Miller of Drone (1) (The)

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X:1 T:Miller of Drone [1], The M:C| L:1/8 R:Strathspey B:J. Pringle - A Collection of Reels, Strathspeys & Jigs (1801, p. 2) N:"Dedicated by Permission to the Honorable Miss Elliot" Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:F#min c/B/|A<FF>A E>FEC|A,<A,A,>c {c}B2 Bc/B/|A<FF>A ~E>FEC|CFEG A2 Ac/B/| A<FFA E>FEC|A,<A,d>c {c}B2 ~Bc/d/|e>Bc>G A>EF>C|E<E ~EF/G/ A2A|| c/d/|ecca ee (f/e/).d/.c/|ecca Tf2 fg/a/|ecca ee (f/e/).d/.c/|d>Bc>A {G}F2 ~Fc/d/| ecca ee (f/e/).d/.c/|ecca Tf2 f>g|(3agf (3efg (3aed (3cBA|{c}d>Bc>A {G}~F2F|]



MILLER OF DRONE [1], THE. AKA – "Miller of Derone (The)," "Miller of Drum." See "Cairistiona Chaimbel" and "Christy Campbell." Scottish (originally), English, Canadian; Strathspey. England, Northumberland. Canada; Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island. E Minor (Alexander, Colclough, Hall & Stafford, Kennedy, Raven): F Sharp Minor (Athole, Cole, Gow, Hardie, Hunter, Kerr, Martin, Saunders, Skye, Skinner, Surenne): A Minor (Carlin/Master, Honeyman, Perlman, Pringle): B Minor (Anderson, Howe). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Carlin, Cole, Gow, Hardie, Honeyman, Howe, Hunter, Martin, Perlman, Skinner, Surenne): AAB (Alexander, Kennedy): AA'B (Athole, Skye): AABB (Colclough, Raven). This very popular classic strathspey was probably composed by Nathaniel Gow (1763–1831), to whom it is often attributed, and appears in his Complete Repository, Part Second, 1802. Nathaniel's father Niel Gow is also sometimes credited with the piece (e.g. by Perlman). "The Miller of Drone" was published about 1801 by John Pringle (born c. 1770) in A Collection of Reels, Strathspey & Jigs. It has been said that Pringle also claimed authorship, and certainly "Drone" is sometimes credited to him as well, however, Alburger (1983) points out that Pringle clearly identified other tunes on the same page as his own, but did not put his name with "Drone." Although Gow published it a year later most authors seem to lean toward ascribing the tune to him, with the notable exception of the collector and Gow sceptic John Glen (1895), who called Gow's claim "doubtful." J. Scott Skinner, never one to shy from self-promotion, predicted when he published his own famous strathspey "The Miller o' Hirn" that "'The Miller o' Drone' will drone no more"—time, however, has not proven him correct. A melody with this title (perhaps the jig "Miller of Drone (2) (The)) is one of the "missing tunes" from William Vickers' 1770 Northumbrian dance tune manuscript.

Three versions of a bawdy song called the "Miller of Drone" (Roud 7155) was published in the Greig-Duncan Collection [1] (vol. 7, p. 1877), copied from the Poet's Box broadside "Miller of Drone" It begins:

Well it's easy, queasy, saft and easy
Ay, the mill gae'd on
O' a' the millers e'er I saw
There's nane like him o' Dron

There was a miller lived in Dron
And he was fed on beef and brose
Wi' sturdy limbs and shoulders broad
As you may well suppose
The miller was a sturdy loon
That ever hung a stone
And he's ta'en his suit a' different ways
As the wives kent weel at Dron

Noo the lassie she gae'd tae the mill
Wi' corn upon her heid
Sayin', Miller, would your stones still work
For we are oot o' breid
He took this fair maid in his arms
And in motion put his stones
And clink and clank then went the mill
Wi' a' the grind o' Dron

However, the indicated tune in Greig-Duncan is "Battle of Harlaw (The)," and not the Gow/Pringle strathspey.

Cape Breton fiddlers made sound recordings of the tune relatively early: Angus Allan Gillis cut it on 78 RPM in 1935 (paired with "The Yetts of Muckart"), and it has been frequently recorded by fiddlers from the island. "Cairistiona Chaimbel", or "Christy Campbell" is also a Cape Breton version. "The Miller of Drone [1]" was entered into Book 2 of the large c. 1883 music manuscript collection of County Leitrim fiddler and piper Stephen Grier (c. 1824-1894). An Irish derivative is the reel "First Month of Summer (The)". See also note for the derivative American breakdown "Grey Eagle (1)."


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Alburger (Scottish Fiddlers and Their Music), 1983; Ex. 79, p. 131 (appears as "Millar of Drone"). Alexander (Alexander's Fifty New Scotch and Irish Reels and Hornpipes), c. 1826; No. 37, p. 18. Anderson (Anderson's Budget of Strathspeys, Reels & Country Dances), c. 1820; p. 10. Carlin (Master Collection), 1984; No. 146, p. 88. Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 48. Colclough (Tutor for the Irish Union Pipes), c. 1830; p. 13. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 124. Edinburgh Repository of Music [2], 1818; p. 1. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 2), 1802; p. 25. Hall & Stafford (Charlton Memorial Tune Book), 1956; p. 55. Hardie (Caledonian Companion), 1986; pp. 26-27 (includes variations by Bill Hardie). Honeyman (Strathspey, Reel and Hornpipe Tutor), 1898; p. 18. Elias Howe (Musician’s Omnibus Nos. 6 & 7), Boston, 1880-1882; p. 594 ("Miller of Derone"). Hunter (The Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 144. Kennedy (Fiddler's Tune-Book: Reels & Rants, Flings & Fancies), 1997; No. 125, p. 30. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), 1880's; Set 30, No. 1, p. 18. Joseph Lowe (Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, book 3), 1844–1845; p. 1. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 2. Martin (Traditional Scottish Fiddling), 2002; p. 15. Moffat (Dance Music of the North), 1908; No. 36, p. 16. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 197. Pringle (A Collection of Reels, Strathspeys & Jigs), 1801; p. 2. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 181. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 163. Saunders (New and Complete Instructor for the Violin), Boston, 1847, No. 29, p. 57. Skinner (Harp and Claymore), 1904; p. 108. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 10. Surenne (Dance Music of Scotland), 1852; pp. 50–51.

Recorded sources : - ACC-49398, Brenda Stubbert – "House Sessions" (1992). Beltona BL2128 (78 RPM), The Edinburgh Highland Reel and Strathspey Society (1936). Canadian Broadcasting Corp. NMAS 1972, Natalie MacMaster – "Fit as a Fiddle" (1993). Celtic CX 017, Dan J. Campbell. Green Linnet SIF3040, De Dannan – "Ballroom" (1987. The tune appears on the record as "The Miller of Drohan," rendered as a hornpipe. It was learned from the playing of Tara and Dermy Diamond of Belfast, though the version probably originally came from Co. Fermanagh fiddler Tommy Gunn.) Rounder 7003, John Campbell – "Cape Breton Violin Music" (1976). Rounder Records 7052, Buddy MacMaster – "The Cape Breton Tradition" (2003). "James F. Dickie's Delights" (1976).

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [3]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [4]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [5]
See James Scott Skinner's manuscript copy of the tune at the Univ. of Aberdeen's Skinner collection [6]



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