Na'm biodh tri sgillinn agam

If I had threepence

Music: Sheena Phillips. Words: Trad. Anon
performance time approx 0m 40s (sung three times)
traditional Gaelic words and tune
Price code: A
Complexity: *

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This piece is part of the set Mouth music set 3
The next piece is Hé mandu
If you don't want to buy the whole set, then you can buy Na'm biodh tri sgillinn agam individually using the link on this page.
This is a lively piece of Gaelic puirt-a-beul ('poorsht-a-beel') or mouth music - the name for songs written to accompany dancing. It's in the voice of a young man who wants to escape one way or another - either through alcohol or through marriage. A suggested performance scheme is to sing it three times (piano, mezzo forte, forte). You could also experiment with bringing in different voices at different times (e.g. sopranos only v.1, sop and alto v.2, tutti v.3).
Traditionally, puirt-a-beul is sung unaccompanied and in unison but the tunes harmonise very well. Frequently they are sung in sequences of three or four, each song leading without a break into the next. Na'm biodh trì sgillinn agam works well as the second song in the following set of three: Bodachan ar-i-ar-o; Na'm biodh trì sgillinn agam; Hé mandu (all published by Canasg).
A recording by Rudsambee company of singers is available on their album bottled at source (RUBEECD003).

Pronunciation guide included


Na 'm biodh trì sgillinn agam
Chuirinn anns an òl iad;
Na 'm biodh trì sgillinn agam
Chuirinn anns an òl iad;
Na 'm biodh trì sgillinn agam
Chuirinn anns an òl iad;
'S na 'm biodh bonn-a-sia agam
Dh' fhiachainn ri pòsadh.

traditional Gaelic song


If I had threepence
I'd spend it on drink;
If I had a sixpence
I'd try and get married.

Canasg editors

Purchase – 1512: Na'm biodh tri sgillinn agam

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