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 Traditional Music >> The Scottish Whistle >> Tutorials >> Tutorial 8.2

The Scottish Whistle


Comin' Thro' Rye

Irregular Rhythm

Piper's Hut


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Whistle Tutorial - Lesson 8.2


Comin' Thro' the Rye


THE TUNE CONTAINS THE snap, which characterises almost all Strathspeys. Look at the third and fourth notes; the rhythm indications (the half-bar at the top of the stem and the dot) have been reversed, leading to a short D note (all fingers down) followed quickly by a longer A note (two fingers down).

The tune is well known largely because Robert Burns wrote lyrics to it (see below), but in fact there have been several versions of the song, some of them quite bawdy and not widely known. There was a suggestion that by "Rye" is meant a streamlet of that name in Ayrshire, but that's not likely, particularly as Burns inscribed the following on a pane of glass in Mauchline:

Gin a body kiss a body comin' through the grain.
Need a body grudge a body what's a body's ain?
The tune is one of a family of tunes which are fairly similar, the earliest of these being The Duke of Buccleugh's Tune, published in 1690. Others in the family are I've Been Courting At a Lass, Hey, How, Johnnie Lad, I Fee'd a lad at Michaelmas, and so on. As well as Comin' Thro' the Rye, another off-shoot is the tune used for Auld Lang Syne.

This tune is available as a [MIDI file].

Comin' Thro' the Rye

ctrye.gif - 13Kb


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