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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).

Tribill, Truble, Treble, n.1 (adj.2). Also: tribull, trybill, tribbill, trib(b)le, tr(o)ubill, treable, trabill. [ME and e.m.E. treble (Manning), trouble (1532), OF treble, pop. L. triplus.]

1. Treble.‘The highest part in a three-part vocal or instrumental composition and the second highest in a four-part composition.’ H. Y. H. Carter A Dictionary of Middle English Musical Terms.See also Ten(n)o(u)r(e n. 4 for further examples.(a) 1539 Glasgow Prot. IV 118.
The said maister to furnes … syngaris for tribull and secund tribull
15.. Clar. ii 1881.
Meliades … The tribill sang, full angill lyke and cleir
a1578 Pitsc. I 233/17.
Thir tuo bodyis in ane personage … could pleay and singe tuo pairtis, the on the tribill the wther the tennour
1638 Adamson Muses Thr. I 18.
And ye my clubs [sc. golf clubs] … closely keep you mourning … for your part the trible to you take, And when you cry, make all your crags to crake, And shiver when you sing
(b) 15.. Clar. iv 1815.
Ane tennour … the truble sang
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 88 (L) (see (c) below).
(c) a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 88 (W).
To heir the startling streames cleire, I thocht it musike to the eire, Quhair deskant did abound, With treble [L. trubill] sweet, and tenor just
1600-1610 Melvill 29.
I lerned of him the gam, plean-song, and monie of the treables of the psalmes
c1635-80 Edwards Commonpl. Bk. 5a.
The treble of the Inglishe toone

b. fig. or in fig. context. Implying youth. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 113/19.
The tod wes … grit with all; The silly lame wes all to small To sic ane tribbill [M. trybill] to hald ane bace
a1570-86 Maitland in Maitl. F. 61/14.
Fresche Maii and cauld Januarye Aggreis nocht vpone ane sang … The tribbill wantis that sould be swng abwne

c. attrib. or adj. With pairt (Part n. 9) and viol. 1540 Lynd. Sat. 147 (B).
Sic plesour … garris me sing the tribill [Ch. troubill] pairt
1623 Edinb. Test. LI 312b.
Tua trabill violis and ane beas violl
1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 502.
Basse and trible viol

2. A treble voice, one who sings the treble part. 1562-92 Wode's Psalter (ed.) 167.
Secund tribble
16… Wode's Psalter (ed.) 239.
Fill the cup … If it be weak giv't to the treble [: able]; Because he sings the cleerest part

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"Tribill n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Aug 2022 <>



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