Duke of Gordon's Birthday (The)

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X:1 T:Duke of Gordon’s Birth Day, The M:C L:1/8 R:Reel B:Joshua Campbell – A Collection of New Reels & Highland Strathspeys (Glasgow, 1789, p. 47) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G G>DG>B G>DG>B|d>Bg>B A/A/A A2|G>DGB G>BG>E|TD>CB,>A, G,/G,/G, G,2:| (g>ab)g d/d/d d2|(g>ab)g e/e/e e2|g<be<g d<gB<g|T(A>GA)B G/G/G G2| (g>ab)g d/d/d d2|(g>ab)g e/e/e e2|ga/b/ ef/g/ dg/g/ Bg/g/|(A>GA)B G/G/G/ G2||



DUKE OF GORDON'S BIRTHDAY, THE. AKA - "Duke of Gordon (2)." AKA and see "Boston O'Connor," "Casey's Pig." Scottish, Canadian; Strathspey or Highland Fling (whole time). Canada; Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Dunlay & Greenberg, Surenne): AAB (Campbell, Hunter, Marshall): AA'B (Athole): AABB (Balmoral, Kerr, Lowe, Skye): AABB' (Gow, Perlman). One of the first tunes composed by the great Scottish fiddler and composer William Marshall (1748-1833). The Duke of Gordon was Alexander (1743-1827), 4th Duke of Gordon, who was Marshall's employer (Marshall was his Steward) and an important patron of his music.

Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon. By John Moir, 1817

It was first published in Marshall's First Collection of 1781, and later appeared in a Gow's Repository (First Part) in 1799. Paul Stewart Cranford (1995) remarks that some of Marshall's tunes have been in oral tradition so long in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, that local sets have evolved; this is one such tune and numerous Cape Breton versions exist, sometimes distanced from Marshall's original. Dunlay and Greenberg (1996) note that "The Duke of Gordon's Birthday" is often used as a stepdance strathspey on Cape Breton, and Perlman (1996) records that it is the most widely played strathspey on Prince Edward Island (though the tune is distanced from its original form). Gaelic port-a-beul words have become attached to the tune, called "A' Chaora Ruadh" (Red Sheep (The)), and a verse by Cape Breton storyteller Joe Neil MacNeil can be found in the booklet accompanying Topic 12TS354. A pipe setting is to be found in the music manuscript collection (No. 63) of piper Robert Millar, "Forfar Reg. and Piper to the Aberdeen Highland Society, 1820," taken from the playing of piper J. Buchanan, "Piper to the Marquis of Huntly."

In County Donegal, Ireland, the tune is played as a Highland where it is well-known under the title "Casey's Pig." County Leitrim fiddler and piper Stephen Grier (c. 1824-1894) entered a reel setting of "Duke of Gordon's Birthday" in Book 2 of his large c. 1883 music manuscript collection (Grier No. 266). In America, the "Duke of Gordon's Birthday" was included in the c. 1800 music manuscript copybook of musician William Patten, perhaps of Philadelphia, Pa.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; No. 1, p. 1. Joshua Campbell (A Collection of New Reels & Highland Strathspeys), Glasgow, 1789; p. 47. Dunlay & Greenberg (Traditional Celtic Violin Music of Cape Breton), 1996; p. 91. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 1), 1799; p. 12. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 73. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; Set 2., No. 3, p. 4 (appears as "Duke of Gordon"). J. Kenyon Lees (The Balmoral Reel Book), c. 1910; p. 17 (as "The Duke of Gordon"). Joseph Lowe (Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, book 5), 1844-45; p. 10. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 99. Marshall, Fiddlecase Edition, 1978; 1822 Collection, p. 38. McGlashan (A Collection of Reels, vol. 3), c. 1786; p. 2. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 187. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 163. Surenne (Dance Music of Scotland), 1852; pp. 38-39. Thompson (Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1795), p. 74 (appears as "The Duke of Gordon's Birthday Ball").

Recorded sources : - ACC-49398, Brenda Stubbert - "House Sessions" (1992). Appears as "Duke of Gordon Strathspey"). Canadian Broadcasting Corporation ‎LM470, Peter & Kenny Chaisson - "Atlantic Fiddling" (1979). CAT-WMR004, Wendy MacIssac - "The 'Reel' Thing" (1994). Celtic CX 22, Donald and Theresa MacLellan - "The MacLellan Trio" (appears as "Duke of Gordon's"). Celtic CX 052, Donald MacLellan (c. 1950's). DAB4-1985, Donald Angus Beaton - "A Musical Legacy" (1985). Marimac 6501, Eddy Arsenault - "The Old Time Fiddlers of Prince Edward Island" (1993). Marquis ERA 181, David Greenberg - "Bach Meets Cape Breton" (1996). Paddledoo Music PAD 105, Buddy MacMaster - "Scottish Fiddle Rally, Concert Highlights 1985-1995" (1996). Rodeo Banff RBS 1066, Dan Joe MacInnis - "The Cape Breton Fiddle of...(1962. Appears as "Duke of Gordon"). Rodeo RLP 75, John A MacDonald - "Marches, Strathspeys, Reels & Jigs of the Cape Breton Scot." Rounder 7003, John Campbell - "Cape Breton Violin Music" (1976. Appears as "The Duke of Gordon"). Topic 12TS354, Alex Francis MacKay - "The Music of Cape Breton, Vol. 2, Cape Breton Scottish Fiddle" (1978).

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings index [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index [2]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [3]



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