Argyle's Bowling Green
X:1 T:Argyle’s bowling Green M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel B:David Young – Drummond Castle/Duke of Perth Manuscript (1734, No. 5) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:C E|C2 c2 cded|cBcA GFED|C2 c2 cded|cage D2D:| |:E|GEcE GFEA|GecG E2 EF|GEcE GFEA|GAGE D/D/D D:| |:E|C2 c2 cded|cdcA GFED|Cccc cdec|(d/c/B/A/ c)E D/D/D D:| |:e/f/|geae gfef|gec’g e2 ef|geae gfef|gage d2d2:|]
ARGLYE('S) BOWLING GREEN. AKA and see “Braes of Glencoe.” Scottish, Canadian; Reel. Canada, Cape Breton. C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Gow/Repository, Surenne); AAB (most versions); AABBCCDD (Bremner, Young). The melody appears in the Drummond Castle Manuscript, inscribed "A Collection of Country Dances written for the use of his Grace the Duke of Pert by Dav. Young, 1734,” which in the early 1970's was in the possession of the Earl of Ancaster at Drummond Castle. A melody entitled "Argyle's Bowling Green" appears in the Holmain Manuscript (1710–1750), a six page book of instructions for country dances. However, perhaps not aware of those sources, antiquarian John Glen found the earliest appearance of the piece in Robert Bremner's 1757 collection (Scots Reels, p. 70). It has been suggested that the ‘bowling green’ title is an Englished corruption of the Gaelic "buaile na greine" (sunny cattle-fold). However, Argyle’s Bowling Green is also the nickname of a range of hills and mountains known as the ‘Arrochar Alps’, especially as seen from the fjord-like Loch Long. The name Argyll derives from the Gaelic Airer Gaedel, or ‘coast of the Gaels,’ and refers to the area of Scotland first invaded by the Irish tribes in the 5th century.
The tune also appears in the music manuscript collection (No. 49) of piper Robert Miller (1789–1861), born in Perth, who enlisted as a drummer boy in the Breadalbane Fencibles at age nine to begin a long military career. In 1821 he began to compile his "Highland Manuscript" of Scottish pipe music. Miller also was a pipe-maker and made improvements to the design of the instrument.