Duncan Lamont

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DUNCAN LAMONT. Scottish, Pipe Reel. B Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABCD. Composed by Pipe Major Donald MacLeod (1917–1982) of Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, one of the most famous players and teachers of the Highland bagpipes of the 20th century. Paul Steward Cranford (2000) notes that the tune was popularised in Cape Breton by the playing of fiddler Cameron Chisholm. According to the note in the Caber Feidh Collection (1984), title honors one Duncan Lamont, employed as gardener at Tiroran, Isle of Mull, by Brigadier General Ronald Cheape. When the First World War broke out in 1914 he accompanied the Brigadier to war as a piper and orderly. Duncan survived, and became well-known in pipe competitions after the war. In 1942 Lamont was serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and was attending a piping course with the great Pipe Major William Ross, along with Donald MacLeod, another major figure in 20th century Highland piping. During the course Duncan bluntly opined to Pipe Major Willie Ross (another famous attendee) that, 'That's not the way you used to play Bonnie Anne 20 years ago', a remark that won Duncan no admirers. Donald MacLeod, witnessing the exchange, decided that the best response to the effrontery was to compose a tune to mark the occasion, which he did that evening. The head of the course, PM Willie Ross, was after a tune to include in the latest book in his series, and MacLeod offered him the one he had composed the night before. It was accepted by Ross, with the grudging remark, 'Could you not find a better name for it?' Although composed as a reel it has also been set as a strathspey-reel combination. Ross himself could be sly, it is rumored--in his casting about for tunes for his collections, and he is said to have 'collected' several skeleton compositions from other pipers, who found in Ross's publications that he had fully arranged the tune and appended his name.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Cranford (Jerry Holland: The Second Collection), 2000; No. 68, p. 28. Queen's Own Highlanders (Cabar Feidh Collection), 1984; p. 184. Ross (Collection of Highland Bagpipe Music, Book 5).

Recorded sources:

See also listings at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]

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