Biography:John Pringle

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John Pringle

 Given name:     John
 Middle name:     
 Family name:     Pringle
 Place of birth:     Hawick, Borders, Scotland
 Place of death:     India
 Year of birth:     c. 1770
 Year of death:     c. 1807
 Profile:     Composer, Musician
 Source of information:     [[Source of information::Transactions of the Hawick Archeological Society [1]]]

Biographical notes

John Pringle was born c. 1770, and was a fiddler-composer of Edinburgh, although he was originally from the Borders region. He published two collections: A Collection of Reels, Strathspeys & Jigs (Edinburgh, 1801), "Printed & Sold by J. Hamilton, No. 24 North Bridge Street," and A Second Collection of Strathspeys, Reels, Jiggs &c (Edinburgh, date unknown) "Printed for the Author, to be had at his Lodgings, No 16 Rose Street."

A volume called Transactions of the Hawick Archeological Society (1863) mentions Pringle in the notes of the March Meeting (pp. 9-10):

The half-brothers, John Howison and John Pringle, were professional musicians, distinguished far beyond their immediate neighbourhood as players, singers, and composers, their services being in constant requisition at the balls, merry-makings, and private parties which, towards the close of the lat and beginning of the present century, formed so marked a feature in the social life of town and country throughout the Border. Howison died comparitively young, and at his funeral, which was numerously attended, after the coffin had been lowered into the grave, his stepfather reverently uncovered his head, and with simple brevity pronounced his eulogy by saying, "Here lies the master of music." There can be no doubt that John Pringle would be indebted to his brother for rudimentary instruction in music, and he proved himself an apt scholar, as he soon equalled if he did not fairly outrival him. He is understood to have been a more finished player and more extensive composer than his brother, and his fame in both capacities has bruited abroad throughout the length and breadth of the borders. He at one time published a collection of from fifty to sixty original airs (one copy of which is known to be still in the town), with such local titles as "Fertish Hill," "Ruberslaw," "Minto House," "The Ettrick Shepherd," "Betty Howison's Favourite," and the once universally popular but now almost forgotten nursery air of "Dance to your Daddy, my bonny Babby." He was often professionally engaged at Minto House, where his abilities were fully appreciated; and when Lord Minto was appointed Governor-General of India, he paid John Pringle the tribute of taking him out with him to act as leader of the Assembly's band at Calcutta, where he died not very long after his arrival.

While resident in Hawick, a brother professional from a distance having heard of his skill, paid him a visit, and asking him for a specimen of his powers, Pringle played the "Humours of the Glen" with such exquisite taste as quite overcame his visitor, who declared he would never attempt that air again.