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Welcome to the Traditional Tune Archive
The Semantic Index of North American, British and Irish traditional instrumental music with annotation, formerly known as
The Fiddler's Companion.

Featured Tunes

Stirling Castle, c. 1790's

STIRLING CASTLE. [1] AKA - “Sterling Castle.” AKA and see “Gray Day Light,” "Gray Day-Licht," "Harvest Home (2)," "Kirn (1) (The)," “Marquis of Hansley's.” Scottish (originally), Irish; Highland or Strathspey. Ireland, County Donegal. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (most versions): AA’B (Martin, Skinner). Composed by Professor Bannatyne, Aberdeen, this tune is in both bagpipe and fiddle repertories. According to Bill Hardie (1986), North-East Scottish fiddlers "of two or three generations ago" knew this strathspey by the title "The Grey Day-Licht." The reference to "Harvest Home" as an alternate title comes from J. Scott Skinner's Harp and Claymore collection (1904), where “The Kirn” is also given as an alternate. Bill Hardie notes that the similarity between "Stirling Castle" and the popular hornpipe "Harvest Home" is a tenuous one, however, there is considerable similarity to "Harvest Home (2).” "Stirling Castle" is popular today as a Highland in County Donegal, and it was one of the several Scottish tunes recorded by the great Sligo/New York fiddler Michael Coleman. It was recorded several times in the 78 RPM by Irish and Scottish musicians, including Peter Wyper, Colin Boyd (Cape Breton), Michael Coleman, Hector MacAndrew, Donald Davidson, Jimmy Shand and others.
Stirling Castle is a spectacularly restored castle in Stirling, Scotland, and is located on the top of a plain of an extinct volcanic hill surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs. The site had been fortified since ancient times, but the main surviving buildings date from the 15th and 16th centuries, along with a few structures from the 14th century. Stirling Castle was the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots and was the permanent crown residence for many of the Stewart kings.

STIRLING CASTLE full annotations and Past Featured Tunes

X:1 % T:Stirling Castle T:Kirn (1) (The) T:Harvest Home (2) M:C L:1/8 R:Strathspey B:Milne – Middleton’s Selection of Strathspeys, Reels &c. for the Violin (1870, p. 17) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D A,|OD2 (F>D) (A>D)(F>D)|A,<A,(C>A,) (E>A,)C>E|D2 (F>D) (A>D)(F>A)| (3Bcd (3efg f<dd:|[Af]|d<df>d (g>e)(f>d)|(g>e)(f>d) (3efd (3cBA| d<d(f>d) (g>e)(f>d)|(3Bcd (3efg f<d d>f|d<df>d (g>e)(f>d)| (g>e)(f>d) (3efd (3cBA|(3fga (3gfe (3def (3edc|(3BcB (3dcB (3ABA (3GFEO||

Why TTA Who builds the Archive

Although we are not trained musicologists and make no pretense to the profession, we have tried to apply such professional rigors to this Semantic Abc Web as we have internalized through our own formal and informal education.

This demands the gathering of as much information as possible about folk pieces to attempt to trace tune families, determine origins, influences and patterns of aural/oral transmittal, and to study individual and regional styles of performance.
Many musicians, like ourselves, are simply curious about titles, origins, sources and anecdotes regarding the music they play. Who, for example, can resist the urge to know where the title Blowzabella came from or what it means, or speculating on the motivations for naming a perfectly respectable tune Bloody Oul' Hag, is it Tay Ye Want?
Knowing the history of the melody we play, or at least to have a sense of its historical and social context, makes the tune 'present' in the here and now, and enhances our rendering of it.

Andrew Kuntz & Valerio Pelliccioni

Please register as a user to make the most of the many functions of the TTA, and enjoy the many ways that information about traditional tunes can be elicited and combined, from simple to complex situations. Users may make contributions, which, when reviewed by an editor, become part of this community project. Serious user/contributors may become editors through the TTA's autopromotion process, in which quantity and quality of entries allows increased levels of permission to edit and review the entire index.
Above all, the developers wish you joy in the use of the TTA.

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Help Getting started


Navigation: Registered users can navigate the Traditional Tune Archive for information in a number of ways.

  • Search. The Search function is located at the bottom of the SideBar on the left, and can be used to search the entire index for any key word.
  • Alphabetically by tune title. Under “The Index” on the SideBar on the left is “All Tunes”. Click on “All Tunes” to open up the list of tune titles in the TTA arranged in alphabetical order, 200 titles to a page. At the top of the page is an alphabetical breakdown that serves as a shortcut to pages. Clicking on any title will bring one to the music and tune fields. Once the tune appears, clicking “Tune Discussion” at the bottom of the page (below the notation) will open up the narrative information on the tune.
  • Query the Archive. The “Query the Archive” function under “The Index” in the sidebar can be used to draw down reports from the TTA in either in single items or in a number of combinations. One might, for example, use a single item query to run a report in the TTA for a particular composer/core source. Clicking on the arrow at the right of the bar draws down a list of composer/core sources, or one may be typed in. For example, clicking on “Bill Pigg” and then the “Run Query” tab at the bottom left will result in a list of all compositions listed in the TTA that the Northumbrian piper either composed or is the core source for. Reports may also be run in combinations, as, for example, by selecting “William Marshall” as a composer/core source, “Three Flats” for the number of accidentals, and “Major” for the Key/Mode. This will result in a report of all Eb Major compositions of Scottish fiddler/composer William Marshall that are indexed in the TTA.
  • Drill Down. Cumulative information about TTA entries can be found in the “Drill Down” under “The Index” in the SideBar on the left.
  • Tune Books/Magazines in the TTA can be accessed under “Issues” in the left side bar. These are reproductions of publications for which access has been granted to the TTA by the copyright holder, under the Creative Commons license.