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The dance and ballad air was assumed into martial repertory, the obvious connection being with the Gordon Highlanders, whose military band play it as the regimental march past in quick time.
Cock of the North

Played by: Jeff Campbell
Source: Soundcloud
Image: A photo of Piper George Findlater wearing the Victoria Cross.

Cock of the North

The dance and ballad air was assumed into martial repertory, the obvious connection being with the Gordon Highlanders, whose military band play it as the regimental march past in quick time.

It has been recorded that the melody helped win Gordon Highlander Piper George Findlater the Victoria Cross in 1897. It seems that while leading the charge storming Dargai Heights with other pipers, he was shot through both legs; "undaunted, he propped himself against a boulder, and continued to play" the stirring air to encourage the successful action (Winstock, 1970; pg. 212).

Kidson (1915) relates another military story of its earlier use in the siege of Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The British were initially hard pressed and were for some time besieged in various locations in the city by native Indians.

Signals had been regularly sent between the forces defending parts of the besieged town, and those under attack in the Residency quarters. A drummer boy named Ross, after the signaling was over, climbed to the high dome from which signals were sent and despite harassing fire from the Sepoys he sounded "Cock o' the North" in defiance, rallying the English with his bravery (though being a drummer, exactly how he 'sounded' the tune remains a mystery, ed.)

...more at: Cock of the North - full Score(s) and Annotations

X:0 T:Cock o' the North [1] M:6/8 L:1/8 K:A V:1 clef=treble name="0." [V:1] cdc cBA | cde f2e | cdc cBA | B3 e2d | cdc cBA | cde f2d | Ace B=GB | A3 A3:| |: a2e f2e | a2e f2e | cdc cBA | BcB B2e | a2e f2e | a2e f2e| cAc B=GB | A3 A3:||

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Although we are not trained musicologists and make no pretense to the profession, we have tried to apply such professional rigors to this Semantic Abc Web as we have internalized through our own formal and informal education.
This demands the gathering of as much information as possible about folk pieces to attempt to trace tune families, determine origins, influences and patterns of aural/oral transmittal, and to study individual and regional styles of performance.
Many musicians, like ourselves, are simply curious about titles, origins, sources and anecdotes regarding the music they play. Who, for example, can resist the urge to know where the title Blowzabella came from or what it means, or speculating on the motivations for naming a perfectly respectable tune Bloody Oul' Hag, is it Tay Ye Want?
Knowing the history of the melody we play, or at least to have a sense of its historical and social context, makes the tune 'present' in the here and now, and enhances our rendering of it.
Andrew Kuntz & Valerio Pelliccioni

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