Musical Notes Tune No. / NoteMP3 Music ClipPhoto(s)
TUNE 001 – The Banks of Sicily: is at song with the words by Hamish Henderson and is a slower rendition of the quick march Farewell to the Creeks composed Pipe Major James (Robbie) Robertson of the Gordon Highlanders. The pipe tune was composed while Pipe Major Robertson was a German prisoner of war during World War I. The Creeks refers to The Creeks of Portknockie on the Banffshire Coast near Moray. The title of the son is also known as The 51st (Highland) Divisions Farewell to Sicily or “Farewell Ye Well Ye Banks of Sicily” or “Farewell Ye O’ Banks of Sicily”.

Sicily is off the coast of mainland Italy. This was the landing point for those known as “The D-Day Dodgers” who were various Canadian, British and other countries regiments that landed on Sicily and fought their way through Italy during the Italian Campaign. Some local Canadian Regiments that fought in this campaign were the 48th Highlanders of Canada and The Hasting’s and Prince Edward (Hasty P’s) Regiment. The famous Canadian writer the late Farley Mowat was an officer with The Hasting’s and Prince Edward Regiment.

My arrangements for the pipes is using what is often though of the refrain or chorus as the first part played twice over, normally sung twice over and then the various stanza which are sung as the 2nd part played only once for each stanza.

Sometimes a singer will sing it this way. Other times, they will start with the second part and since the first part twice. In other instances they sing the verse then the chorus over once, so it would be part 2 then part 1 in my rendition.

Often you hear singers singing the tune to the melody of the original Pipe Tune’s music, I have arranged this tune based on a rendition that I found nice to listen to, which was sung by the late Scottish Singer Andy Stewart. It was when Andy Stewart was part of the White Heather Concert’s that used to be an annual event in Toronto with took place at Massey Hall. The 48th Highlanders of Canada Pipes and Drums which I was a member of at one time, often took part in the opening of the show, the opening of the second half and closing. It was at one of those shows I hear Andy Stewart sing the tune. I then found a copy of it years ago and started to play the tune and eventually wrote the tune out on paper and then finally transcribed it to music writing software.

I felt this order and repeating of parts works best and can be also played along with other tunes of this style, such as Skye Boat Song and Glencoe (which is a song based on a pipe tune composed by Pipe Major Farquhar Beaton of the 48th Highlanders of Canada, which was a 6/8 March titled Colonel Robertson).

Various lyrics have evolved over time. The closest to the original lyrics by Hamish Henderson are sung by Dick Gaugan.

The following are the lyrics as sung by Dick Gaugan, with the original lyrics by Hamish Henderson shown in brackets [ ]. Hamish’s lyrics are similar to old Scots which was the style of the Scot’s language Robert Burness (Robbie Burns) composed many of his peoms.
The pipie is dozie, the pipie is fey
He wullnae come roun for his vino the day
The sky owre Messina is unco an gray
An aa the bricht chaumers are eerie
Fareweill ye banks o Sicily
Fare ye weill ye valley an shaw
There's nae Jock will murn the kyles o ye
Aa the bricht chaumers are eerie
[Puir bliddy swaddies are wearie]

Fareweill ye banks o Sicily
Fare ye weill ye valley an shaw
There's nae hame can smour the wiles o ye
Aa the bricht chaumers are eerie
[Puir bliddy swaddies are wearie]
Then doun the stair an line the watterside
Wait yer turn the ferry's awa
Then doun the stair an line the watterside
Aa the bricht chaumers are eerie
The drummie is polisht, the drummie is braw
He cannae be seen for his wabbin ava
He's beezed himsell up for a photie an aa
Tae leave wi his Lola, his dearie
Fareweill ye banks o Sicily
Fare ye weill ye sheilin an haa
We'll aa mind shebeens an bothies
Whaur kind signorinas were cheerie

Fareweill ye banks o Sicily
Fare ye weill ye sheilin an haa
We'll aa mind shebeens an bothies
Whaur Jock made a date wi his dearie
Then tune the pipes an drub the tenor drum
Leave yer kit this side o the waa
Then tune the pipes an drub the tenor drum
Puir bluidy swaddies are wearie
[Aa the bricht chaumers are eerie]

Here is another set of lyrics also used for this tune:

Fare ye well ye banks of Sicily
Fare ye well ye valley and shore
There's no Scot will mourn the loss o' ya
Poor bloody soldiers are weary.
The pipe he is tuned and he's pipin' away
He won' be in town for his vino today
The sky is like Antrim, all cloudy and gray
And the song that he's playin' is eerie
Fare ye well ye banks of Sicily
Fare ye well ye valley and shore
There's no Scot will mourn the loss o' ya
Poor bloody soldiers are weary.
It's march down the stair, and line on the bay
Your pack's on your back now the boats are away
You're waitin' your turn while the fife and drum play
And the song that they're playin' is eerie
Fare ye well ye banks of Sicily
Fare ye well ye valley and shore
There's no Scot will mourn the loss o' ya
Poor bloody soldiers are weary.
The drum he is polished, the drum he is grand
He can no' be seen for his straps and his bands
He's greased himself up for a photo and stand
To leave with his Lola, his dearie.
Fare ye well ye banks of Sicily
Fare ye well ye valley and shore
There's no Scot will mourn the loss o' ya
Poor bloody soldiers are weary.

Farewell to Sicily - 51st Highland Division, the Highland Division that inspired the words to the tune The Banks of Sicily
Scottish Singer and Comedian - Andy Stewart - who sang the song "The Banks of Sicily" during a White Heather concert in Toronto that the arranger of this tune participated in as a Piper with the 48th Highlanders of Canada Pipes and Drums. Andy Stewart’s version inspired him to adapt the song to the pipes.
Sicily Campaign during WWII by British, American and Canadian Forces
The 51st Highland Division Pipe Band during WWII, Sicily
Sicily Invasion by Allies WWII
Canadian's in Sicily, WII


Soldiers in Sicily during WWII


Padre Rev. Stewart East of the 48th Highlanders of Canada with members of the 48th in Sicily.


Pvt Harry McDowell 48th Highlanders of Canada in Sicily


Sgt H E Cooper 48th Highlanders of Canada in Sicily
Portnockie near Moray Scotland - Bow Fiddle Rock off the Creeks of Portnockie


Bow Fiddle Rock and Cave near the Creeks of Portnockie - Moray, Scotland
TUNE 002 – Fairy Tale of New York: is at song with the words and lyrics by Shane McGowan and Jem Finer of The Pogues. It was a well-known tune and song when it first was released by the Irish Punk Rock Band – The Pogues. It is about a fellow in jail and it around Christmas season. It is often heard around the Christmas season each year and was adapted to the bagpipes by The Lone Star Pipes and Drums. The New York City Police Department Pipe Band is seen in the video that filmed for the release by The Pogues and has likely become their theme song. I adapted this to the bagpipes based on what I heard in the original video clip by The Pogues so the tune starts with a slow portions in 4/4 time (twice over as sung by Shane McGowan) and then into a 12/8 Jig section with sections repeated and some slower sections in the middle and at the end of the tune. I was prompted to adapt this tune as a Canadian Piper who lives in Australia these days was looking for a copy of the music back in 2014. By the time I got around to adapting it, St. Patrick’s Day of 2015 had come and gone. I still have not sent him a copy, maybe he will download it from this site (hear that Lionel).



TUNE 003 – Hallelujah: is at song with the words and lyrics by Leonard Cohen a Canadian Singer/Composer born in Montreal Canada. When it was first released many artists including K.D. Lang and many others have covered the song and various Pipe Bands including Simon Fraser University Pipe Band have covered it with their own setting. This setting is a simple setting with easy to remember repetitive movements in a coordinated fashion. I was asked if I could play this tune on the pipes in 2016 for a July 2016 wedding which I was going to not only officiate as a member of clergy here in Ontario, but also was to Pipe for the wedding as well. The Bride asked if it was possible to play this tune and I said I believed it had already been played on the bagpipes by others and said I would work on it. As I could not at the time find a copy of the tune in bagpipe sheet music, I adapted the song to the pipes after looking at a piano score for the tune. (I often adapt tunes from other musical instrument scores). In this case it had a number of flat’s and sharps, so I adapted this tune, like a number of other by finding the best starting point for the tune and then arranging from there. I also decided to make it simple for use for piping in a bride or piping out the bridal party at a wedding. After writing out the music and eventually playing at that particular wedding I found that this particular tune adapted very well to the sound of the pipes.

TUNE 004 – The Log Drivers Waltz: is a song in a waltz tempo written by Canadian Wade Hemsworth. It was used as the song and music for a Canadian animated by the National Film Board of Canada and appeared in the 1979 release as part of their Canadian Vignettes series on television. It is a song about LOG DRIVING which is part of the LOGGING industry and the taking down river the felled logs by Lumber Jacks to the lumber mills for final cutting into lumber. I recall for many years the Sportsman’s Show held in Toronto at the Canadian National Exhibition each year had a big water tank where Lumber Jacks would show their skills rolling on the Logs competing with each other who would stay on the log. One Jack would move his feet rapidly trying get the other Jack to fall into the water. Log Rolling is a fun sport to watch, but even more fun to take part in. They used let us young guys and gals give it a try, decking us out in a those hip waters and other wet gear with proper foot wear and we would get on the log and see if we could roll the log and remain on it. I tried it a few time, got wet and got back on and fell off again and again until I finally got it just right. The same thing happened every year I went to the Sportsman’s Show so, I guess you need to use the skill or loose it as they say. I decided a number of years ago, after coming across this tune on a Television special that it might be adaptable to the pipes. I found that it was ok on the first part, but the second part (the chorus) was a bit of a problem, you couldn’t go high enough on the scale with the 9 notes available on the pipes. So I decided to search for a good place to start the second part, which was actually the first note you would have made after the first part but rather than going up I manage to make it work so it didn’t sound too off the actual tune. It works for the most part and does play well on the great highland bagpipe. Here are the versus and chorus as sung by various singers listed below:

[Verse 1]
If you ask any girl from the parish around
What pleases her most from her head to her toes
She'll say I'm not sure that it's business of yours
But I do like to waltz with a log driver


[Chorus]
For he goes birling down and down white water
That's where the log driver learns to step lightly
Yes, birling down and down white water
The log driver's waltz pleases girls completely


[Verse 2]
When the drive's nearly over I like to go down
And watch all the lads as they work on the river
I know that come evening they'll be in the town
And we all like to waltz with the log driver


[Chorus]
For he goes birling down and down white water
That's where the log driver learns to step lightly
Yes, birling down and down white water
The log driver's waltz pleases girls completely


[Verse 3]
To please both my parents, I've had to give way
And dance with the doctors and merchants and lawyers
Their manners are fine, but their feet are of clay
And there's none with the style of my log driver


[Chorus]
For he goes birling down and down white water
That's where the log driver learns to step lightly
Yes, birling down and down white water
The log driver's waltz pleases girls completely


[Verse 4]
Now I've had my chances with all sorts of men
But none as so fine as my lad on the river
So when the drive's over, if he asks me again
I think I will marry my log driver


[Chorus]
For he goes birling down and down white water
That's where the log driver learns to step lightly
Yes, birling down and down white water
The log driver's waltz pleases girls completely
Birling down and down white water
The log driver's waltz pleases girls completely






TUNE 005 – Midnight on the Water (Song Adaptation): is a waltz that was composed for the fiddle by Luke Thomasson. A piper from the United States, Brain Shajari, who is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves, was looking for a copy of the sheet music for this particular tune on Facebook in the late summer of 2016. I often will check out the tune using YouTube to hear it to determine if I felt it was possible to adapt it to the great highland bagpipe. In this case I tried a bit on the practice chanter to find the range where to start and then looked up some various sheet music scores for other instruments to see some of the sharps and flat implications. What I did find was several versions of this tune. So, I adapted four (4) versions which I describe in the titles of the tunes as “Song Adaptation”, “Common Fiddle Version”, “Benny Thomasson Version” and “Slow and Upbeat Version”. The Song Adaptation was indeed just that based on the song I heard in YouTube. The Common Fiddle Version it the most well know version played by fiddlers. The Benny Thomasson Version is Luke’s son Benny’s version which has a few more intricate movements that the Common Fiddle Version in the some sections. Then there is the Slow and Upbeat version which I heard on a YouTube clip which was played by a lady piper and I thought it was a nice rendition of the slow waltz into a more of a quick waltz tempo. So, thanks to Brian Shajari for posting on Facebook to get a copy of this tune. I am not sure which version of the tune he favoured to use as I sent him all four (4) versions. After I finished the arrangements, it does appear to be a great wee waltz that does adapt and sound great on the great highland bagpipe.
Benny (a.k.a. Buddy) Thommason, Luke's Son


Benny (a.k.a. Buddy) Thomasson - Luke's son


Lucas (Red Luke) Thomasson - composer of Midnight on the Water
TUNE 006 – Midnight on the Water (Common Fiddle Version): is a waltz that was composed for the fiddle by Luke Thomasson. A piper from the United States, Brain Shajari, who is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves, was looking for a copy of the sheet music for this particular tune on Facebook in the late summer of 2016. I often will check out the tune using YouTube to hear it to determine if I felt it was possible to adapt it to the great highland bagpipe. In this case I tried a bit on the practice chanter to find the range where to start and then looked up some various sheet music scores for other instruments to see some of the sharps and flat implications. What I did find was several versions of this tune. So, I adapted four (4) versions which I describe in the titles of the tunes as “Song Adaptation”, “Common Fiddle Version”, ““Benny Thomasson Version” and “Slow and Upbeat Version”. The Song Adaptation was indeed just that based on the song I heard in YouTube. The Common Fiddle Version it the most well know version played by fiddlers. The Benny Thomasson Version is Luke’s son Benny’s version which has a few more intricate movements that the Common Fiddle Version in the some sections. Then there is the Slow and Upbeat version which I heard on a YouTube clip which was played by a lady piper and I thought it was a nice rendition of the slow waltz into a more of a quick waltz tempo. So, thanks to Brian Shajari for posting on Facebook to get a copy of this tune. After I finished the arrangements, it does appear to be a great wee waltz that does adapt and sound great on the great highland bagpipe.
Benny (a.k.a. Buddy) Thommason, Luke's Son


Benny (a.k.a. Buddy) Thomasson - Luke's son


Lucas (Red Luke) Thomasson - composer of Midnight on the Water
TUNE 007 – Midnight on the Water (Common Fiddle Version): is a waltz that was composed for the fiddle by Luke Thomasson. A piper from the United States, Brain Shajari, who is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves, was looking for a copy of the sheet music for this particular tune on Facebook in the late summer of 2016. I often will check out the tune using YouTube to hear it to determine if I felt it was possible to adapt it to the great highland bagpipe. In this case I tried a bit on the practice chanter to find the range where to start and then looked up some various sheet music scores for other instruments to see some of the sharps and flat implications. What I did find was several versions of this tune. So, I adapted four (4) versions which I describe in the titles of the tunes as “Song Adaptation”, “Common Fiddle Version”, ““Benny Thomasson Version” and “Slow and Upbeat Version”. The Song Adaptation was indeed just that based on the song I heard in YouTube. The Common Fiddle Version it the most well know version played by fiddlers. The Benny Thomasson Version is Luke’s son Benny’s version which has a few more intricate movements that the Common Fiddle Version in the some sections. Then there is the Slow and Upbeat version which I heard on a YouTube clip which was played by a lady piper and I thought it was a nice rendition of the slow waltz into a more of a quick waltz tempo. So, thanks to Brian Shajari for posting on Facebook to get a copy of this tune. I am not sure which version of the tune he favoured to use as I sent him all four (4) versions. After I finished the arrangements, it does appear to be a great wee waltz that does adapt and sound great on the great highland bagpipe.

Benny (a.k.a. Buddy) Thommason, Luke's Son


Benny (a.k.a. Buddy) Thomasson - Luke's son


Lucas (Red Luke) Thomasson - composer of Midnight on the Water
TUNE 008 – Midnight on the Water (Slow and Upbeat Version): is a waltz that was composed for the fiddle by Luke Thomasson. A piper from the United States, Brain Shajari, who is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves, was looking for a copy of the sheet music for this particular tune on Facebook in the late summer of 2016. I often will check out the tune using YouTube to hear it to determine if I felt it was possible to adapt it to the great highland bagpipe. In this case I tried a bit on the practice chanter to find the range where to start and then looked up some various sheet music scores for other instruments to see some of the sharps and flat implications. What I did find was several versions of this tune. So, I adapted four (4) versions which I describe in the titles of the tunes as “Song Adaptation”, “Common Fiddle Version”, ““Benny Thomasson Version” and “Slow and Upbeat Version”. The Song Adaptation was indeed just that based on the song I heard in YouTube. The Common Fiddle Version it the most well know version played by fiddlers. The Benny Thomasson Version is Luke’s son Benny’s version which has a few more intricate movements that the Common Fiddle Version in the some sections. Then there is the Slow and Upbeat version which I heard on a YouTube clip which was played by a lady piper and I thought it was a nice rendition of the slow waltz into a more of a quick waltz tempo. So, thanks to Brian Shajari for posting on Facebook to get a copy of this tune. I am not sure which version of the tune he favoured to use as I sent him all four (4) versions. After I finished the arrangements, it does appear to be a great wee waltz that does adapt and sound great on the great highland bagpipe.
Benny (a.k.a. Buddy) Thommason, Luke's Son


Benny (a.k.a. Buddy) Thomasson - Luke's son


Lucas (Red Luke) Thomasson - composer of Midnight on the Water
TUNE 009 – Mistletoe and Wine: is a Christmas Song and Hymn made famous in 1988 by Cliff Richards and English Singer. I heard him sign this song a number of years ago on the radio when I was driving home one evening. I heard it that particular Christmas season many times. You still here it each Christmas season on some of the radio stations, but not as often I would like to hear it. The song was written by Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart and Keith Strachan for a musical called Scraps, which was an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl" set in Victorian London. Scraps was first performed at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, London in 1976. The musical was renamed and adapted for television by HTV in 1987, and featured Roger Daltrey, Paul Daneman, Jimmy Jewel and Twiggy. As originally conceived, "Mistletoe and Wine" had a different meaning from that for which it has come to be known. The writers wanted a song that sounded like a Christmas carol, intending it to be sung ironically while the little match girl is kicked out into the snow by the unfeeling middle classes. By the time the musical transferred to television, the song had become a lusty pub song sung by the local whore, as played by Twiggy. Cliff Richard liked the song, but changed the lyrics to reflect a more religious theme (which the writers accepted). Leslie Stewart never like Cliff Richards lyrics, as it took away from the socialist style of song they wrote mocking Christian beliefs as carolers sang while little match girl (waif) was begging in the streets, and the carolers appeared to ignore the girls situation. Brian Strachan also didn’t care much for the lyrics as he indicated he wasn’t a practicing Christian, but changed his mind when he heard Cliff Richards version on the car radio, indicating he thought it was alright and Cliff Richards had made it his own. Cliff Richards’s version is the most popular and Richards never asked for or claimed any writing credits for his lyrics.

I was asked to pipe for a Christmas event as one of several entertainers at a Church in Scarborough, Ontario a number of years ago. The asked if I could play various Christmas Carols and Hymns on the bagpipes and I indicated many Christmas Carols and Christmas Hymn and various Hymns in general often were adaptable to the bagpipes, because most often hymns and carols were written with the 9 note range of the great highland bagpipe scale of notes. So they asked me to do a 15 minute performance with of various pieces of Christmas music. Also, the challenge was to try not to use something other musicians and singers were going to perform. I told them I might have to play something other have performed in some instances but it might be a good idea to play a few tunes others performed to show it can be played on the bagpipes. They agreed. I chose some of the standards, which I already played, including religious hymns and carols as well as some secular ones such as Jingle Bells. I also decided to include this tune because the lyrics were rather Christian in nature. I played it as the last tune I the music I selected and provided them with a copy of the lyrics and asked them to sign along with me if they wished to once they hear the tune played over once. They did sing along. Anyway, it is a great tune for the great highland bagpipe. Here is the lyrics by Cliff Richards listed below, unfortunately I cannot find at this time any copy of the original Scraps and HTV lyrics:


CLIFF RICHARDS LYRICS:


"Mistletoe and Wine"

The child is a King, the Carolers sing,
The old has passed, there's a new beginning.
Dreams of Santa, dreams of snow,
Fingers numb, faces aglow.


Christmas time, Mistletoe and Wine
Children singing Christian rhyme
With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree
A time to rejoice in the good that we see


A time for living, a time for believing
A time for trusting, not deceiving,
Love and laughter and joy ever after,
Ours for the taking, just follow the master.


Christmas time, Mistletoe and Wine
Children singing Christian rhyme
With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree
A time to rejoice in the good that we see


Silent night, holy night


A time for giving, a time for getting,
A time for forgiving and for forgetting.
Christmas is love, Christmas is peace,
A time for hating and fighting to cease.


Christmas time, Mistletoe and Wine
Children singing Christian rhyme
With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree
A time to rejoice in the good that we see


[repeat x2]


Christmas time, silent night
mistletoe and wine, holy night
Children singing Christian rhyme,
With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree
A time to rejoice in the good that we see.


Sir. Cliff Richards composer of the words of his particular set of lyrics.


From the YouTube Clip from the Television Special with Cliff Richards walking between Soldiers.
Twiggy in the role of Prostitute in the Pub/Bar in Little Match Girl singing the song in a with original more socialistic lyrics.


Poster


Roger Daltrey from Little Match Girl production
TUNE 010a and 010b – Song for the Mira (a.k.a. Out on the Mira): is at song with the words and lyrics by Allister MacGillivray a Canadian Singer and Song Writer from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Canada. The tune is named after the Mira River (pronounced Myra) which is some 54 km (31 mi) long. It is located in the Eastern portion of Cape Breton Island in the area of community of Marion Bridge (Scottish Gaelic: Drochaid Mhira. The community is named after the eponymous bridge that crosses the Mira River. The bridge is located approximately midway between the river’s source in Grand Mira and its discharge point at Mira Gut. The current concrete highway bridge was constructed in 1982 as a replacement for an older bridge, which collapsed after an accident involving a snow blow. The town and bridge was made famous by Allister’s song. It was also featured in the movie Marion Bridge at the end of the movie and while the credits are displayed by the three actresses that play three estranged sisters in the movie: Molly Parker, Rebecca Jenkins and Stacey Smith with Mary Reynolds playing the guitar. The movie was released in 2002.

How I came to adapt this tune was due to a young woman whose mother was going to be celebrating her 60th Birthday asked me to pipe for her mother’s birthday celebrations. She asked me if I knew “The Song for the Mira” as her mother was from that part of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I told her, I knew the song, but had not played it on the bagpipes. I said I would listen to the tune to see if it could be adapted to play on the great highland bagpipe. I also mentioned, since the bagpipes musical piece the pipe chanter only had 9 notes and we cannot play sharp’s or flat’s unless they are naturally part of the bagpipe music that is written, we often have to adapt the tune to accommodate. So, after listening to the tune as sung by John McDermott and Anne Murray I got the tune into my head and scribbled it out on some music manuscript paper, learned to play it and played it for the first time at the young woman’s mother’s 60th birthday celebration. By the way, this young woman asked me a couple of years later to both pipe and officiate her wedding at the Port Severn Lodge, Port Severn, Ontario. The photo shown on the header of this web site is a picture of me playing down the walkway of the dock which leads to and from the dock which was out on the lake.

From that point on, I often use this tune to pipe in the Bride or Bridal Party during a wedding. Another tune that I often use is title “The Rose” as song made popular by Bette Midler in 1980. So, on my Piping Service web site, I had shown a photo of myself piping in the bridal party to a backyard wedding I was also officiating and mentioned I was playing the tune “The Song for the Mira”. Allister MacGillivray contacted me a few years ago, when he saw on my piping web site and wedding web site that I had played his song “Song for the Mira” a.k.a. “Out on the Mira” on the bagpipes. He wanted that tune as well as the tune to “Away from the Roll of the Sea” another one of his compositions to be adapted to the bagpipes. Since I did not have a music writing software program at the time, I hand wrote out the music and sent it to Allister and he put it in his music writing software printed it and sent me a copy to adjust. We eventually got the two tunes into bagpipe format. The tune “The Song for the Mira” was adjusted slightly from what I had originally handwritten, based on a suggestion for one part by Allister.

As I was getting ready to publish my own musical composition using this particular web site, I decided to revisit the original adaptation of the tune and re-work it into a new adaptation that was more closely true to the original tune’s flow. I now have two adaptations of this tune, “the Original Adaptation” which is a simpler version for a Pipe Band to play together and recently when I adapted the tune to the original style which Allister both wrote and sang the song, I made two changes. The first change was I found that it was easier to write the tune for readability in 6/8 time rather than the original Three Quarter (3/4) time signature used by Allister to compose and also sing the song. Also, I felt it flowed better on the bagpipe (a musical instrument, mind you some people don’t think the bagpipes are a musical instrument and other like to call them an instrument of war, but that’s another story for another day and possibly another tune). The second change I made was in a series of notes in the 7th bar of the refrain (2nd part) where the tune has the notes run up from “‘b 8th” to a “c 8th” held and a “d sharp 16th” note, I chose to change the “d sharp” to a “low a” for a better sound. Though the “d sharp” is not that off like in some tunes, I felt more comfortable with the “low a” in this instance for a more melodic sound. Pipers could play the “d 16th” rather than the “a 16th” note if they wish to remain true to the original song score.

So whichever version you prefer it is up to the person who will be playing the tune. Often there are more than one adaptation to tunes, that the one I previously mentioned, “The Rose” it had been adapted into what I call a “High” and “Low” version. I play both to mix it up when I play the tune.

The top link to the MP3, PDF Sheet Music and BWW File Format is the most recent version that is closer to the original score by Allister MacGillivray. Below that version is my original adaptation of the tune, which you may also enjoy or prefer to play (especially as a tune played by a Pipe Band).

The lyrics for Out on the Mira are as follows:


Out on the Mira one warm afternoon,
Old men go fishing with black line and spoon
And if they catch nothing they never complain,
I wish I was with them again.


As boys in their boats call to girls on the shore,
Teasing the one that they really adore,
And into the evening the courting begins,
I wish I was with them again.


Can you imagine a piece of the universe
more fit for princes and kings?
I'll give you ten of your cities
for Marion bridge and the pleasure it brings


Out on the Mira on soft summer nights
Bonfires blaze to the children's delight
They dance round the flames singing songs with their friends;
I wish I was with them again.


And over the ashes the stories are told
Of witches and werewolves and Oak Island gold
The stars on the river they sparkle and spin;
I wish I was with them again.


Can you imagine a piece of the universe
more fit for princes and kings?
I'll give you ten of your cities
for Marion bridge and the pleasure it brings


Out on the Mira the people are kind,
They'll treat you to home-brew and help you unwind.
And if you come broken they'll see that you mend
I wish I was with them again.


And thus I conclude with a wish you go well,
Sweet be your dreams, may your happiness swell,
I'll leave you here, for my journey begins,
I'm going to be with them, going to be with them,
I'm going to be with them again.


Allister MacGillivray


Allister MacGillivray


Allister MacGillivray and the Governor General of Canada
TUNE 011 – Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella: is an adaptation of a 17th century song normally notated in 3/8 time, or as sometimes seen in 3/4 time. I chose to arrange this version for the Great Highland Bagpipe in 6/8 Dance Tempo or Slow Jig time.

The tune is also known in English as Bring a torch, Jeannette, Isabella.

The tune itself originated from the Provence region of France in the 17th century. It was a carol first published in France and subsequently translated into English in the 18th century. The song was not meant to be sung at Christmas, it was originally considered dance music for French nobility

The medley was likely written by Marc Antoine Charpentier, a French composer of the Baroque era. I was likely derived from the air à boire Qu'ils sont doux, bouteille jolie from the now lost Le médecin malgré lui.

In the carol the visitors to the stable have to keep their voices down so the newborn can enjoy his creams.

To this day in the Provence region, children dressed as shepherds and milkmaids carry torches and candles while signing the carol, on their way to Midnight Mass.

I originally hear this tune on December 13, 2017 on Zoomer Radio, Am 740 in Toronto and it caught my attention as it was also combine with the traditional Christmas tune I Saw Three Ships. It was an instrumental in this case by singer, composer and musician Loreena Isabel Irene McKennitt who was born in Morden Manitoba. Loreena plays Celtic Harp, Accordion and Piano. This version used the Accordion as the main instrument.

I felt this particular combination of tunes after listening to Loreena McKennitt’s rendition this morning warranted adapting the two tunes to the Great Highland Bagpipe. I Saw Three Ships has already been adapted by others, however I chose to arrange my own adaptation of this tune as well and to include Lorrena’s bridge from I Saw Three Ships back into the lead tune of the Medley, Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella on the repeat of the medley. You could end the medley on either tune.

During the adaptation, a few notes were too low on the scale for the bagpipes and some minor changes were required in order to allow the tune to flow and play without playing off sounding notes.

Lyrics English
Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabelle!
Bring a torch, to the stable call
Christ is born. Tell the folk of the village
Jesus is born and Mary's calling.
Ah!* Ah! beautiful is the Mother!
Ah! Ah! beautiful is her child
Who is that, knocking on the door?
Who is it, knocking like that?
Open up, we've arranged on a platter
Lovely cakes that we have brought here
Knock! Knock! Open the door for us!
Knock! Knock! Let's celebrate!
It is wrong when the child is sleeping,
It is wrong to talk so loud.
Silence, now as you gather around,
Lest your noise should waken Jesus.
Hush! Hush! see how he slumbers;
Hush! Hush! see how fast he sleeps!
Softly now unto the stable,
Softly for a moment come!
Look and see how charming is Jesus,
Look at him there, His cheeks are rosy!
Hush! Hush! see how the Child is sleeping;
Hush! Hush! see how he smiles in dreams! French Lyrics
Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabella --
Un flambeau! Courons au berceau!
C'est Jésus, bonnes gens du hameau.
Le Christ est né; Marie appelle!
Ah! Ah! Que la Mère est belle,
Ah! Ah! Que l'Enfant est beau!
Qui vient là, frappant de la porte?
Qui vient là, en frappant comme ça?
Ouvrez-donc, j'ai posé sur un plat
Des bons gateaux, qu'ici j'apporte
Toc! Toc! Ouvrons-nous la porte!
Toc! Toc! Faisons grand gala!
C'est un tort, quand l'Enfant sommeille,
C'est un tort de crier si fort.
Taisez-vous, l'un et l'autre, d'abord!
Au moindre bruit, Jésus s'éveille.
Chut! chut! Il dort à merveille,
Chut! chut! Voyez comme il dort!
Doucement, dans l'étable close,
Doucement, venez un moment!
Approchez! Que Jésus est charmant!
Comme il est blanc! Comme il est rose!
Do! Do! Que l'Enfant repose!
Do! Do! Qu'il rit en dormant! [2]


(*) The word Hark! or Hush is sometimes substituted for Ah!

Alternate Lyrics:

Bring a torch, Jeannette, Isabelle!
Bring a torch to the cradle run!
It is Jesus, good folk of the village;
Christ is born and Mary's calling:
Ah! ah! beautiful is the mother!
Ah! ah! beautiful is her Son!
It is wrong when the Child is sleeping
It is wrong to talk so loud;
Silence, all, as you gather around,
Lest your noise should waken Jesus:
Hush! hush! see how fast He slumbers:
Hush! hush! see how fast He sleeps!
Softly to the little stable,
Softly for the moment come;
Look and see how charming is Jesus,
See how He smiles, Oh see how rosy!
Hush! hush! see how the Child is sleeping;
Hush! hush! see how He smiles in dreams.
Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella (Bring the Torch, Jeannette, Isabella) - 17th Century French Christmas Carol - Carolling with Candles to the Manger to visit the New Born King
Marc Antoine Charpentier - composer of the French Dance and Christmas Carol music - Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella (Bring the Torch, Jenneatte, Isabella)
Loreena McKennitt Album Cover of Celtic Music - A Midwinter Night's Dream - Christmas Carols - incules Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella and I Saw Three Ships
Loreena McKennitt Back Cover of Celtic Music - A Midwinters Night's Dream - Christmas Carols - incules Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella and I Saw Three Ships
Loreena McKennitt - Celtic Singer, Composer and Musician - born in Morden, Manitoba - settled and lives in the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario
TUNE 012 – I Saw Three Ships: is an adaptation of a 17th century traditional old English Carol "I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In)" , The earliest printed version of "I Saw Three Ships" is from the 17th century, possibly Derbyshire, and was also published by William Sandys in 1833. The lyrics mention the ships sailing into Bethlehem, but the nearest body of water is the Dead Sea about 20 miles (32 km) away. The reference to three ships is thought to originate in the three ships that bore the purported relics of the Biblical magi to Cologne Cathedral in the 12th century. Another possible reference is to Wenceslaus II, King of Bohemia, who bore a coat of arms "Azure three galleys argent". Another suggestion is that the ships are actually the camels used by the Magi, as camels are frequently referred to as "ships of the desert".

This tune was adapted with a 6/8 Dance Tempo or Slow Jig Tempo and is a good tune to play along with Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella (Bring the Torch, Jeannette, Isabella) as a medley of two Christmas Carols.

Lyrics - I Saw Three Ships

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day in the morning

And what was in those ships all three
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
And what was in those ships all three
On Christmas Day in the morning

Our saviour, Christ and his lady
On Christmas Day, On Christmas Day
Our saviour, Christ and his lady
On Christmas Day in the morning

Pray, whither sailed those ships all three
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
Pray, whither sailed those ships all three
On Christmas Day in the morning

Oh, they sail into Bethlehem
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
Oh, they sail into Bethlehem
On Christmas Day in the morning

And all the bells on earth shall ring
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
And all the bells on earth shall ring
On Christmas Day in the morning

And all the angels in heaven shall sing
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
And all the angels in heaven shall sing
On Christmas Day in the morning

And all the souls on earth shall sing
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
And all the souls on earth shall sing
On Christmas Day in the morning

Then let us all rejoice amen
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
Then let us all rejoice amen
On Christmas Day in the morning
I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In - and all the Angels in Heaven Did Sing


I Saw Three Ships Coms Saling In.


I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In


The Magi on three ships of the dessert, known as Camels - as they are depicted and sung about in the Carol, I Saw Three Ships.
TUNE 011 and 012 Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella and I Saw Three Ships - Christmas Carol Medley - includes transition from I Saw Three Ships back to Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella
Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella (Bring the Torch, Jeannette, Isabella) - 17th Century French Christmas Carol - Carolling with Candles to the Manger to visit the New Born King
I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In - and all the Angels in Heaven Did Sing
Loreena McKennitt - Celtic Singer, Composer and Musican - Singing

Loreena McKennitt - Celtic Singer, Composer and Musician - playing accordion.

Loreena McKennitt - Celtic Singer, Composer and Musician - shown with her Harp
TUNE 013 – Away from the Roll of the Sea: is at song with the words and lyrics by Allister MacGillivray a Canadian Singer and Song Writer from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Canada. Allister contacted me a few years ago, when he saw on my piping web site and wedding web site that I had played his song “Out on the Mira” or a.k.a. Song for the Mira on the bagpipes. He wanted that tune as well as Away from the Roll of the Sea to be adapted to the bagpipes. Since I did not have a music writing software program at the time, I hand wrote out the music and sent it to Allister and he put it in his music writing software printed it and sent me a copy to adjust. We eventually got the two tunes into bagpipe format. Since then, I have not put these tunes into my Bagpipe Music Writing software, but will be doing so shortly and posting them to this site. The lyrics to Away from the Roll of the Sea are as follows:

Small craft in a harbour that's still and serene,
Give no indication what their ways have been;
They rock at their moorings all nestled in dreams,
Away from the roll of the sea.

Their stern lines are groaning a lullaby air,
A ghost in the cuddy, a gull on the spar;
But never they whisper of journeys afar,
Away from the roll of the sea.

Oh, had they the tongues for to speak,
What tales of adventure they'd weave;
But now they are anchored to sleep,
And slumber alee.

Come fair winds to wake them tomorrow, we pray,
Come harvest a-plenty to them ev'ry day;
Till guided by harbour lights they're home to stay,
Away from the roll of the sea.

Oh, had they the tongues for to speak,
What tales of adventure they'd weave;
But now they are anchored to sleep,
And slumber alee.

Come fair winds to wake them tomorrow, we pray,
Come harvest a-plenty to them ev'ry day;
Till guided by harbour lights they're home to stay,
Away from the roll of the sea.