X:1 T:Donalbane M:C L:1/8 R:Strathspey S:Kerr - Merry Melodies, vol. 4, No. 11 (c. 1880's) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:A a|e/e/e e>d c>de>c|A<e c<a (f2 e)a|e/e/e e>d c>de>c|B/B/B c>e (f2 e):| |:g|a>ga>f e<c A>g|a>e f<a f2 (ef/g/)|a>ga>f a>f e<c|B/B/B c>e (f2 e):||
DONALBANE. Scottish, Canadian; Reel or Strathspey. Canada, Cape Breton. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody is identified as "Scotch" in London dancing master Thomas Wilson's Companion to the Ball Room (1816). See also the closely related Cape Breton tune "Margaree Reel," and the probably related Scots tune "Willie Davie." The historical Donalbane was Donald III (1032-1099, whose Gaelic sobriquet was Domhnull Bàn), King of Scots and son of Duncan I. In a fight for a contested crown Donalbane beseiged Edinburgh Castle and was proclaimed King through the Celtic custom of tanistry. His was the last reign (1094-1097) of a Celtic king in Scotland and a kingdom governed according to their customs. Fr. John Quinn finds that both strains of "Donalbane" formed the basis for the third and fourth part of Ayrshire dancing master James Greg's (1718-1817) "Greig's Pipes."