Perth Assembly

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X:1 T:Perth Assembly, The C:Samson Duncan M:C L:1/8 R:Reel B: Joseph Lowe - Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, B:book 1 (1844–1845, p. 18) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:F F|A2 cA B2 dB|{d}c2 Ac (BG)GB|A2 cA (Bc)de|fcdb AFF:| f|a2 fa g2 eg|f2 df e2 ce|d2 Bd c2 Ac|BGcB AFFf| agfa gc'eg|fedf eace|dcBd cBAc|dfeg aff||



PERTH ASSEMBLY. Scottish, Canadian; Reel. Canada, Cape Breton. F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Hunter, Lowe, MacDonald, Stewart-Robertson): AABB (Cranford/Fitzgerald). Composed by Samson Duncan (1767-1837), born at Kinclaven, Scotland. He was an excellent fiddler and played with some of the most famous fiddlers and bands of the time--Niel, Nathaniel and John Gow. He was also musician to the Laird on Aldie at Meidlour House. The reel is popular among Cape Breton fiddlers and has been frequently recorded. See also Duncan's "Garey Cottage."

Perth, Perth and Kinross, has been a settlement since Roman times and may be older. During the 15th century it was regarded as the capitol of Scotland. The title “Perth Assembly” probably refers to the hunting or gentleman's club in Perthshire. It was the membership of the Perth Assembly that subscribed the portrait of Dunkeld fiddler-composer, painted by Henry Raeburn, and four copies were produced.

Possible, but less likely, is a reference to the Perth Assembly that is a Presbyterian synod. There is some speculation, perhaps outdated, that Perth Assembly refers to ancient ceremonies. There is a sword dance called The Perth Assembly that is thought by some to have derived from a ceremonial dance performed by the powerful chieftains who gathered at Perth on occasion to swear allegiance to the king. Claymore swords were arranged in a circle on the ground, points pointing in, and the dance for eight dancers performed over them.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Winston Fitzgerald (1914-1987, Cape Breton) [Cranford]; Lowe’s Set, Book 1 [Henderson].

Printed sources : - Cranford (Winston Fitzgerald), 1997; No. 157, p. 62. Henderson (Flowers of Scottish Melody), 1935. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 262. Joseph Lowe (Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, book 1), 1844–1845; p. 9. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 150. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 208.

Recorded sources : - Ron Gonella – “Scottish Violin Music” (1966). Regal Zonophone MR-703 (78 RPM), Caledonian Accordion Band (1932). Rounder 7013, Joe Cormier - "Joe Cormier and Friends." Rounder CD 7020, Alex Francis MacKay - "A Lifeling Home" (1997). Smiddymade SMD615, Pete Clark – Even Now: The Music of Niel Gow.” Steph 1-94, Stephanie Wills - "Tradition Continued." Keith Smith and Green Ginger - "Music for Quadrilles" (2005).

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breaton Fiddle Recordings Index [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]



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