John Miles Foley, Founding Editor

Masonic Song in Scotland: Folk Tunes and Community


This article explores the place of Masonic songs historically in Scotland, assessing the oral culture surrounding the genre. The article further shows that folk tunes were commonly used and investigates aspects of the group performance that was central to the Lodges. Finally, the study concludes with an examination of a Masonic procession in Northeast Scotland that survives to the present day, focusing especially on the role of music and song within it.


“The Master’s Song,” (Anderson 1723:85-86).

Illustration: Eighteenth Century Collections Online,

“The Warden’s Song,” (Anderson 1723:87-88).

Illustration: Eighteenth Century Collections Online,

“The Enter’d Prentice’s Song,” (Anderson 1723:84 [lyrics], 90 [music]).

Music Notation: Katherine Campbell

“Farewell to the Brethren at St. James Lodge, Tarbolton,” (Dick 1903:214-15).

Music Notation: Katherine Campbell

“Come All Ye Freemasons,” (Riddell 1906-11:118).

Music Notation: Katherine Campbell

“While Yet as a Cowan,” (Greig-Duncan 1374C [tune], St Cecilia 1782:no. 3 [text]).

Music Notation: Katherine Campbell

“Sons of Levi,” (Karpeles 1974:ii, 489).

Music Notation: Katherine Campbell

“Wi the Apron On,” (Greig-Duncan 471D).

Music Notation: Katherine Campbell from Shuldham-Shaw et al. 1981-2002

Fiddlers’ Gallery, Eyemouth.

Photo: Jack Willox, Lodge St. Ebbe

Masonic procession (Wilson and Chambers 1840:66).

Engraving: David Octavius Hill

“Ho Ro The Merry Masons,” (Tune collected in 2007 from Mr. Crawford, senior member of the Lodge).

Music Notation: Katherine Campbell

Table of Contents

Center for Studies in Oral Tradition | 21 Parker Hall | Columbia, MO 65211
573.882.9720 (ph) | 573.884.0291 (fax) | | Technical Support