Miss Wardlaw's Reel

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MISS WARDLAW'S REEL. English, Reel. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. John Watlen attributes the tune to a "Mr. Clarkson" in his Celebrated Circus Tunes (Edinburgh, 1791), in which volume the tune first appears. The collection's title refers to Edinburgh's Royal Circus, an extension of Phillip Astley's London-based Royal Circus. The venue was an alternative to the opera, theater and concerts, and featured equestrian acts, acrobatics, songs and dance and pantomime. The composer attribution may refer to John Clarkson or John Clarkson Jr., both Edinburgh dancing masters and musicians. John Clarkson issued Clarkson's Musical Entertainment, being a Selection of various Tunes and Pieces of Music; adapted for the Piano Forte or Harpsichord..."to be had at his House, Carruber's Close, Edinburgh." He died in 1812 at St. Andrews, the Scots Magazine of that year noting that he was "for many years an Eminent teacher of Dancing there, and at Kirkaldy, Cupar and Dumfermline" [p. 158]. John Clarkson Jr. issued a volume entitled A Complete Collection of much-admired Tunes, as Danced at the Balls & Public's of the late Mr. Strange, Purchased and arranged for the Pianoforte, and respectfully dedicated to his Scholars (Edinburgh).

The are some distant musical similarities to "Miss Ward's Reel" in the first strain.

Sources for notated versions: an MS collection by fiddler Lawrence Leadley, 1827-1897 (Helperby, Yorkshire) [Merryweather & Seattle]; copied from James Aird’s Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs (1782-97) [O’Neill].

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; No. 125, p. 49. Merryweather & Seattle (The Fiddler of Helperby), 1994; No. 117, p. 63. O’Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922; No. 270. Watlen (The Celebrated Circus Tunes), 1791; p. 24

Recorded sources:




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