Notes on the Tunes

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11. Flowers of Edinburgh

This common tune first appeared in the 1742 Curious Collection of Scots Tunes under the title of “My Love is Bonnie When She Smiles on Me.” It was again published in 1749, renamed (a single) “Flower of Edinburgh.” “Flowers of Edinburgh” is the Scottish country dance for which the tune is played and by 1787 the plural title was the norm. Kuntz then proceeds to name all the symbolism of the word “Flowers,” beginning with the obvious – women, or a single woman in the case of ‘flower,’ perhaps the original intent. Over the years, though, “Flowers” have referred to everything from the town’s magistrates, to its prostitutes, and finally the contents of the many chamber pots at a time before modern sewage systems. “Keech. [French – caca, German – kaka] They used to chuck all their keech [Scottish] out of the window and onto the street. There was so much of it lying around, the locals called it the flowers of Edinburgh.” (Kuntz) It is found in Knauff’s Virginia Reels, renamed “Old Virginia.” David R’s setting here is crooked and altered from the usual melody in the A part, and shortened in the B. The minor chord in the A part comes from Steve Green.

Chris’ da Salo FCGD (GDAE)