airs 'Kind Robin loes me' and 'The bonniest Lass in a' the world,' which are from the same original, he did not note it for his manuscript....The Editor has been informed by several persons that the ballad was well known in the North of England and South of Scotland; but he has been unable to find more verses of it."

On p. 295, he quotes a letter from Charles E. Dalrymple, who says he has seen the song printed elsewhere as "The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond." Dalrymple asserts that Christie has omitted a number of verses involving Prince Charlie and Flora MacDonald. Unfortunately, he doesn't give them.

I have not seen Alfred Moffat's "Minstrelsy of Scotland" (1894), but a review in the "Monthly Musical Record," Sept. 1, 1895, says: "Concerning that very general favourite, 'The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond,'...Lady John Scott, who is generally credited with the authorship, herself informed [Moffat] that she had picked up both words and melody from a poor little boy who was singing in the streets of Edinburgh. Prior to this incident she does not think the song was known. It was printed first about fifty years ago."

Just when Alicia Scott (1810-1900) passed this information on to Alfred Moffat is unknown, but it certainly undermines any claim that she was the author. Despite the (Her fame stems mainly from the melody she wrote - it was no secret - for "Annie Laurie" in 1835 - arr. by Finlay Dun, arranger of Lady Nairne's songs.)

In 1899 Robert Ford noted in "Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland," that the song had "recently enjoyed a vogue in the highest circles"    (perhaps owing to its publication by Moffat). Ford thought the song "puzzling" and printed two further, long forgotten stanzas, that he'd received from Miss F. Mary Colquhoun of Luss. They do nothing to explicate the song. Luss is on the banks of Loch Lomond.

In 1900 the great Andrew Lang published "a traditional version, collected, or recollected, by a lady of Clan Diarmaid who, when a child heard it sung as follows:"

                   BY YON BONNIE BANKS

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines sae bright and sae clearly,
Where I and my true love were ever wont to gae
On the bonnie bonnie braes of Binnorie.
         Oh ye'll tak' the high road, &c.

Wi' his bonnie laced shoon and his buckles sae clear,
And the plaid on his shoulder hung fairly,
Ae blink o' his e'e wad banish a' care,
Sae bonnie was the look o' Prince Charlie.

As lang as I live, and as lang as I breathe,
    I'll sing o' his praises sae clearly,
Though my true love was slain by the arrows of death,
    And Flora laments for Prince Charlie.

The thistle will bloom, and the king hae his ain,
And true lovers meet in the gloamin',
But I and my true love will never meet again
By the bonnie bonnie braes o' Binnorie.

"Clan Diarmaid" is another name for Clan Campbell.

To add to the confusion, Lang published his own original lyrics in 1898, all about Prince Charlie and presented (more or less) as genuine. But in his 1900 article Lang confessed the text was a hoax.

It's all quite confusing, but Lady Scott seems not to have written the song and it apparently had enjoyed some currency in Northeast Scotland after about 1820 or '30, when Christie would have heard it. There may have been more than one set of words before the song became a stage favorite in the 1890s or so.

In other words, "Loch Lomond" was a genuine, anonymous nineteenth-century Scottish folk song before it became "standardized," perhaps by Moffat's 1894 publication.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 100 pipers
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Jun 13 - 08:37 PM

Malcolm Douglas - who may have known more about these songs than the rest of us put together - located the genuine 1840s "Loch Lomond" broadside concerning Charlie and Flora Macdonald. Thread:


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