Miss Baigrie (1)

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MISS BAIGRIE [1]. Scottish, Strathspey. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB'CC'DD'. The tune was composed by Peter 'Pate' Baillie of Loanhead (1774–1841), known as the 'fiddling tinker', although his actual occupation was making horn-spoons. He was a sometimes stone-mason who participated in the erection of the stone pillars forming the gateway of Edinburgh University (during which he broke his leg). In addition, he was a renowned fiddler (who, by accounts, had a strong up-bow and a talent for improvisation and double stops) who was much in demand for dances and other occasions. Baillie published a collection of strathspeys, reels and other tunes under the title A Selection of Original Tunes arranged for the Piano Forte and Violin (1825). He was patronized by the nobility and played regularly at Dalkeith House (home of Sir James Montgomery) and at Stobo Castle. J. Murray Neil (The Scots Fiddle, 1991) relates:

The story is told that one night after playing in a town in Berwickshire he 'went on a spree' and ended up not having enough money to pay for lodgings. Wandering about the town he came to a hall from which there came sounds of music and dancing. He slipped in with his violin under his coat and worked himself nearer and nearer to the fiddlers. When they noticed him they made fun of him, believing him to be an itinerant fiddler and jokingly asked him to play. He responded by amazing them with a fine selection in his inimitable style. When he had finished, the leader exclaimed that he 'must either be the devil or Pate Baillie!

Peter Baillie was a contemporary of Nathaniel Gow (1763–1831) and Robert Mackintosh (c. 1745–1807), who together were considered the most serious rivals to the famed Niel Gow (1727–1806) as exponents of Scottish dance music. See also his grandson Robert Baillie's companion reel, "Miss Baigrie (2)."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Laybourn (Köhler's Violin Repository, vol. 3), 1885; p. 276. Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; no. 1, p. 5.

Recorded sources:




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