Duke of Argyle's Strathspey (The)

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DUKE OF ARGYLE('S STRATHSPEY). Scottish, Strathspey. D Mixolydian. Standard or ADae tunings (fiddle). AABBCCDD. "A very old tune" (Gow). Originally set in scordatura tuning by Nathaniel Gow (1763-1831). Johnson (1983) notes his setting is unusual as it also had a harpsichord and cello accompaniment -- most scordatura tunes were meant for solo fiddle. He points out that scordatura style was going out of fashion at the end of the 18th century and that Gow rewrote it in standard tuning for his 1792 edition, perhaps because it could not be played on the piano in scordatura notation and this was hampering the tune's sales. Johnson also thinks that the tune was composed by a member of the Gow family as it is unknown in any collections earlier than the Gows.

There have been Dukes of Argyll since the peerage was created in 1701, as reward for services to William of Orange. The family has been historically one of the most powerful in Scotland, as the Duke is chief of the Scottish clan Campbell, whose family seat is Inverary Castle, Inverary, Argyll.

Source for notated version: Niel Gow's Strathspey Reels, vol. 1, 1784, p. 32 [Johnson].

Printed sources: Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 42. Gow (First Collection of Niel Gow's Reels), 1784 (revised 1801); pp. 28-29. Johnson (Scottish Fiddle Music in the 18th Century), 1984; No. 51, pp. 115-116.

Recorded sources:

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