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Title : Dorrington lads

Also known as : Dorrington ; Dorrington laddie ;

Format : tune

Production details : compilers : Society of Antiquaries

Date : 1887 (circa)

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Collection name : Airs and dance tunes collected and constructed by the Melodies Committee of the Newcastle Antiquarian Society, 1857-1887


Named after the Lads of the small village of Doddington near Wooler, still pronounced Dorrington with the Northumbrian burr by older residents, this tune has a legendary status in piping lore owing to its association with Will and Jamie Allan. This, from Bewick, appears to be the version edited for the Northumbrian Minstrelsy, but if so it has been severely distorted in the process. It is necessary to be a little technical here - the thesis is that the high As were removed for the Minstrelsy version because they would not have been available on the plain smallpipe chanters that the Allans played. The tune as it appears in Dixon (1733), however, uses a 9-note range and is almost certainly for Border pipes rather than smallpipes. Bewick's setting (with some C sharps in the original) is an attempt at the Border pipe version on smallpipes, and even the much later Clough version has traces of this ancestry. It seems that the Minstrelsy editors wanted to identify the Allans with smallpipes rather than the Border pipes which they probably also played, and were prepared to change the evidence if it did not suit them. The version as given here remains the best smallpipe version, but for the full glory of the tune, and the justification for its status, see William Dixon.

The tune forms part of The 'Melodies Committee' manuscript, which appears to be a gathering together of tunes from which much of the contents of the Northumbrian Minstrelsy (1882) were selected, though its compilation continued after the date of the Minstrelsy's publication. It contains contributions in a number of hands from a number of sources, most of which are named. Items which directly reproduce other sources included on the FARNE site, such as Atkinson, Bell, Peacock and Mackintosh, have not been included, though alternative versions of tunes have been.


Collection description : Collection of local tunes compiled by the Society of Antiquaries

Period : 1861-1900

Tune Type : slip jig & smallpipe variation set

Key : G

Time signature : 9/8

Mode : Ionian

Gore's index : 551H 554

Height : 31 cm

Width : 23 cm

Held by : Gosforth Records Office

Copyright : Item reproduced by kind permission of the Society of Antiquaries


t :: 0191 433 8430

f :: 0191 433 8424

e :: libraries@gateshead.gov.uk

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FARNE Folk Archive Resource North East