Corgarff Castle (2)

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X:1 % T:Corgarff Castle [2] C:Alexander Walker M:C L:1/8 R:Strathspey B:Walker - Collection of Strathspeys, Reels, Marches &c. B:(1866, p. 3) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion F:http://digital.nls.uk/special-collections-of-printed-music/archive/105875147?mode=zoom K:A C|A,<A,E>A, F>A,E>C|A,<A, E>c d/c/B/A/ G/F/E/D/|C<A,E>A, F>A,E>A| G<EB>G (A2 A):|f|e>A d/c/B/A/ e<Ac>A|e>c d/c/B/A/ B<EG>B| e>A d/c/B/A/ e<Ac>B|A>FE<A, A,3c|e>A d/c/B/A/ e<Ac>A| e>A e/d/B/A/ B<EG>B|c<ee>a d<ff>b|g<eb>f (a2a)||



CORGARFF CASTLE [2]. Scottish, Strathspey (whole time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Corgarff Castle, Corgarff, Aberdeenshire, was originally constructed about 1550 by John Forbes of Towie. His wife Margaret defended the structure when attacked by the Gordons while the Forbes men were away, shooting one of the attackers in the knee. The Gordons retaliated by piling brush against the walls and firing the castle, killing all the inhabitants (although some accounts give that Margaret escaped to Ireland to give birth to John's son, Alexander). Needless to say, it is said to have been haunted ever since. In recent years the castle, once a ruin, has been magnificently restored.
Corgarff Castle in 1905.



The strathspey was composed by Aberdeenshire fiddler-composer Alexander Walker, born in Rhynie, Strathbogie, in 1819. Walker was an inventor (of surveying instruments, for example), agriculturalist, fiddler and composer of works collected in a volume published in Aberdeen in 1866. He was employed as a gardener for Sir Charles Forbes at Castle Newe, who was also his patron. After the American Civil War, Walker emigrated to the United States, following family, and settled near Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he established a prosperous farm of his own. He continued to compose music, although his American output is now lost. He died sometime around the end of the century (he is recorded as having helped survey areas of Williamstown in the mid 1890’s). This passage (from Arthur Latham Perry's Origins in Williamstown: A History, 1894, p. 28 ) is thought to refer to him:

...but the Berlin road goes past pretty good farms, and the last one (the old toll-gate farm) became noted for its productiveness under the ownership of Alexander Walker and his family, canny Scotch people from Aberdeenshire; the parents married there Aug. 6, 1856. Mr. Walker could handle the fiddle bow and the surveyor's instruments with about equal facility; but as the lines fell to him in this country in prosy times and non-piping localities, the Scotch reels and strathspeys, of which he was a master and even a successful composer and publisher, slumbered for the most part on the bridge of his fiddles, of which he invented and perhaps patented a prized improvement. Nevertheless, his residence at the head of the gorge, where the Fosters had lived for three generations, threw a sort of halo of music and good cheer up and down the valley, and proved to many persons a kind of subtle attraction not only for the Pass by Mount Hopkins beyond it.


Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Walker (A Collection of Strathspeys, Reels, Marches, &c.), 1866; No. 7, p. 3.

Recorded sources: -



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