John MacEachinn's Big Tune

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JOHN MACEACHINN'S BIG TUNE (Porst mohr Iain Ic Eachinn). AKA - "John Mackay of Skerray's Favourite." Scottish, Reel. A Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCDDEEF (Gunn): AABBCDCDE (Skye). "Pipe tune. Probably so named in an ironical sense and usually applied to indifferent performers. May be played as a Reel or Strathspey" (Skye). The tune is considerably older than Keith Norman MacDonald's The Skye Collection (1887), however, and first appeared in Joseph MacDonald's Manuscript in 1760. It is considered to have been composed for the Highland bagpipe, and not an adaptation of a dance tune for another instrument.

The tune is said to commemorate a famous businessman-farmer or tacksman of 18th century Sutherland, otherwise known as John Mackay of Skerray. The alternate titles are given in Gunn's Caledonian Repository (1848).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Gunn (Caledonian Repository of Music Adapted for the Bagpipes), Book 3, Glasgow, 1848; p. 36. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 42.

Recorded sources:




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