Brechin Castle (1)

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X:1 T:Brichan [sic] Castle T:Brechan Castle [1] M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel S:The Buttery Manuscript (c. 1784-1820, No. 831) N:John Buttery (1784-1854) joined the 34th Regiment in Lincoln, N:Lincolnshire, England, in 1797 and served as a fifer until discharged in N:1814. His large ms. contains marches, duty calls, dance tunes and airs. N:EASMES identifies this as the Fife MS. and suggests a date of 1780, see N: https://www.cdss.org/elibrary/Easmes/Index.htm Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G G/G/G G2 GBdB|G/G/G G2 FAFD|G/G/G G2 GBdB|ceBd AGFD:| |:dG c/B/A/G/ dG ce|dG c/B/A/G/ FAFD|dG c/B/A/G/ dGBd|ceBd AGFD:|]



Brechin Castle, Angus

BRECHIN CASTLE [1]. AKA and see - Miss Douglas of Brigton, Lady Harriot Hay's Strathspey. Scotland, Strathspey. B Flat Major (most versions): A Mixolydian (McLachlan). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Surenne): AAB (Balmoral, Gow, Hunter, Lowe): AABB (Honeyman, Kerr, McLachlan, Skye): AABB' (Athole). A popular and frequently published strathspey. The melody was known by the alternate titles until Gow published it under the "Brechin Castle" title in his 1st Repository (1799). The name Brechin is purportedly derived from Brychan the son of Brychan, who moved to the area from southern Wales. The Round Tower at Brechin probably dates from around c. 990 when Kenneth II took control of the area. Subsequently, around 1150, a cathedral and bishopric were founded there. Hunter (1988) notes that Brechin Castle [1] is the seat of the Earls of Dalhousie. "Brechin Castle" (misspelled as "Brichin Castle") was also entered into the music copybook [2] of John Buttery (1784-1854), a fifer with the 37th Regiment, British army, who served from 1797-1814 and who late in life emigrated to Canada. Buttery's manuscript collection has also been identified as belonging to John Fife [1], with a suggested date of 1780. Fife was a family name, like Buttery, identified with the manuscript. The fifer set it in the fife-friendly key of 'G' major, in reel time, rather than as a strathspey.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Malcolm MacDonald's 3rd Collection (1792) [Henderson]

Printed sources : - Anonymous (A Companion to the reticule), 1833; p. 4. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 1), 1799; p. 32. Henderson (Flowers of Scottish Melody), 1935. Honeyman (Strathspey, Reel and Hornpipe Tutor), 1898; p. 28. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 166. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; Set 27, No. 3, p. 17. Laybourn (Köhlers’ Violin Repository, Book 2), 1881-1885, p. 158. J. Kenyon Lees (Balmoral Reel Book), c. 1910; p. 15. Joseph Lowe (Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, book 1), 1844–1845; p. 22. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 125. Manson (Hamilton’s Universal Tune Book vol. 1), 1854, p. 126. John McLachlan (Piper’s Assistant), 1854; No. 118, p. 71. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 278. Surenne (Dance Music of Scotland), 1852; pp. 4-5.






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  1. Early American Secular Music and Its European Sources, https://www.cdss.org/elibrary/Easmes/Index.htm