Back to Glenlivet (1)
GLENLIVET , THE. AKA and see "Minmore Schottische." Scottish, Strathspey or Highland Schottische. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Hardie, Skinner): AAB (Hunter, Martin): AA'B (Alburger). The tune was composed by fiddler-composer and dancing master J. Scott Skinner (1843-1927), in honor of the famous Scotch whisky founded by George Smith of Minmore, who owned an illicit still in Upper Drummin (Skinner also composed "Colonel Smith's Lament" in honor of a then-contemporary member of the family). "Minmore Schottische" is an alternate title (given in James Hunter's Fiddle Music of Scotland). Skinner must have thought the melody one of his best, for he issued it in no less than four publications: The Elgin Collection  (1884), The Logie Collection  (1888), The Scottish Violinist (1900), and Monikie Series No. 2  (folio, c. 1908). See also note for Skinner's "Professor Blackie" for more. Skinner appended a poem by 'La Teste' in his Logie Collection (1888), the first two stanzas of which go:
Scott Skinner's made anither tune,
The very dirl o't reached the moon,
Till ilka lassie an' her loon
Commenced the dance fu' frisky, O!
The burden o' the sang was this--
"we never felt sic Lunar bliss;
Anither reel, an' syne a kiss,
Ower gude Glenivet Whisky, O!"
The landlord o' the moon, quoth he,
"Ault bricks, let's ha'e a glorious spree,--
Hooch! Lunar blades, why sudna we,
Like earth-born things, be frisky, O!
We'll drink Professor Blackie's health,
An' with him muckle Gaelic wealth,
An' always get by groat or stealth
The gallant Major's Whisky, O!
In 1797, according to Moyra Cowie (Life and Times of William Marshall, 1999), the parish of Glenlivet had some 200 stills in operation, and, along with stills in neighboring parishes, they distilled the finest malt liquor for local consumption and export. The following lines preface the melody in Skinner's Elgin Collection:
Scott Skinner's made anither tune
The very dirl o't reached the moon
Till ilka lassie an' her loon
Commenced to dance fu' frisky O.
Another literary reference to the whisky in conjunction with fiddling was penned by R.P. Gillies, describing the effect of James Hogg, "the Ettrick Shepherd", on Edinburgh society. Hogg was a noted poet and a keen fiddler as well:
...cast utterly into the shade by an illiterate shepherd, a man also who seemed to give himself no thought or care about his own works, but to be engaged day after day, or rather night after night, in scraping on the fiddle, singing his own ballads, and, with the help of Glenlivet, making himself and others uproariously happy.
Source for notated version: Bill Hardie (Scotland) [Hardie]; Hector MacAndrew [Martin].
Printed sources: Alburger (Scottish Fiddlers and Their Music), 1983; Ex. 113, p. 189. Hardie (Caledonian Companion), 1992; p. 74. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 132. Martin (Traditional Scottish Fiddling), 2002; p. 143. Skinner, (The Elgin Collection). Skinner (The Logie Collection), 1888; p. 96. Skinner (Monikie Series No. 2). Skinner (The Scottish Violinist), 1900; p. 8.
Recorded sources: Lismor Records, Bobby Brown and the Cape Breton Symphony - "The Great Cape Breton Fiddle Company" (1996).