Annotation:Mulchard's Dream

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X:1 T:Mulchard's Dream T:Bruarthar Feare Mulachaird M:C| L:1/8 B:Cumming - Collection of Strathpsey or Old Highland Reels (1780, No. 52, p. 17) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G A|BG G/G/G B>A Bg|BG G/G/G B>d Ac|BG G/G/G (B>A) B>d|eg de Bg A:| |:Bded gdec|Bdd>e g>B A2|Bdde gdec|TB>AB>d gb A2:|]

MULCHARD'S DREAM. AKA - "Bruadar Fear Mullach Àrd." AKA and see "Will You Go and Marry Ketty?". Scottish; Strathspey or Reel (cut time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. John Glen (1891) finds the earliest appearance of this tune in print in biography:Angus Cumming's 1782 manuscript (p. 17) where it appears as "Mulchard's Dream" with the Gaelic title "Bruadar Fear Mullach Àrd" (The Dream of the Man of the 'High Peak). Cumming (c. 1750-c. 1800) was from a long line of Speyside musicians. However, as William Lamb[1] points out, the word strathspey only appears in the title of his collection, and not with any of the tunes themselves; "the tunes were simply all 'Old Highland reels' to him." The boundary between what we think of as reels versus the syncopated strathspey was much more permeable to Cumming.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Cumming (Collection of Strathspey or Old Highland Reels), 1782; No. 52, p. 17.

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  1. William Lamb, "Reeling in the Strathspey: The Origins of Scotland's National Music", Scottish Studies, vol. 36, pp 66-102, Jun 2013. Lamb's thesis is that the distinction between strathspeys and reels is an artifact of modern sensibilities. "What we take to be the strathspey was simply the way in which Highlanders sang and played for Reels more generally; the pointed quality we associate with it was a widespread rhythmic matrix for Gaelic dance music in general, at least when in non-compound time signatures" (p.75).