J.O. Forbes of Corse

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J. O. FORBES OF CORSE. AKA "James O. Forbes of Corse." Scottish, Slow Strathspey ("Pastoral Air"). D Major (Milne): E Major (Hunter, Skinner). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB.

Peter Milne is on right

Composed by self-taught fiddler Peter Milne [1] (1824-1908), one of J. Scott Skinner's teachers, who earned a living playing in theaters until his opium addiction (he had become dependent while taking laudanum for a ailment while living in London) reduced him to busking on ferry-boats running across the Firth. Skinner (1904) writes: "Peter Milne was the founder of the present style of Strathspey playing, and the best all round player and composer of his day. His left hand was as unerring and accurate as a machine." In his manuscript copy of the melody [2] Skinner wrote that the melody was Milne's own favourite strathspey composition. Indeed, it is considered by those today to be one of his best pieces. Skinner also noted the tune could be played as a 'solo strathspey' (for listening) or to accompany a schottische.



James O. Forbes of Corse, Aberdeenshire, was the younger brother of Sir William Forbes of Craigievar.

Source for notated version: Winston Fitzgerald (1914-1987, Cape Breton) [Cranford].

Printed sources: Cranford (Winston Fitzgerald), 1997; No. 225, p. 90. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 156. Milne (Middleton's Selection of Strathspeys, Reels, &c. for the Violin), 1870; p. 15. Skinner (The Scottish Violinist), p. 37. Skinner (Harp and Claymore Collection), 1904; p. 19.

Recorded sources: Beltona Bel 2097 (78 RPM), George F. Davie (1934).

See also listing at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [3]
Hear Jonny Hardie playing the tune in 2008 [4]




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