Sheet Music: Drimen Duff

TitleDrimen Duff
Alternate titlesDruim Fionn Dubh
Gloomy Night is Gath'ring Fast
ComposerTraditional Scottish
InstrumentationFlute solo
KeyA minor
Time signature3/4
Tempo100 BPM
Performance time1:00
Difficulty leveleasy
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (55 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (479 kB)
Date added2020-03-28
Last updated2020-03-28
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 0.4 (below average)
Slow airs, Traditional/Folk


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Saturday 28 March 2020

Tune of the Day: Drimen Duff

Traditional Scottish/Irish air

The earliest known appearance of this tune in print is in Book 8 of Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion (c. 1760). Tune collector Francis O'Neill wrote, in his Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody (1922):

In former times it was much more common to find a white stripe along the spine of brown or black cows, and this coloration was called “Druim-fionn”, or white-black. which became “Drimmin” or “Drimen”. Thus we have “Drimmin-fionn-dubh” or White-back black cow, etc. In poetical literature those titles are allegorical. “Drimmin Dhu” was a political password among the Irish Jacobites, and all “Drimmin” songs breathe a spirit of fealty to the Jacobite cause.

The Scottish national poet Robert Burns used the melody for his song “Gloomy Night is Gath'ring Fast” in 1786.