Colonel Thornton

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 Theme code Index    6L311 7L232
 Also known as    
 Composer/Core Source    
 Region    Scotland, Canada
 Genre/Style    Cape Breton/PEI, Scottish
 Meter/Rhythm    Strathspey
 Key/Tonic of    C
 Accidental    NONE
 Mode    Ionian (Major)
 Time signature    4/4
 History    CANADA(Maritimes/English)
 Structure    AABBCCDD
 Editor/Compiler    Biography:Niel Gow
 Book/Manuscript title    Book:Second Collection of Strathspey Reels (A).
 Tune and/or Page number    pp. 14-15
 Year of publication/Date of MS    1788
 Title of recording    
 Record label/Catalogue nr.    
 Year recorded    
 Score   ()   

COLONEL THORNTON. Scottish, Strathspey; Canadian, Reel. Canada, Cape Breton. A Minor (Athole): A Dorian (Dunlay & Greenberg, Skye). Standard tuning (fiddle). ABC (Dunlay & Greenberg): AABBCCBB (Athole, Skye). Scottish collections print the tune as a strathspey, with the third part in the lower octave; Cape Breton versions have the third part in the higher octave, and are sometimes played without the middle turn (Dunlay & Greenberg). Thomas Thornton (1747-1823) was a Colonel of the West York Militia, but is remembered as a flamboyant and convivial companion, and a renowned sportsman involved in falconing, horse-racing and hunting. He was also a successful breeder of horses, dogs and falcons. Upon the death of his father Thornton inherited an immense fortune. In the early 1760's Thornton attended the University of Glasgow, later writing A Sporting Tour through the Northern Parts of England and a great part of the Highlands of Scotland Including remarks on English and Scottish landscapes, and general observations on the state of society and manners (London, 1804) and a similar publication on French sporting. In 1772 he founded The Confederate Hawks of Great Britain ('the Falconer's Club') and in 1790 he purchased the estate of Allerton Mauleverer (Thornville Royal) from the Duke of York. A contemporary account sings his praises:

His whole life was devoted to sports of the field. He showed great partiality for falconry, being determined to bring the sport to the height of perfection but his sporting interests and abilities were varied. In a walking match, he went four miles in thirty-two minutes and a half a second. He was able to jump his own height (5 feet, 9 inches)-in response to a considerable wager. In another match he jumped over six five-barred gates in six minutes, then repeating the same feat on horseback. With respect to shooting, either with fowling-piece, rifle or air-gun, Colonel Thornton has given the most incontestable proofs of the steadiness of his hand and the wonderful correctness of his sight, not only in bringing down the game, but also at the mark, in which his precision has never been surpassed.

He married in 1806 Miss Cawson of Essex, who herself had some fortune. Despite this Thornton was forced to remove to France in 1815 due to financial difficulties, but took his sporting life with him. He established a falconer's club in Paris (primarily devoted to dining, drinking and singing hunting songs), and true to his life, died in March, 1823 after ordering out his hounds with his horse waiting at the door. He was not without his idiosyncrasies and quirks. Thornton was the chief patron of painter Swarey Gilpin (1733-1807), also a sports enthusiast, who produced many paintings of hunt scenes and similar activity. Gilpin's "The Death of a Fox" was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1793.

Source for notated version: Buddy MacMaster (Cape Breton) [Dunlay & Greenberg].

Printed sources: Dunlay & Greenberg (Traditional Celtic Violin Music of Cape Breton), 1996; p. 49. Gow (Second Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1788; pp. 14-15. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1885; p. 104. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 67.

Recorded sources: ACC-4979, Natalie MacMaster - "Road to the Isle" (appears as "Old Traditional Reel"). ATL 0193, Howie MacDonald - "The Ceilidh Trail" (1993. Appears as "The Old King's"). Rounder 7001, Joe Cormier - "Scottish Violin Music" (1974. Appears as 2nd tune in "Miss Lyle" medley). Sea-Cape Music ACR4-12940, Buddy MacMaster - "Judique on the Floor" (1989. Appears as "Old Traditional Reel").

T:Colonel Thornton
S:Sandy MacIntyre
Z:abc transcription wil macaulay []
A:Cape Breton
A| E(A,A,B,) C2 CE | DCB,D ECDB, | E(A,A,B,) C/C/C CE | DB,GB, (G,A,) A,:||
B,| (G,A,)A,A EA,EA | GEDG B,G,G,B, | (G,A,)A,A EA,EA| GEDB, A,/A,/A, A,B,|
(G,A,)A,A GAAE | GEDC B,DDA | E(A,A,B,) C/C/C CE | DB,GB, (G,A,) A,||
B,| A,aag {ab}agea | gedg BAGB| Aaab {ab}ageg | dBgB A2 AB  |
Aaab {ab}ageb | gedg BAGB | cBAB cdec | dBgB A2A||

T:Colonel Thornton
B:Stewart-Robertson - The Athole Collection  (1884)
Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion
B,|A,/A,/A, E>A, C3E|B,>G,D>G, E>G,D>G,|A,/A,/A, E>A, C>A,E>C|B,>G,D>B, E2A:|
|:B,|A,<A, A2 E<E A2|G>ED>G B,<G, D>B,|A,<A, A2 E<E A2|GEFD E2A,:|
|:E|C/B,/A, E>A, C/B,/A, E>A,|B,/A,/G, D>G, EG,DG,|C/B,/A, E>G, C/B,/A, E>A,:|
|:B,|A,<A, A2 EE A2|G>ED>G B,<G, D>B,|A,<A, A2 E<E A2|G>EF>D E2A,:||