Auld Tunes – Jack Lattin

Although I enjoyed working through the Drummond Castle Manuscript and adding my pipe scale versions of the tunes to the website, it did make me realise just how much work compilers and editors undertake before publishing old tune books and manuscripts. My original intention with the ‘Auld Tunes’ idea was not to compile tune books but rather to share tunes that I have in my repertoire in the hope of disseminating them to others who may not already know them. So that’s what I shall be doing for the moment.

First up is Jack Lattin, a ‘reel’ from the early 1700s. Although the tune is usually described as a reel I play it at a higher tempo (approx. 135bpm) than standard reels and to my ears it sounds more like a polka or a country dance (imagine My Love Is But A Lassie). This is a great example of a tune that was popular across these islands, being composed In Ireland sometime in the early 1700s but appearing almost simultaneously in collections on both sides of the Irish Sea. We think of modern times, and the internet in particular, allowing quick movement of musical trends between regions but it’s clear from the many different settings of this tune in manuscripts and publications from Scotland, Ireland and England that the same was happening in the 1700s. It seems that although the tune was composed in Ireland it fell out of favour there while remaining popular in Scotland and England for much longer, so much so that it was sometimes thought of as a tune from the Border region.

Most settings I’ve seen have similar first three parts, some then go off into variation sets. As I’ve said before, variation sets are not really my thing so I just stick to the three part setting and I’m quite sure my session friends are grateful for that. If you’re interested in variations check out Dixon’s (1733) ten parts (played here by Jeremy Kingsbury), Oswald’s (1760) twelve parts (IMSLP link) or Peacock’s (1805) nine parts (IMSLP link). I usually play it as the first tune in a set with Maggie Lauder and Stumpie. As is often the case with tunes popular in different areas the title was spelled in many different ways including Jackie Layton, Jack Latin, Jackie Latin, Jacky Latin, Jackie Latten, Jockey Latin, Jaque Latin, Jackey Layton, Jack Leighton, Jock o’ Latin, Jockey Layton, and Jockey Latin.

Jack Lattin was a young man from a fairly well-to-do County Kildare family who is said to have danced himself to death. You can read all about him in the well researched pages below and watch Edwina Guckian’s excellent video about him.
Set Dance Archive – Ecstasy in Eighteenth-Century Kildare?
Irish Traditional Music Archive – Edwina Guckian: The story of Jack Lattin
YouTube – Edwina Guckian Drawing from the Well 3: The Story of Jack Lattin

The Traditional Tune Archive page for the tune is here and their annotations are here.

Below is the tune in ABC notation. ABC is a great way to share simple, single staff notation and is popular amongst traditional musicians. You can learn about ABC notation here and I recommend EasyABC or Michael Eskin’s ABC Transcription Tools to convert the tunes into standard notation, for editing and playback.

T:Jack Lattin
|: A/2B/2c/2d/2 ea | ec ca | ec ca | e2 cB | A/2B/2c/2d/2 ea | ec ce | fB Bc | d2 cB :|
|: A/2B/2c/2d/2 ec | fd ec | A/2B/2c/2d/2 ec | e2 cB | A/2B/2c/2d/2 ec | fd ec| fB Bc | d2 cB :|
|: ae c/2d/2e/2c/2 | Ae c/2d/2e/2c/2 | ae c/2d/2e/2c/2 | e2 ce | ae c/2d/2e/2c/2 | Ae c/2d/2e/2c/2 | fB Bc | d2 cB :|

2 responses to “Auld Tunes – Jack Lattin”

  1. Auld Tunes – Maggie Lauder –

    […] The parts are sometimes repeated but as I play it in the middle of a set of two 32 bar tunes, Jack Lattin and Stumpie, I’ve notated and played it here without […]

  2. Auld Tunes – Stumpie –

    […] a passing note pipers could easily replace it with a G natural. I play it at the end of a set with Jack Lattin and Maggie […]

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