BRAW SCOTTISH TUNES!


The High Road To Linton


The tune is sometimes said tae be aboot the old drove road (also called ‘The Thieves’ Road’) that ran frae West Linton up across the Pentland Hills tae the Catslackburn. At one time that wis the main route through the Borders fur cattle drovers. They bocht cattle in the Scottish Hielands an walked them aa the way sooth. The tune is known by other titles, Scots an Gaelic. For example ‘Kitty got a clinking coming from the races’ (she fell over).


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Hear it performed by Alex Green on whistle above.


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Hear it performed by Charlie Bremner on fiddle above.


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Hear it performed on clarsach [the small Scottish harp] by Heather Yule above. 


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Hear it performed by Mhairi MacKinnon, fiddle, and Marianne Fraser, guitar, students at Plockton Music School Centre for Excellence, above.


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Hear this tune performed by various instruments including Dougie Pincock on bagpipes above.


The Hen’s March To The Midden


You can hear the fiddle imitating the sound of the hen cackling as it marches to the farm dung heap hoping to scratch there and find food - perhaps worms? Yuck! This tune is at least 200 years old, and was called the Trumpet Voluntary. The piano accompaniment is in a typical Scottish style.


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Hear this tune performed by Colin Campbell, fiddle, and Katherine Campbell, piano, above



The Merry Boys Of Greenland


This tune comes from Shetland, the home of many fine fiddle tunes and fine fiddlers, including Aly Bain and Tom Anderson. The Shetlanders were and are brave seamen. Perhaps the tune relates to the whaling boats that went up to catch whales between Greenland and Canada, and would stop in Shetland to recruit some of their crew.

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Hear this tune favourite performed by the Kiltearn Fiddlers above.

On Page 2 is the song and information about the Scottish whaling ship called The Diamond.



Largo Fairy Dance


This tune is probably the most famous of all the Scottish fiddle tunes connected with the fairies and was written by the composer Nathaniel Gow (1763-1831) from Perthshire. Solo fiddlers play it with variations, which make this short, simple tune into a longer, more complicated one.


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Hear this tune above, performed by Mhairi MacKinnon, fiddle, and Marianne Fraser, guitar, students at Plockton Music School.


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Hear above how fiddler Aly Bain from Shetland, together with the Boston Scottish Fiddle Club from the USA, plays this tune in concert while the Club dancers join them on stage to the delight of the American audience.


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Hear above how fiddler Aly Bain from Shetland, together with the Boston Scottish Fiddle Club from the USA, plays this tune in concert while the Club dancers join them on stage to the delight of the American audience.



The Barren Rocks Of Aden


This march tune is associated with the Gordon Highlanders regiment, because it is played for the dance called The Gay Gordons. The tune is said to have been composed by piper James Mauchline, who was delighted that his regiment was leaving the hot dry port of Aden in what is now South Yemen in Arabia. It rains less than once a year in Aden, and the Old Town is inside the shell of an extinct volcano.

More recently the Singing Kettle show recorded a song that uses a simpler version of the first part of the tune. Their song begins,

Ma Ma, will you buy me a

Buy me a, buy me a

Ma Ma, will you buy me a

Buy me a banana

The mother buys her child a banana, but then eats it all herself!


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Hear The Cradle Song', then ‘The Barren Rocks of Aden’, played above by Colin Campbell, fiddle, and Katherine Campbell, piano.


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