Cameronian Rant (The)

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X:1 T:Cameronian Rant M:C| L:1/8 R:Country Dance Tune B:John Walsh – Caledonian Country Dances vol. II (c. 1737, No. 287, p. 27) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:F f|cF F/F/F cFBd|cF F/F/F c2 Ad|BG G/G/G BGdG|BG G/G/G c2A:| G|Fffg fdcA|Fffg fdcA|Ggga gfed|Ggga gfed| Fffg fdcA|Fffg {f}e>dcf|(e/f/g) dg (e/f/g) dg|e/f/g dg {f}e3||



CAMERONIAN('S) RANT, THE. Scottish, Reel. G Major (Kennedy, Kerr, O'Farrell, Ross): F Major (Athole, Campbell, Dale, Gow, Lowe, Skinner, Skye, Surenne, Thompson, Walsh): F Mixolydian (Bremner, McGlashan). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Kennedy, Surenne): AAB (Bremner, Dale, Kerr, Walsh): AABB (O'Farrell, Thompson): AA'BCC (Ross): AABCCD (Athole, Campbell, Gow, Lowe, Skinner, Skye). Glen (1891) finds the melody first in print in Robert Bremner's 1757 collection, and a version also appears in the 1768 [James] Gillespie Manuscript of Perth. English collections predate this however, for it appears in John Walsh's Caledonian Country Dances, vol. 2 (c. 1737) and his Compleat Country Dancing Master, volume the Third (London, 1749) and David Rutherford's Compleat Collection of 200 of the Most Celebrated Country Dances (London, 1756). Other Scots printings are in Niel Stewart's Reels (Edinburgh, 1775) and James Aird's first collection (Selections, Glasgow, 1782). The reel is attributed to Rory McLeod by J. Scott Skinner in his Harp and Claymore collection (1904), wherein he also gives "Black Water" as an alternate title. Cowdery (1990) assigns the tune to the "Rakish Paddy" family of tunes, which also includes the famous Scottish piece "Cabar Féidh." They are related, he finds, in unusual ways; the motifs and "diagnostic tones" of the "Cameronian" are one beat behind "Caber" in both strains. The two tunes have different cadences however, and on the whole do not sound like arrangements of each other but rather as discrete and distinctive melodies. Another related melody is "John Patterson's Mare," which is a jig-time version of "The Cameronian Rant." Cazden (et al, 1982) discusses "The Cameronian Rant" in connection with "The Boyne Water" and its variants, especially the Scottish melody "Andrew and His Cuttie Gun," and he remarks that the Scots poet Robert Burns adapted the tune for his satirical "Battle of Sherra-Moor (Sheriff-Muir)" after obtaining the melody from James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion.

The name Cameronian refers originally to a militant 17th century sect called "Society People" or "Cameroians" from their founder, Richard Cameron, "a field preacher who advocated a particularly uncompromising from of covenanted Christianity" (David Hackett Fischer, Albions Seed, p. 616) in the south and west of Scotland. As a splinter group, Cameronians were hunted like animals by the authorities of the day who eventually hanged several leaders, but many survived with religion and fighting spirit intact. The British authorities finally admitted defeat in stamping out the group, but to contain them they hit upon the idea of co-opting them by recruiting members of the sect for the fight against the Roman Catholic highlanders to the north. The result was the fighting regiment called the Cameronians, the only regiment in the British army to bear the name of a religious leader. Mustered in the late 17th century, the regiment first saw battle in 1689 when 1,200 recruits broke a veteran force of 5,000 Jacobites, and earned a reputation for fierceness. In line with their militant religious origins each enlisted man was required to carry a bible in his kit, and even in the 20th century the regiment carried arms to church.

The melody appears in the music manuscripts of numerous period musicians, including, in England, Cheapside, London musician Walter Rainstorp (1747), Northumbrian musician William Vickers (1770), and London fiddler Thomas Hammersley (1790). In America, it can be found in the copybooks of Long Island, New York, painter and fiddler William Sydney Mount (1807-1868) on a page dated May 8th, 1845, along with the tunes "Bonnet Makers of Dundee (The)" and "Mathewson's Hornpipe." Mount wrote it out twice on the page, once in the key of F, the second time in E flat major. It also appears in the c. 1800 copybook of musician William Patten (perhaps from Philadelphia, Pa.) and the 1789 music book of Cushing Eells (Norwich, Conn.).


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Aird (Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1), 1782; No. 107, p. 38. Anonymous (‘’’A Companion to the reticule’’’), 1833; p. 11. Bremner (Scots Reels), 1757; p. 82. James Buckley & sons - "Buckley's Violin Tunes" (1855, p. 26). Joshua Campbell (A Collection of New Reels & Highland Strathspeys), Glasgow, 1789; p. 13. Joseph Dale (Dale’s Selection of the most favorite Country Dances, Reels &c.), London, c. 1800; p. 20. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 1), 1799; p. 30. Kennedy (Traditional Dance Music of Britain and Ireland: Reels and Rants), 1997; No. 16, p. 6. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; Set 2, No. 6, p. 4. Layborn (Köhlers’ Violin Repository, Book 1), 1881-1885; p. 91. Joseph Lowe (Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, book 2), 1844–1845; p. 21 MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 143. McGlashan (Strathspey Reels), c. 177?; p. 16. O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. III), c. 1808; p. 44. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 11), 1760; p. 112. William Ross (Ross's Collection of Pipe Music), 1869; No. 122, p. 105. Skinner (Harp and Claymore), 1904; p. 123. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 203. Surenne (Dance Music of Scotland), 1852; p. 79. Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1), 1757; No. 183. John Walsh (Caledonian Country Dances, vol. 2), c. 1737; No. 287, p. 27. Wilson (Companion to the Ball Room), 1816; p. 66.



See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]



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