Sir Alexander McDonald's Reel
X:1 T:Sir Alex’r McDonald’s Reel M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel B:Bremner – Scots Reels (1757) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D F(AA)(f/g/ a)fed | gfed BdBA | F(AA)(f/g/ a)fed | (e/f/g) (f/g/a) Te2 d2 :| |: FAA>B A>BAF | G/G/G G2 GABG | F(AA>)B (A>B)AF | GBAF TE2D2 :| |: (f/g/a) a>b a>baf | g/g/g g2 g>aba | (f/g/a) a>b a>baf | gafg Te2d2 :|
SIR ALEX. McDONALD'S REEL. AKA – “Sr. Alexander McDonald’s Reel," "Sir Alexander Macdonald's Reel.” AKA and see “Braes of Mar (1) (The),” “Johnny Will You Marry Me," "Johnny Won't You Marry Me,” “Lord MacDonald (1),” "Strath Spray's Rant." Scottish, Reel (cut time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBAAB'B' (Young): AABBCC. The melody appears earliest in the Drummond Castle Manuscript, Part 2 (1734, No. 4) in the possession of the Earl of Ancaster at Drummond Castle) and inscribed "A Collection of the best Highland Reels written by David Young, W.M. & Accomptant." The MS is sometimes called The Duke of Perth Manuscript due its' dedicatee.
The reel also was printed in Robert Bremner's 1757 collection, where he directs: “In this Reel the 1st part is played twice over between the 2nd & last parts,” and it can also be found in James Gillespie's Gillespie Manuscript of Perth (1768, p. 93) as "Sir Alexr MacDonald's Rant." Somewhat later it was printed in James Aird’s Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1 (Glasgow, 1782). English printings include Charles and Samuel Thompson’s Compleat Collection, vol. 3 (London, 1773), Straight and Skillern’s Two Hundred and Four Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1 (London, 1775), and Longman and Broderip’s Compleat Collection of 200 Favorite Country Dances (London, 1781). Versions in manuscript form can be found in the 1780 copybook of military fiddler John Buttery and in John Rook’s 1840 music manuscript (Cumbria), Jeremiah Brown’s (Seabrook, N.H.) 1782 commonplace book, and the 1788 commonplace book of fiddler John and William Pitt Turner (Norwich, Conn.). The latter probably copied it from the Thompson’s 1773 collection, along with numerous other tunes from the publication.
Given the early appearance of the tune in David Young's Duke of Perth MS. (1734) the title probably refers to Sir Alexander Macdonald (1711–1746), 7th Baronet of Sleat in the Isle of Skye in the County of Inverness, who married Lady Margaret Montgomerie. Their youngest son was also Sir Alexander Macdonald, although he was not born until 1745.