Whigs of Fife (1)

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WHIGS OF FIFE [1]. Scottish, Reel. F Major (most versions): G Major (Aird). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Surenne): AAB (Gow): AABB (Aird, Kerr, Martin): AABB' (Athole): AABBCCDD (Marshall). John Glen finds the instrumental tune earliest published in Neil Stewart's 1761 collection (p. 24), although a version of the dance tune was also published around the same time in Rutherford's Compleat Collection of 200 Country Dances, vol. 2 (Lodnon, 1760, p. 76). The reel was published on a sheet by fiddler-composer William Marshall, and is sometimes therefore attributed to him. Yet, as Kate Dunlay points out, it is unlikely he composed it for he would only have been aged 13 when the tune appeared in Stewart’s 1761 collection. It is more reasonable, suggests Dunlay, that Marshall composed the last two parts as variations. Marshall was a staunch Tory all his life and so perhaps had no love for the Whigs of the County of Fife, Scotland. The tune was also entered into the 1780 music manuscript collection of musician John Fife, who may have been from Perthshire.

See "Whigs of Fife (2)" for the song version of the melody.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs vol. II), 1785; No. 43, p. 16. Bremner (Collection of Scots Reels or Country Dances), 1769; p. 98. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 1), 1799; p. 29. Kerr (Merry Melodies vol. 2), c. 1880’s; No. 182, p. 21. Marshall, Fiddlecase Edition, 1978; Kinrara Collection (1800), p. 26. Martin (Ceol na Fidhle, vol. 2), 1988; p. 28. Skillern (Skillern's Compleat Collection of Two Hundred & Four Reels...Country Dances), 1780; p. 64. Stewart (Collection of the Newest and Best Reels), 1761; p. 24. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 205. Straight and Skillern (Two Hundred and Four Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1), c. 1775; No. 68, p. 34. Surenne (Dance Music of Scotland), 1852; p. 126. Walsh (Country Dances Selected as Perform'd at Court, II), c. 1760; 23.

Recorded sources: Rounder 7059, Alex Francis MacKay with Gordon MacLean – “Gaelic in the Bow” (2005).

See also listings at:
Alan Snyder’s Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
Hear the Five MacDonald Fiddler's recording on youtube.com [2]




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