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Further Reading

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There are 900 entries.

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Image Title Item Description
J.O Forbes of Corse, verso
J.O Forbes of Corse, verso The Note, written by Skinner, reads: 'The above is the original Key. The Founder of the present style of Strathspey playing, the best all round player & composer of his day, his left hand was as accurate as a machine. Composer of 'The Pride a' the Dee' Valse, 'The Dean Brig' was revised by him, but it is not his composition. It was composed by Archie Allan, & named 'Mrs Gray of Carse'. The Rev. Mr Tough, Kinnord got hold of a copy & gave it to Davie, Aberdeen who published it as 'The Dean Brig' & gave the Minister a present o' the tune! C. Middleton Keith, then gave it in his books as Peter Milnes, unintentionally no doubt - but the Ministers & Peters names were ultimately withdrawn.'
Lady Mary Primrose
Lady Mary Primrose At a first glance, it appears that Skinner has kept his arrangement of the 'admired old melody' relatively simple. However, a look at just the first bar shows how most of the quavers are double dotted, and the player has to use 6 bow strokes in this bar in order to play the melody as Skinner intended. In this bar, you can also see examples of his 'straight slurs' where the bow comes off the strings between the notes. The squiggle near the end of the following bar is another of his devices, known as a 'loop', where the bow is dragged along. This manuscript was intended for the engraver, as the little note at the bottom left hand corner shows.
Lady Mary Primrose, Note
Lady Mary Primrose, Note The note, which is taped to the strathspey Lady Mary Primrose, reads: 'Lady Mary Primrose. This beautiful strain was composed by William Marshall & appeared in his collection as 'Invereshie'. We find it appears also in Nath Gow's coll: with the Strains reversed & altered little. Peter Milne did much to bring this exquisite morsel to the front, & welcome honesty and patriotism in sifting out all the corn from the chaff, deserves more than a passing notice.'
The Sadness of Life
The Sadness of Life This 'Eerie Pastoral' by Skinner, dated 10th September 1890, is dedicated to his friend and early mentor, Peter Milne. Milne, an opium addict, was an invalid for the last ten years of his life and died in 1908. Skinner has marked the music 'Grave & Intensely'and states that the music is to be played 'Hopelessly'. He has included a quote from Tennyson at the bottom of the page: 'Ah! That a man would arise in me That the man I am may cease to be'.
Dean Brig
Dean Brig Although Skinner credits Archie Allan of Forfar with the composition of The Dean Brig, this is not entirely certain. Allan died in 1831 aged 37. Skinner has made this copy in great haste - note the notes lacking stems in bars 9 and 10, as well as blots and splodges. It is very similar to the version which appears in Harp & Claymore. Skinner carries on the Peter Milne tribute theme here in the note at the bottom of the page: 'This, & many other beautiful old tunes, have been nursed & tended by Peter Milne.'
The Dean Brig o' Edinburgh
The Dean Brig o' Edinburgh This version of The Dean Brig makes an interesting comparison with JSS0035. There are only very minor differences: here, Skinner has added his characteristic flat slurs in bars 3, 7 and 15. He has thickened his accompaniment slightly with octaves. Bar 12 has a very slight melodic and rhythmic difference to the same bar in JSS0035.. Skinner's note at the end reads: 'Miss Gray of Carse is original title. The Rev Mr Tough exhibited his name in Davies Caledonian Repository with change of title. Mr Peter Milne undoubtedly made this fine Slow Strathspey popular.'
Fairbairns This slow strathspey was not composed by Skinner. He has left a space at the top of the manuscript for the composer's name, but this has not been inserted. Skinner started his career by playing cello accompaniments for Peter Milne. This is apparent in all his arrangements - he uses an extremely simple and basic bass line. In this case, he has even marked bars 1 and 3 with 'cello'. The note pasted on to the bottom of the manuscript reads: 'The last strain of above is used by street players as a part of 'Earl Grey' to which I must utter protest - When tradition is right, I defin'd it, with might - Earl Grey is a good tune bu it must stand by itself - S.S.'
Our Highland Queen
Our Highland Queen A short verse, defining the Victorian sentiment of the tune is pasted to the top LH corner: 'The blue bell may forget to spring, The Cold cease to blow; But Deeside men can ne'er forget The loyalty they owe. There are some differences between this and the version that appears in Harp & Claymore. Click on the audio link below to hear Skinner playing this melody.
My Bonnet Blue lies stained and Bloody, or The Farewell
My Bonnet Blue lies stained and Bloody, or The Farewell Skinner has given this dramatically titled piece some dramatic directions. To ensure that the performer gets the right degree of pathos, the directions are to play the tune very slowly and with 'intense and Patriotic feeling'. The many military campaigns involving Scottish soldiers which were mounted during the late Victorian era inspired a great deal of patriotic feeling. As well as providing an easier alternative to the penultimate bar, Skinner has also directed that this should be the very last melody in Harp & Claymore. The volume underwent many changes in content and layout, and My Bonnet Blue is not the final entry.
My Bonnet Blue lies stained and Bloody (verso)
My Bonnet Blue lies stained and Bloody (verso) Letter to the Skinner's friend 'The Laird of Drumblair' which has been entirely crossed out: My dear Laird, 14 Melodies composed here!!! This one just hot, please appreciate the sentiment and place in the Harp & Claymore MS. Peter Milne tells me that I compose better than ever. Alas, poor Peter, Alas La Teste [who wrote many lyrics which Skinner set to music]. Off to dress for closing at Old Deer tonight. Dear Laird this air ought to be copied for you. Not sure of heat [uncertain] shift - yours aye Scott Skinner'.

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