From The Traditional Tune Archive
Jump to: navigation, search
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.
39,443 Tunes by title with Annotations

Crystal Clear app xmag.svg Search the archive   Nuvola apps bookcase simplified.svgQuery the archive   Subscribe Subscribe

July 20 2019  Featured tune:     THE CALEDONIAN HUNT
July 20 2019  Featured tune:     THE CALEDONIAN HUNT


Composed by Sir Alexander Don, 5th Baronet of Newton Don (1751-1815), who, in 1777 along with other local gentry, formed a Society called the Caledonian Hunt, which met twice a year. (See note for "Sir Alexander Don (1)" for more on him). The Cross Keys Hotel in Kelso (Borders region) was used as a base. A Yorkshire gentleman, Colonel Thornton, visited in 1786 and gave this account:

A charming scene of confusion; cooks, ladies' servants, waitresses all running against each other, being the time of Kelso Races. The company is composed of gentlemen of the Turf on both sides of the Tweed with families and friends and also members of the Caledonian Hunt. Foxhounds and harriers hunt alternately in the mornings. There is also a concert and races and next night the gentlemen of the Hunt give a handsome ball. After the ladies retired therefrom, the gentlemen formed a party to drink their healths and when I got up at 8 they were still drinking and meant to sit till hounds went out. This meeting, I heard, is most expensive of any. An English Steward was obliged to pay 10 guineas for his room, though only there 5 nights.

The annual event of the Caledonian Hunt was the famous Caledonian Hunt Ball, an event so fashionable as to be attended by the majority of gentry of Scotland, and not a few from England. Nathaniel Gow's band performed music for the occasion for many years, until music and dance fashions changed fashion. In 1822 King George IV attended the ball and took pleasure in expressing the satisfaction he derived from Gow's music. When Gow presented his bill to the sponsors of the event, he added, " own trouble at pleasure, or nothing, as his majesty's approbation more than recompensed me." At the end of his life, when Gow became infirm and financially destitute from the failure of his publishing business, the noblemen and gentlemen of the Hunt voted Gow 50 pounds per annum for the remainder of his years in remembrance of his services to them.

O'Neill (1922) remarks: "This favorite first appeared in Ross' Choice Collection of Scots Reels Country Dances and Strathspeys, Edinburgh, 1780." Donn's compsition appears in the c. 1785 music mansucript collection of John Sutherland, a pastoral piper from Aberdeenshire. The pastoral pipes were a precursor to the smallpipes. The melody is attibuted in the ms. to either "Our Alex Donn" or "Sir Alex Donn". The first strain is shared with the air and country dance tune "O This is no My Ain Lassie."

THE CALEDONIAN HUNT full Score(s) and Annotations and Past Featured Tunes

The Caledonian Hutsman's Delight

X:1 T:Caledonian Hunt [1], The M:C L:1/8 R:Strathspey B:Aird – Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and B:Foreign Airs, vol. 4 (1796, No. 31, p. 12) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D A|F>AdA B<dc>A|GBAF GEE>G|.F.A.d.A .B.d.A.F| G<BA>G FD-D>.G|F>AdA B<dA>F|G<BTA>F BE-E>G| F>A d>A B/c/d AG|F>A E>g f>dd||f|(d/e/f/g/) a>f b>ga>f| (d/e/f/g/) a>f g<ee>f|(d/e/f/g/) a>f b>ga>f|A<aa>g fdd>f| (d/e/f/g/) a>f b>ga>f|(d/e/f/g/) a>f gee>g|f>de>f d>BA>F|A>Bd>e f>dd||

Latest Tunes
Latest Tunes

Who Builds The Archive
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.

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 top right, and can be used to search the entire index for any key word. See Search help pages
  • Alphabetically by tune title. Under “The Archive” 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 Archive” 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.
  • Tune Books/Magazines in the TTA can be accessed under “Publications” 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.