Miss Smyth of Methven’s Reel (1)

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MISS SMYTH OF METHVEN [1]. Scottish, Reel. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABCD. The title refers perhaps to a daughter of David Smyth(e) (1746-1806) of Methven Castle, Perthshire, a Lord of the Session, who married first Elizabeth Murray of Hillhead (d. 1795), and afterwards (Amelia) Euphemia A. Murry (b. 1769) of Lintrose. The latter was known as “The Flower of Strathmore,” celebrated by poet Robert Burns in his poem “Blythe was she” after he met her on a visit to cousin, Sir William Murray of Ochtertyre. This was in 1787 when she was aged eighteen, already a celebrated “toast” (as Burns put it), and tradition gives that she did not appreciate Burns’ effort. An oil portrait of Euphemia seated with her young daughter was painted by William Dyce (1806-1864). There were a number of children from both marriages, although only three sons and two daughters survived. The eldest daughter (who was from the first marriage), Camilla Catherine Campbell Smythe, married the Right Honorable David Boyle, Lord Justice-Clerk in 1827. She was born around 1776 in Irvine, Ayrshire. The marriage was the second one for each and they had children together, although she died only a few years later, in 1830. The title of the melody may refer to Camilla or to another daughter.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 290. Gow (Fourth Collection of Niel Gow’s Reels), 2nd ed., originally 1800; pp. 28-29.

Recorded sources: Rounder Records, Buddy MacMaster – “Cape Breton Tradition” (2003).

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