Annotation:Flora MacDonald

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X:1 T:Thearlaich! Nan Tigeadh Tu! T:Flora MacDonald M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel B:Stewart-Robertson - The Athole Collection (1884) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Emin F|~E2 EF BFDF|~E2 B^c dBAF|~E2 EF EFGA|BdAd FDDF| ~E2 B^G BEEe|~E2 B^c dBAF|~E2 EF EFGA|BdAG FDDF|| Eee^d BEEF|Eee^c dBAF|Eee^d B^cde|faef dBAF| EeBe dEBE|EeBe dBAF|EeBe deBe|faef dBAF||

FLORA MACDONALD. AKA and see "Thearlaich! Nan Tigeadh Tu (1)," "Charlie if Only You Would Come," "Charlie's Welcome (2)," "Fourth of June (The)," "If Charlie Comes," "MacDonald's Quickstep," "MacDonald's Reel (2)," "Miss Flora McDonald's Reel," "Miss MacDonald’s (4)." Canadian, Scottish; Reel. Canada, Cape Breton. E Minor/Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Athole, Skye): AAB (AABB (Kerr): AABBCCD (Dunlay & Greenberg, Dunlay & Reich). "Flora MacDonald" can be found in numerous collections as a two part tune, Robert Bremner's Collection (c. 1770) being the earliest. The last two parts have been attributed (by Bill Lamey) to Donald John "The Tailor" Beaton (1856-1919), legendary Mabou Coal Mines, Cape Breton, fiddler. Dunlay & Greenberg (1996) find that the alternate title given in MacDonald's Skye Collection, "Thearlaich! Nan Tigeadh Tu!" (Charlie, if only you would come), can be found as a two-part pipe strathspey in MacDonald's other publication, the Gesto Collection of Highland Music. The editors say: "The ...first turn (of the Gesto strathspey) is recognisably equivalent to that of 'Flora MacDonald'. If the second part of 'Thearlaich' is transposed to a tonic of 'E' to match 'Flora', it can be seen that it must have been the inspiration for the fourth part of the Cape Breton setting(s) of 'Flora MacDonald', although it is a bit simpler." Peter Kennedy lists Ryan's Mammoth four-part "Miss McDonald's (1) as a version, but I do not see the resemblance.

The tune was entered into the 1840 music manuscript collection of multi-instrumentalist John Rook, of Waverton, near Wigton, Cumbria. It can also be found in the turn of the 20th century music manuscript collection in the possession of fiddler and curate biography:Rev Luke Donnellan (1877-1952), Oriel region, south Ulster[1]. Donnellan researcher Gerry O'Connor (2018) thinks the tune may have been a Highland instead of a reel. See also the pipe-reel version under the title "If Charlie Comes."

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Buddy MacMaster (Cape Breton) [Dunlay & Greenberg, Dunlay & Reich]; the music ms. collection in the possession of biography:Rev Luke Donnellan, Oriel region, south Ulster [O'Connor].

Printed sources : - Dunlay & Greenberg (Traditional Celtic Violin Music from Cape Breton), 1996; p. 86. Dunlay & Reich (Traditional Celtic Fiddle Music from Cape Breton), 1986; No. 49, p. 58. Kennedy (Traditional Dance Music of Britain and Ireland: Reels and Rants), 1997; No. 50, p. 14. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; Set 4, No. 2, p. 5. Joseph Lowe (Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, book 2), 1844–1845; p. 13. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 84 (appears under the "Thearlaich" title). O'Connor (The Rose in the Gap), 2018; No. 74, p. 55. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 247.

Recorded sources : - ACC-49130, Howie MacDonald - "A Few Tunes by Howie MacDonald." Culburnie Records CUL 121D, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas - "Fire and Grace" (2004). JC 123, John Campbell - "Heritage Remembered" (1978). Rodeo (Banff) 1257 (Celtic 13) Cape Breton Magazine's Tape, The MacLellan Trio- "The Music of Cape Breton" (c. 1950's). Shanachie 14002, Bill Lamey- "Classic Recordings" (1979).

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]

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  1. Donnellan researcher Gerry O'Connor came to believe the ms. is not the work of the curate but rather was originally compiled by an unknown but able fiddler over the course of a playing lifetime, probably in the late 19th century. The ms. later came into the possession of Donnellan, who was also a fiddler.