Scottish Air

• Sep 22, 2012 - 18:11

I wonder if you could help me by identifying this tune, it has been listed only as a “Scottish Air” and I would dearly love to know it’s name, and any other information.

It was used early last century as a hymn tune.

Thank you in anticipation.

Rev. Wena D. Parry

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Scottish Air for help.png 206.72 KB


Hi Wena -

It doesn't sound familiar to me.

In case it would help anyone else to identify it, I've quickly typed it into MuseScore (without dynamic markings).

Fifist (Sally)

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AScottishAir.mscz 2.64 KB

In reply to by Fifist

Thank you Sally,

I do hope some one will know it, all the sites, has anyone have looked idea where I can look for it?

I have the English words for the hymn but will see if I can translate it into Welsh, my native language.


In reply to by Wena D Parry

Hi Wena -

I looked on one site and found these two references. You might want to take a look, since there are audios available. The tunes are very similar to your hymn.

Calla Herring. CJF.085, area: East Yorkshire, origin: England, book: Kidson Coll.Mitchell Lib.M1805, source: C.J.Fox MS, 1829/33, Beverley,E.Yorks.…

Caller Herring,(Scotch). JMT.104, area: Northumbria, origin: England, source: J.Moore,Tyneside,1841.(73)…

I wondered what "Calla Herring" or "Caller Herring" was all about. (I'm not from the British Isles.) I looked it up in Wikipedia and found this reference, regarding a couple of photographers:

They photographed local and Fife landscapes and urban scenes, including images of the Scott Monument under construction in Edinburgh. As well as the great and the good, they photographed ordinary working folk, particularly the fishermen of Newhaven, and the fishwives who carried the fish in creels the 3 miles (5 km) uphill to the city of Edinburgh to sell them round the doors, with their cry of "Caller herrin" (fresh herring).

I hope that helps.

Fifist (Sally)

Editing to add a bit more...

I found the lyrics to the song on several websites. Search for "Caller Herrin".

One website (which features the pattern for a knitted tam!) says this:

Caller means fresh, and “Caller Herrin’” was one of the traditional street cries of the fishwives who carried their laden creels up from the Newhaven harbourside to sell their wares around Edinburgh. This street cry, in turn, gave its name to a song, written in the 1820s by Jacobite poet, Carolina Oliphant, to a tune by master Scots fiddler, Nathaniel Gow.

That's all I'll write. Promise!

In reply to by bryanL

The song was made up, of course, but based on fishwives and fisherfolk from Newhaven near Edinburgh.

Loosley translated:

Who will buy my fresh herring?
They are beautiful fish and wholesome food.
Buy my fresh fish, newly caught in the (Firth of) Forth.
When you were sleeping in your pillows,
Did you dream at all of our poor fellows (the fishermen - husbands of the fish-sellers),
Struggling as they faced the storms,
All to fill our baskets?

418 Caller Herrin'.pdf

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