Back to Margaree Reel
MARGAREE REEL. Canadian, Reel. Canada; Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island. A Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (more common) or ABCDDC (Dunlay & Reich): AA'B (Shears): AA'BB' (Perlman): ABB'CDC (Dunlay & Greenberg). This popular reel is usually played as a two-part reel on Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton, although the Beaton (Mabou, Cape Breton) version is longer. Dunlay & Greenberg (1996) believe the tune to be related to the strathspey "Donalbane," in Kerr's Merry Melodies, Fourth Collection (1880's). There are several towns in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, with the name Margaree, including Margaree, Margaree Harbour, Margaree Forks, Southwest Margaree and Margaree Valley. The tune is often associated with Cape Breton fiddler Buddy MacMaster.
Source for notated version: Donald Angus Beaton & The Beaton family (Mabou, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) [Dunlay and Reich, Dunlay & Greenberg]; Buddy MacMaster (Cape Breton) [Dunlay & Greenberg]; Paul MacDonald (b. 1974, Charlottetown, Queens County, Prince Edward Island) [Perlman].
Printed sources: Dunlay & Greenberg (Traditional Celtic Violin Music from Cape Breton), 1996; p. 56. Dunlay & Reich (Traditional Celtic Fiddle Music from Cape Breton), 1986; p. 39. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 101. Shears (Gathering of the Clans Collection, vol. 1), 1986; p. 60 (pipe setting).
Recorded sources: CAT-WMR004, Wendy MacIssac - "The 'Reel' Thing"(1994. Appears as "Donalbane"). Culburnie Records CUL 102, Alasdair Fraser & Jody Stecher - "The Driven Bow" (1988. From the playing of Buddy MacMaster). Green Linnett GLCD 1117, Altan - "Harvest Storm" (1992. Learned from Alasdair Fraser). Rounder 7011, "The Beatons of Mabou" (1978. Appears as 2nd of "Two Traditional Reels"). Rodeo (Banff) RBS 1066, Dan Joe MacInnis- "The Cape Breton Fiddle of ..." (1962. The first two turns only). Topic 12TS354, John Willie Campbell - "Cape Breton Scottish Fiddle" (1978. Appears as "Untitled" after "Fear nan Casan Caola").
See also listings at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index 
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources 
See a standard notation transcript of Donald Angus Beaton's version at the Celtic Music Interpretive Center's site