Mains of Gartly

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MAINS OF GARTLY. Scottish, Reel. E Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Composed by J. Scott Skinner (1843-1927) after a visit to a farm called the Mains of Gartly, Aberdeenshire, on which stood the ruins of the Castle of Gartly. Skinner dedicated the tune, published in his Logie Collection (1888) to Robert Gordon, the farmer there. The lands of Gartly came into the possession of the Marquis of Huntly in 1600. Lachlan Shaw (in The History of the Province of Moray, 1882) gives:

It was also the scene of a ballad called "The Barone o' Garly," which tells that the Baron's lady, during his absence in the wars, became the wife of Gordon of Lesmore, and that, the Baron having consulted "weird sisters" in a cave on the Binhill of Cairney regarding the affair, revenged the insult by burning the Castle of Garly, its faithless lady, and the whole inmates.

The reel first appears in Skinner's Logie Collection (1888). Skinner suggested in a note on his hand-written copy of his strathspey "Delnabo" that his 'Mains of Gartly', should follow it.

J. Scott Skinner



Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Alburger (Scottish Fiddlers and Their Music), 1983; Ex. 112, p. 188. Skinner (The Scottish Violinist), p. 23. Skinner (Harp and Claymore), 1904; p. 66.

Recorded sources:

See also listings 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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