Duchess of Atholl's Slipper (The)

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X:1 T:Dutchess of Athole's Slipper (sic) M:C L:1/8 R:Strathspey S:Glen Collection, vol. 2 (1895) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:F CFAF c<FA<F|CFAF D<G G2|CFAF cFA<f|c>BAG F<F F2:| c<f f2 cfaf|gfaf dg g2|c<f f2 cfaf|gfaf cf f2| c<f f2 cfaf|gfaf dg g2|f<ad<f c<fA<f|c>BAG F<F F2||

DUCHESS OF ATHOL'S/ATHOLL'S SLIPPER. AKA and see "Cross of Bowmore," "Duchesse's Slippers (The)," "Kitty Grogan (1)." Scottish, Strathspey. F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Surenne): AAB (Glen, Gow, Hunter). One of the most celebrated compositions of Inver, Scotland, fiddler Niel Gow (1727-1807). The earliest publication of the melody is in Niel Gow & Sons, Second Collection, 1788, under the title "The Duchess' Slipper," without an attribution, although later Gow editions and publications give it as "The Duchess of Atholl's Slipper" and with Niel credited as composer. The Duchess of Atholl's Slipper is also a Scottish country dance, and was, at the mid-20th century, one of only fifteen or so partly or wholly in strathspey tempo (Flett, 1964). A country dance called The Duchess's Slipper was printed in Longman & Broderip's Fourth Selection of Country Dances, Reels & c. (London, c. 1790), "As Performed at the Princes of Wales's, Bath and other Grand Balls & Assemblies." See also an untitled strathspey from Donegal fiddler Danny O'Donnell, printed in Feldman & O'Doherty's Northern Fiddler (1979, No. 192b).

A reel in Islay fiddler-composer Alexander Mackay's (b. 1773) A Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Slow Tunes (Glasgow. c. 1822) called "Cross of Bowmore" is a distanced but cognate version of "Duchess of Atholl's Slipper," more so in the first strain than the second. The first strain of the the Irish reel "Eleventh of October" (AKA "After the Hare," "Ugly Customer (An)") is similar to the first strain of "Duchess of Atholl's Slipper," although the second strains differ. The similarity is not enough to rule in a cognate, and may be incidental.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Glen (The Glen Collection of Scottish Dance Music), vol. 2, 1895; p. 21. Gow (Second Collection of Niel Gow's Reels), 1788; p. 19 (3rd edition). Gow (Beauties of Niel Gow), vol. 1, 1799. Hunter (The Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 158. Surenne (Dance Music of Scotland), 1852; pp. 69-69 (appears as "The Duchess of Athole" with alternate title "Duchess' Slipper").

Recorded sources : - Ron Gonella - "A Tribute to Niel Gow."

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