Gellan's Reel

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GILLAN'S REEL. AKA - "Gillan's Reel," "Gillian's Reel." Scottish (originally), Canadian; Reel. Canada, Cape Breton. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Hunter): AABB (Brody). Composed by Peter Milne (1824-1908), the Tarland Minstrel, a self-taught fiddler and one of J. Scott Skinner's teachers as well as his friend. Milne earned a living playing in theaters until his career deteriorated from opium addiction, reducing him to eking a livelihood from busking on ferry-boats crossing the Firth of Forth. He died in 1908, destitute, in an insane asylum. The title of the reel is "Gellan's Reel" and refers to the farm Muir of Gellan, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. As a boy Milne lived nearby, and often worked as a herd on the farm. Thus the titles that reference a person, such as "Gillan's Reel" and "Gillian's Reel" are erroneous. See also Milne's strathspey "Muir o' Gellan (The)."

Source for notated version: Jerry Holland (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) [Brody].

Printed sources: Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 119 (Appears as "Gillian's Reel"). Henderson (Flowers of Scottish Melody), 1935. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 230.

Recorded sources: Green Linnet GLCD 3105, Aly Bain - "Lonely Bird" (1996). Rounder 7004, Joseph Cormier- "The Dances Down Home" (1977). Rounder 7008, "Jerry Holland."

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




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