Miss Flora McDonald's Reel

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MISS FLORA McDONALD'S REEL. AKA and see “Charlie's Welcome (2),” “Charlie if Only You Would Come,” “Thearlaich na’n Tigeadh Tu,” “Flora MacDonald.” “MacDonald's Quickstep,” “MacDonald's Reel (2),” “Miss MacDonald’s (4).” Scottish, Reel. G Major (Athole): E Dorian (Bremner, Huntington, Johnson, Surenne). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Surenne): AAB (Johnson): AABB (most versions). Scottish music indexer Charles Gore points out that the melody has appeared under numerous variants of the title, sometimes with the appellations ‘Lady’, ‘Miss’, sometimes beginning with ‘Flora’, and identified variously as a reel, rant, quickstep or strathspey. John Glen finds the earliest appearance of this Jacobite-era tune in print in Robert Bremner's 1757 collection (p. 21), as a two-part reel. It also appears in the Gow’s Complete Repository, vol. 1. See note for “Flora Macdonald’s Lament” and “Flora MacDonald’s Adieu...” for more information on Flora MacDonald, who famously helped Prince Charlie escape to the Continent after the Battle of Culloden. Cape Breton fiddlers often play the tune in four parts, the last two of which are attributed to the influential Domhnull Iain an Taillear Beaton (Donald Beaton the Tailor, 1856-1919). However, Paul Cranford points out that the fourth part is recognizably the second part of “Thearlaich na’n Tigeadh Tu,” a pipe tune in MacDonald’s Gesto Collection of Highland Music.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Bremner (Scots Reels), 1757; Section 3, p. 21. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 1), 1799; p. 16. Huntington (William Litten's Fiddle Tunes, 1800–1802), 1977; p. 11. S. Johnson (A Twenty Year Anniversary Collection), 2003; p. 38. McGlashan (A Collection of Strathspey Reels), p. 29 (appears as "Miss McDonald's Reel"). Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), p. 247 (appears as "Flora McDonald"). Surenne (Dance Music of Scotland), 1852; p. 29.

Recorded sources: Rounder 82161-7032-2, Bill Lamey – “From Cape Breton to Boston and Back: Classic House Sessions of Traditional Cape Breton Music 1956-1977” (2000).




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