"Fair Eliza"

(Looking for previous summit tunes? Check out "Thou Art Gone Awa From Me, Mary" & "Ballad to M–")

Original track for the Anne Lister Research Summit by Mynabird Sounds based on "Fair Eliza" from The Edinburgh Musical Miscellany (volume 2) from 1783.


Excerpt from "Fair Eliza", as seen in The Edinburgh Musical Miscellany (volume 2) from 1783. (CC BY 4.0)

This year's Summit music comes from a piece called Fair Eliza, taken from volume II of "The Edinburgh Musical Miscellany" also known as the "Glen Collection." The book was printed in 1793 and contains a number of traditional songs from around the British Isles. Like many of the songs in this collection, Fair Eliza is transcribed as a single line of melody, presumably for a singer, as there's no other indication of chord charts or accompanying music for an instrumentalist. The piece is written in "Common Time" (4/4) and has an F# in the key signature, denoting G major as the starting key.

The original melody is pretty jaunty and changes key a great deal, which proved pretty impossible to translate sympathetically to a modern genre. So, we agreed that the best thing to do was to strip it back and focus on a couple of key themes. This then adapted nicely to a chillwave format.


Fair Eliza

At Beau-ty's shrine I long have bow'd,

At each new face my heart has glow'd With

something like a passion. But dull in-si-pid

joys I found, The bliss no genuine rap-tures

crow'nd, The fair love but from fa---shion, The

fair love but from fashion.

Inconstant I of course became,

No care kept up the lambent flame,

Which thus unheeded died:

To whim was sacrificed each grace,

To vanity each pleasing face,

And love too oft to pride.

At length I fair Eliza saw,

Whose beauties fire — whose virtues awe;

I gaz'd, admir'd, and lov'd.

Her sweet attention soothes each care,

Nought can our mutual bliss impair,

Time has our flame improv'd.