Port Ballangowne

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PORT BALLANGOWNE. AKA - "Rory Dall's Port (2)." Scottish, Air (whole time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. An ancient harp tune appearing in the Skene Manuscript of c. 1615, collected for or by John Skene of Hallyards in Midlothian, set in tablature for the mandora. William Dauney (Ancient Scottish Music, 1838) remarks that "almost every great family had a port that went by the name of the family," and cites "Port Lennox," "Port Gordon," "Port Seton," and "Port Athole," although he says that "Port Ballangowne" is the oldest recorded example. Under the simple title “A Port” the melody appears in Gordon of Straloch’s Lute Book (also called the Straloch Manuscript) of 1627-29, with the postscript “Finis Port Rorie Dall,” referring to the harper Ruari (Dall) O Cathain. Finally, under the appellation “Port 6th” the tune appears in the MacLean-Clephane Manuscript of 1816, written by the seventeen-year-old Lady Margaret Wemyss, a member of a prominent Lowland Scots family. "Ballangowne" is a Gaelic place name variously called Balgowan, Balgonie, etc., meaning 'village of the smith', and refers to Balgowan, which lies between two main parts of the Lude estate, Inchmagrannoch and Monzie, on the River Tummel. Another suggestion {from Sanger & Kinnaird (Tree of Strings, 1992)} for the origins of the title is that it was perhaps composed for Lady Elizabeth Ross, of the Rosses of Ballnagowan.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Dauney (Ancient Scottish Melodies), 1838; No. 32, p. 229. Sanger & Kinnaird (Tree of Strings), 1992; p. 179.

Recorded sources: Flying Fish, Robin Williamson - "Legacy of the Scottish Harpers, vol. 2."




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