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Music Discuss specific tunes, the writing of tunes, other questions, concerns, etc. related specifically to the music or music books.

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Old 12-09-2018, 08:36 AM   #1
3D Piper
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Default Origin of 'The Keel Row'?

Questions from kids:

What is the origin of the strathspey 'The Keel Row'?

Also, why all the 'high road to..' tunes..? were there no low roads?




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Old 12-09-2018, 08:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: Origin of 'The Keel Row'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3D Piper View Post
Questions from kids:

What is the origin of the strathspey 'The Keel Row'?

Also, why all the 'high road to..' tunes..? were there no low roads?




-Matthew
Think of High Road as meaning the main/ good/ well-maintained road or what we'd call a Highway over here. A lot of towns & cities name their main road through town "High Street" for the same reason AFAIK, nothing to do with topography.
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Old 12-09-2018, 10:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Origin of 'The Keel Row'?

The Keel Row is one of those tunes, possibly Scottish, possibly English, that date back certainly to the 18th and perhaps further. With such an adaptable melody it was used both as a song and instrumental. Here's the great Tom Clough with a mighty version on the Northumbrian pipes:


https://soundcloud.com/chrisormston/...29-re-mastered


The title itself refers to keel-boats, the original canal-going boats crewed by keelmen.



As for low roads, they did indeed exist: they were local, poorly maintained, and took you nowhere in particular, and were often literally on low-lying ground. There are occasional mentions of them in 18th and 19th century literature.
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Old 12-09-2018, 05:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Origin of 'The Keel Row'?





If I may quote... and the music playing
in the background...


"Oh, ye take th' high road
And I'll take th' low road..."





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Old 12-10-2018, 04:43 AM   #5
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Origin of 'The Keel Row'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pip01 View Post




If I may quote... and the music playing
in the background...


"Oh, ye take th' high road
And I'll take th' low road..."





As I recall being told a lifetime ago, the lyrics referred to the final parting of two rebels- one was being hanged( The High Road?) and the other being banished/transported. That may indeed be an old chestnut.
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Old 12-14-2018, 05:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Origin of 'The Keel Row'?

I guess there are a lot of interpretations; my recollection is that the High Road is the soldier returning to Scotland alive and the Low Road is a demise in battle, returning to a grave,
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Old 12-18-2018, 01:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: Origin of 'The Keel Row'?

Robert, it's the other way round.
The man who dies takes the high road (heaven), gets to Scotland first, but will never see his true love again on the banks of Loch Lomond. His pal survives and takes the low, earthly road. The song doesn't say what the survivor gets up to when he gets back, or which loch he does it on the banks of.

Neil
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Origin of 'The Keel Row'?

The Keel Row title is a shortened version of the first line of the chorus " 'O, weel may the keel row". A history of the song is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Keel_Row
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