Annotation:Burning Sands of Egypt (The)

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X: 1 % T:The Bens of Jura C:John McLellan B:8th (The Argyllshire) Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders: A B:Collection of Pipe Tunes (Paterson's Publications Limited, July 1933) M:2/4 L:1/16 F: K:D A>d|f4 agef|d2A2 A2dc|BGBc defa|e4 e2 Ad |f4 agef|dedc B2ag|fafd Acec|d4 d2:| f>g|aAAA fAAA|dedc B2dc|BGBc defa|e4 e2 [1 fg |aAAA fAAA|dedc B2ag|fafd Acec|d4 d2:| [2 A>d|f4 agef|dedc B2ag|fafd Acec|d4 d2|]

BURNING SANDS OF EGYPT, THE. AKA and see "Bens of Jura," "Road to the Isles." Scottish, Pipe March (2/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning. Two-part and four-part versions exist. Composed by John McLellan, D.C.M., a poet and painter from Dunoon, who was formerly Pipe-Major for the 8th Battalion, Argyl and Sutherland Highlanders during World War I. The tune is now better known, rather banally in comparison, as "The Road to the Isles," although it has had several names, several of them by McLellan himself, although the composer referred to it as "Bens of Jura," his original title.

Pipe Major McLellan originally composed the march in Scotland prior to joining the army, calling it "The Bens of Jura" after the birthplace of his mother (also called "The Paps of Jura" due to their breast-like shape). He joined the Highland Brigade and was sent to South Africa at the end of the 19th century where the unit participated in the conflict with the Boers. McLellan re-named his march "The Highland Brigade's March To Heilbronn" to commemorate an event. The brigade was next posted to Egypt, where the Pipe Major gave it yet another title, "The Burning Sands of Egypt." McLellan stayed with the army, transferring to the 8th Battalion, Argyl and Sutherland Highlanders, with whom he served during World War I. His march had taken hold by then, and it was in 1914 that Kenneth MacLeod of Gigha wrote words to the melody, calling his song "The Road to the Isles," today the most popular title. However, other songs have been set to the tune, collected in North America and Ireland. See note for "annotation:Road to the Isles" for more.

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