The following is from John Glen's forward to The Glen Collection of Scottish Dance Music, Edinburgh, 1891, in a section entitled Biographical Sketches of Early Scottish Musicians and Musicsellers.
"Charles Duff, who published his Collection bearing his name, was a Musician. He is stated to have been the leader of the Musical Dociety in Dendee fro some time. As to whether he combined the teaching of dancing with music at any time, there is no information. His brother Archibald, however, was a dancing master in Montrose and Aberdeen. For reasons deduced from the title page of his Collection, it may be presumed that the work was published in 1792, or perhaps a short time before that date, though no advertisement has been discovered relating to it. Duff includes in his Collection a number of tunes composed by John M’Donald, late dancing master, Dundee, which were probably given to him by that individual, or purchased at the sale of M’Donald’s effects, which took place on Thursday, the 22nd October 1789. Prolonged search has failed to make known where Duff was born, whether in Dundee or about that locality. The John M’Donald above referred to, advertised in June 1782 for a person properly qualified in playing ball music on the violin &c., and it is believed that Duff obtained that situation. In 1798, there appears the advertisement, that “Charles Duff, Musician, begs to inform the public that he will remove at Whitsunday next from Dundee to Montrose.” When he again returned to Dundee is not ascertained, but about ten years afterwards (January 1808), the following announcement appears:--“Charles Duff Musician and James Chalmers Bookseller No. 3 Castle Street Dundee have commenced business jointly in the music line.” The firm’s name is to be found in the Dundee Directory for 1809, as Duff and Chalmers, Music shop, Castle Street. In March 1810, Duff and Chalmers opened a new shop near the bottom of Castle Street, Dundee, and towards the end of that year the following advertisement appears:—“New Music—Speedily will be published, A Selection of Minuets, Slow Scottish Tunes, &c., Dedicated to Miss Russel of Blackhall,” &c., &c., a work which Duff states to have been the result of his professional efforts during twenty-five years. He advertised in July 1811, that he leaves town to tune pianos in the districts of Montrose, Aberdeen, Brechin, and Forfor. Four years later, he informs us that he has begun business on his own account:—“Music warehouse—Charles Duff Musician intimates that he has dissolved Partnership by mutual consent and that he has opened on his own account on the west side of Castle Street adjoining to the Theatrem: &c., and he also makes reference to the knowledge which Alexander Duff, his nephew, has attined in music and tuning, &c. Duff again advertises in August 1817, that he “will close his instructions in Music on Saturday the 8th and will resume teaching on Monday 14th September.” In the Dundee Directory for 1818, the entry “Charles Duff Music-Seller 30 High Street” appears, shewing that he has removed from Castle Street; and an advertisement, of date November 10th, indicates another change of address, “Charles Duff, Musician, Music-Saloon opposite the English Chapel, Nethergate, Dundee.” In March 1821 he makes this announcement, “Sale of Music and Musical Instruments. Charles Duff respectfully intimates to his numerous friends and the public. A Sale of his stock of musical instruments at a reduction of price, &c., and that the sale will continue till Whitsunday. Charles Duff will remove to the flat above Mrs. Wallace, Brewer, South side of the English Chapel.” Duff’s address appears in the Dundee Directory for 1822, and he probably died about that time, as all further trace of him has been lost. The editor has seen a bill granted to him in November 1821, and has been informed by one of his pupils that he died an old man in the twenties. Duff was frequently employed at concerts and balls."