Mr. Duff's Favourite Scotch Measure

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X:1 T:Mr. Duff’s Favourite Scotch Measure M:C L:1/8 C:”by a Lady” R:Reel B:Archibald Duff – Collection of Strathspey Reels &c. (1794, p. 7) N:Duff dedicated his volume to Lady Carnegie of Southesk. Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D F/G/|A2 AB A2F2|A2 AB A2F2|(dc).B.A (BA).G.F|G2E2E2 FG| A2AB A2F2|A2 AB BAGF|Bdce dfeg|f2d2d2:| |:f/g/|abab {b}a2 gf|gaga gfed|gege fdfd|f2e2e2 fg| abab bagf|gaga gfed|Bdce dfeg|f2d2d2:|]



MR. DUFF'S FAVOURITE SCOTCH MEASURE. Scottish, Reel or Scotch Measure (whole time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "Mr. Duff's Favourite Scotch Measure" was first printed in Montrose and Aberdeenshire dancing master and musician Archibald Duff's Collection of Strathspey Reels &c. (1794), a volume dedicated to Lady Carnegie of Southesk. The Carnegie family, baronets and earls of Southesk, were patrons of Duff and supported many other causes, including Gaelic schools in the Highlands and support for mothers in childbirth. During Duff's time the family was headed by Sir David Carnegie of Pitarrow (1753-1805), 4th Baronet earl of Southesk, and his wife Agnes Murray Elliot (1763-1960). David was a Whig politician and Member of Parliament for the Montrose Burghs and later Forfar from 1784 until his death. Agnes Elliot's father had been Lieutenant Governor of New York through the American Revolution, and had a considerable estate in what is now Philadelphia, which was confiscated at the end of the war. Elliot, however, managed to hold on to the esteem of many of the leading adversaries during the conflict, and received complimentary letters from George Washington, General Knox, and other prominent men when he departed American for England in 1783 at the conclusion of the Peace. His daughter married Sir David Carnegie that same year. The union produced nine daughters before the steadfast Lady Carnegie birthed two sons: Christian Mary (1784-1860), Elizabeth (1784-1884), Jane (1785-1859), Mary (1788-1834), Eleanore (1789-1855), Agnes (1790-1875), Mary (1793-1877), Emma (1794-1882), Madeline (1796-1858), James (1799-1849) and John (1802-1879). Lady Carnegie survived her husband by over fifty years. Many of the Carnegie daughters remained unmarried, and only a few had children. Carnegie was succeeded in Parliament as representative of Forfar by the William Maule of Panmure.

At the time Duff published his collection (1794) the Carnegie daughters were still children; the eldest, Christian Mary, was but ten. Thus, all the tunes Duff wrote for the daughters, including their "favorites", were addressed to young women who he may have been instructing in dance and/or music. This rather simple Scotch Measure (a type of reel), "by a Lady," seems as if it may have been composed by one of his young Carnegie charges.

Archibald had a brother, Charles, who was also a famed northeast Scotland dancing master and musician. The two sometimes played together for events. It is possible the "Mr. Duff" of the title refers to Charles.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Archibald Duff (Collection of Strathspey Reels &c.), 1794; p. 7.






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