Annotation:Carron's Reel

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X:1 T:Carron's Reell T:U Choira Chruim M:C| L:1/8 R:Strathspey B:Cumming - Collection of Strathspey or Old Highland Reels (1782, No. 50, p. 17) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G D>(GG>A) =F>G A>F|D>(GG>B) c>G B>(G|c>G) B>G A>G =F>C|C>GG>B A>F G:| G|G>(gg>a) =f>g a>f|d>(g g2) b>g a>g|d>(gg>a) =F>G A>F|d>(g g>b) a>f g2| =f>g d>f c>f A>F|D>GG>B c>G B>G|(=f/g/a) f>d Tc>_B A>=F|D>GG>B A>F G||

CARRON'S REEL. AKA - "U Choira Chruim," "A' chaora chruim" (The crooked sheep). AKA and see "Ewie Wi' the Crooked Horn (1) (The)," "Cheap Mutton." Scottish, Strathspey (cut time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. John Glen (1891) finds the earliest printing of the tune in biography:Angus Cumming's 1780 collection (p. 17), however it is mentioned in older Gaelic sources so is not original with Cumming. The reel appears as "Carron's Reell" with the Gaelic title "A' Chaora Chruim" (The crooked sheep) in Angus Cumming's collection of 1782, a reference to a lyric that appears in the song "Tha Bainn' Aig na Caoraich Uile'" (i.e. 'All of the Sheep Have Milk')[1]. Cumming (c. 1750-c. 1800) was from a long line of Speyside musicians. However, as William Lamb points out, the word strathspey only appears in the title of his collection, and not with any of the tunes themselves; "the tunes were simply all 'Old Highland reels' to him"[2] . The boundary between what we think of as reels versus the syncopated strathspey was much more permeable to Cumming.

It caught the attention of the Reverend Skinner who wrote his famous lyrics set to the tune, "The Ewie wi' the Crooked Horn," by which title the tune is generally known today. "Carron's Reel" perhaps refers to the River Carron, in central Scotland.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Cumming (Collection of Strathspey or Old Highland Reels), 1782; No. 50, p. 17.

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  1. William Lamb, "Reeling in the Strathspey: The Origins of Scotland's National Music", Scottish Studies, Vol. 36, pp 66-102, Jun 2013.
  2. ibid