Athole Volunteers March (The)

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X:1 T:Athole Volunteers March M:C L:1/8 R:March C:Niel Gow (1727-1809) Q:"Pomposo" B:Gow - Fifth Collection of Strathspey Reels (1809) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:F C2 | F2 F>F c2 c>c | (f>g/2a/4) gf (ed)(cB) | A>F c>A f>cd>A | ~B2 G>G G2 (c/B/A/G/) | F2 F>F c2 c>c | (f>g/2a/4) gf ed c2 | dB b>g a>fg>e | f2 f>f f2 :| (fg/a/) b3g {f/g/}a3f | (fg/a/) gf (ed)(cB) | A>F c>A f>cd>A | B2 G>G G2 "tr"f>g | a>gfa g>feg | f>edf ed c2 | dBb>g a>fg>e | f2 f>f f2 (fg/a/) | b3g {f/g/}a3f | (fg/a/) gf (ed)(cB) | A>F c>A f>cd>A | B2 G>G G2 (c/B/A/G/) | F2 F>F c2 c>c | (f>g/2a/4) gf ed ~c2 | dB b>g a>fg>e | f2 f>f f2 ||



ATHOLE VOLUNTEERS MARCH. Scottish, March. F Major. Standard tuning. AAB. "The Athole Volunteers March" was composed by the renowned Dunkeld, Perthshire, fiddler-composer Niel Gow (1727-1806). There is some likeness between this tune and "Staten Island (Hornpipe)" wrote Samuel Bayard, but there is little comparison between the two tunes and the similarity is fleeting. George Penny's Traditions of Perth, Containing Sketches of the Manners and Customs of the Inhabitants (1836, p. 61) gives this about John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl's 77th Regiment of Foot (or Atholl Highlanders, or Murray's Highlanders) first raised in December 1777. They were initially to have provided relief for other regiments in North America but spent the first three years of their existence in garrison duty in Ireland. At the end of that time they expected to be disbanded, but instead received orders transporting them back to England to prepare to disembark overseas once more:

An Englishman in a journey through Athole, one morning, observed a poor fellow running to the hills as for his life, closely pursued by half a dozen of human blood hounds. Turing to his guide, the gentleman anxiously inquired as the meaning of what he saw? "Ou," replied the imperturbable Celt, "It's only the Duke raising the royal Athole' volunteers'." These men were enlisted for four years, or during the war. They were under orders for the East Indies, and were to be immediately embarked at Portsmouth, where they had arrived, together with some other regiments, under similar circumstances; when the news of the conclusion of the war was proclaimed. That moment the troops refused to a man to go on board, demanding their discharge, in accordance with the terms of their enlistment. Many attempts were made to circumvent them, which was the occasion of a serious mutiny, in which several lives were lost. Nothing could prevail upon them to embark; the officers lost all authority, and durst not be seem amongst them. Instead of being brought back and disbanded in Perth, the corps was broke up on the spot, and each man was left to find his way home the best way he could. From this circumstance, a dreadful outcry was raised against the Athole family, and a prejudice existed amongst the working classes for many years; it being currently reported that the regiment had been sold by the Duke to the East India Company.

The regiment was officially disbanded in Berwick in 1783. The Atholl Highlanders were raised again by the Murray's, but not until fifty years later, in 1823.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 584. Gow (Fifth Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1809; p. 4. Hunter (The Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 352.






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