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The Laird o' Drumblair
The Laird o' Drumblair The 'Laird of Drumblair' was William McHardy, one of Skinner's benefactors. He made more than £100,000 from engineering work in South Africa, before returning to live at Drumblair House, Forgue, by Huntly, Aberdeenshire. This excellent strathspey, with its 'spiccato' (off-the-string) bowing is still popular as it was when Skinner wrote: 'Several players have won medals with this tune'. He adds that: By tuning the 3rd string to E, and the 4th to A - the above tune may be played 'Scordatura' fashion - an old style of tuning the violin. Tempo - strathspey - 20 seconds. Reel - 15 seconds. The reel he refers to is Angus Campbell (JSS0082).
Angus Campbell
Angus Campbell Angus Campbell is the 2/4 reel in A major ('Tempo 136') that Skinner wrote to follow The Laird o' Drumblair (JSS0081), and could be considered a variation of the tune. His simple bass line uses open fifths to suggest Highland bagpipe drones although several notes take this piece beyond the bagpipe range.
The Left Handed Fiddler
The Left Handed Fiddler The Left Handed Fiddler was written for George Taylor. Both George and his son played left-handed fiddles. Skinner describes the second section as 'The cuckoo in the corn', and wrote below the music a reminder that: Angus Campbell's Reel should follow 'The Laird o' Drumblair'. In blue crayon in the right corner is: MS for 'Harp and Claymore' (underlined). You can listen to Skinner playing this melody by clicking on the audio link (cd112c).
Welcome Whisky Back Again
Welcome Whisky Back Again Skinner's manuscript of the strathspey 'Welcome Whisky back again' (by) Neil Gow / original Key B (flat). Below the music he adds that: for (a) racy anecdote of the veteran see 'Annals of Perthshire' (JSS0085). Gow (1727-1807) from Inver, Perthshire, was easily as famous then as Skinner was in his own time. He was renowned for his up-bow ('driven') stroke in strathspeys, and his landlord and patron, the Duke of Atholl (see JSS0083) was a life-long friend. Gow wrote the 'very slow and pathetic' Farewell to Whisky when distilling was prohibited in 1799 due to poor harvests. His Whisky, Welcome Back Again [sic] did just that on its return.
Note about Neil Gow
Note about Neil Gow Skinner's manuscript of 'a racy anecdote of the veteran' fiddler Niel Gow (1727-1807) from Inver, Perthshire, connected with the strathspey Welcome Whisky Back Again (JSS0085): His delight when the prohibition was again abolished. Here is Neil's best story - (See Annals of Perthshire / an interesting volume) / Neil owed his patron----------forget details / the price of a cow - an interval at a large Ball his patron approached Neil while puttin' 'rozit' [rosin] on his bow - Neil, Neil ye've nae word o' payin' me fa [for] that coo [cow]! Neil (replied) No my Lord I wid hae been the last to mention 't gin [if] ye hidna [hadn't] deen't [done it] yersel' needless to relate Neil got the coo as a present!- [Gow's patron and landlord was the Duke of Atholl, a life-long friend.]
Valse Jumbo
Valse Jumbo The lower half of the sheet music cover of Skinner's Valse Jumbo, written after 1881, while he was living in Elgin. Jumbo, an African elephant who children rode on at London Zoo, was bought by the American showman Phineas T. Barnum in 1882 for £10,000. Despite British protests, Jumbo was taken to the United States. He died in Ontario, Canada, in 1885, having been struck by a locomotive.
The Hurricane
The Hurricane Skinner's manuscript of The Hurricane: Reel. "The wind harping fiercely on the Woodpines", but alas, 'tearing all the strings' 17th November 1893 / arr[anged]. by Gavin Greig. In A major, and 2/4 time, it is to be played f (forte - loudly) and 'brillante' - brilliantly. The second section, in contrast, is p (piano - softly) and tranquillo, tranquil. To the right, he tells Greig that this bass line is just a sample. The published setting has a much simpler piano accompaniment that doesn't interfere with the rapid melodic notes. Also, all of the music is to be played loudly (f) or very loudly (ff) except the last eight bars. which, as here, are very quiet, as if the hurricane has lost strength, until Skinner surprises the listener with the very loud last two bars.
The Hurricane (verso)
The Hurricane (verso) Skinner writes to Gavin Greig on the verso of The Hurricane (JSS0087) that: Where there are more than one copy the better one will be selected -In foot note should go under music Poetical? "The wind harping fiercely on the Woodpines", The chords would suggest wind gusts in 1st strain and in F (sharp) minor (writing of the last eight bars) sterility for the first 6 bars then into (tune?) and crazy -
The Hurricane
The Hurricane Skinner's second version of his reel The Hurricane (JSS0087) has only a sketchy bass line. The last eight bars are marked 'Softly', but see JSS0088 for his final decision. Under the music he reminded himself to: See G(avin). G(reig)'s copy, and get him to add Bass.
The South of the Grampians
The South of the Grampians Manuscript in Gavin Greig's hand of the: 'Strathspey. The South of the Grampians. (by) A. Porteous Dancing Master arr(anged) by Gavin Greig. This version is almost identical to that published in the Harp and Claymore, differing only in a few bass notes. Skinner had also found out more about Porteous by then, perhaps from David Baptie's Musical Scotland (1894), where the name and dates - James Porteous (1762-1847) - are the same as those in the Harp and Claymore. According to Baptie, this strathspey was originally called 'The Balance of Comfort', or 'Miss Rogerson's'. Porteous is said to have been born in Ecclefechan, and died in Annan. The Grampians are the mountains of Scotland's largest mainland mountain range.

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