Miss Catherine Forsyth's Reel

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X:1 T:Miss Catherine Forsyth’s Reel C:”By a Lady” M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel B:James Taylor – A Collection of Strathspeys & Reels, together with a Set of Scots Quadrilles (Elgin, c. 1835, p. 10) N:”Most respectfully dedicated to Lady Dunbar of Northfield.” Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Bb F|~B2 (c/B/A/B/) BFDF|~B2 (AB) cC C2|~B2 cBAB BFDF|EGFE DB,B,:| F|BB dB fBdB|BB fB dccd|BB fB dBfB|egfe dBBF| BB dB fBdB|BB fB dccf|dfcd Bc GB|FGFE DB,B,||



MISS CATHERINE FORSYTH'S REEL. Scottish, Reel (cut time). B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. "Miss Catherine Forsyth's Reel" was one of a few melodies attributed to "a Lady" in Elgin composer, fiddler and music teacher James Taylor's first collection (c. 1835). It seems likely that the 'Lady' was his dedicatee for the volume, Lady Dunbar of Northfield, or one of her daughters.

Catherine Forsyth was the name of both a mother and daughter. The elder Catherine was the eldest daughter of William Forsyth of Cromarty. She married a cousin, Mr. Isaac Forsyth, a well-to-do bookseller in Elgin who also owned a farm (and whose various manufacturing ventures in Elgin always seemed to lose money). "Mrs. Forsyth was much beloved by her children, who had the greatest and most tender respect for her memory." She died in 1826. The couple had five daughters and at least four sons. The youngest daughter was also Catherine (1810-1874) who never married [1] and who lived on Institution Road, Elgin. She died in 1874 and is the probable person of the title. Her name crops up in public records occasionally. As perhaps befits a bookseller's daughter, she seemed to be passionate about education. Catherine was on the [Steering] Committees of the Elgin Girls' School and the Infant School, both established in 1832. Upon her death she endowed a scholarship in memory of her father in the New College for students of the Second Year in Theology.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - James Taylor (A Collection of Strathspeys & Reels, together with a Set of Scots Quadrilles), Elgin, c. 1835; p. 10.






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  1. See "Memoir of Isaac Forsyth, Bookseller in Elgin, 1768-1859", "by his grandson Major-General Isaac Forsyth MacAndres", 1889.