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ABERDEEN HUNT. Scottish, Strathspey. G Dorian. Standard tuning. AAB.
The Aberdeen Hunt was one of the numerous aristocratic hunt clubs in Scotland in the 18th and 19th centuries which patronized musicians (who, if they were astute, composed tunes in their honor) for their balls and gatherings. The placename Aberdeen comes from the Brittonic prefix 'Aber-', meaning 'mouth', coupled with a river name, Don, for a word meaning 'mouth of the Don', over time becoming Aberdeen (Matthews, 1972). Aberdeen was a Pictish village in the 4th century and expanded in the 6th century around the church of St. Machar. Old Aberdeen was made a royal burgh in 1154 by the Scottish king David I.
The tune first appears in ROBERT PETRIE's Collection of Strathspey Reels and Country Dances (1790, p. 3), his first publication, and was later printed by James Stewart-Robertson in The Athole Collection (1884, p. 197). Petrie (1767-1830) was born in Kirkmichael, Perthshire. John Glen, in his forward to The Glen Collection of Scottish Dance Music (Edinburgh, 1891) has this to say about him:
His father was named John Petrie, and his mother Elizabeth Read; and he was baptised
as “Robertus.” There is little known of his early history; but he was regarded in
and about his native place as an excellent violin player, although from his personal
habits and propensities he has been described as a “ne’er-dae-weel.” He was much
employed at balls, weddings, &c., and was associated with a partner, by name John
Fleming, who played the violoncello on such occasions. Both Fleming and Petrie are
said to have participated with the Hon. William Maule in one of thos mad freaks which
were so characteristic of the latter. On this occasion a mock resurrection had been
organized and was performed in the churchyard of Logie, Dundee. Fleming it is said
afterwards regretted having been concerned in the frolic, and he declared that none
of those who took part in it would die a natural death. To verify his prophecy, he
kept a book, in which he might record the various deaths. So far as Maule and he
himself were concerned, however, his prediction proved wrong; but (whatever had been
the fate of the rest of their associates) we know that Petrie was found dead one morning
in the end of August or beginning of September 1830 by the side of a small stream.
He had suddenly expired when on his way home from a party.
Petrie is mentioned as having taken part in a competition for violin playing held in
Aberdeen about 1822. Feeling himself somewhat handicapped in the course of it by his
opponents, he expressed to his friend Flemming his doubts as to the final result.
Fleming, however, reminded him that he had still one tune to play ere the final
decision would be made—“The Ewie wi’ the crookit horn.” This Petrie performed so
well that amid the plaudits of the audience he was declared the first prize-winner.
The cup awarded him, however, never reached Kirkmichael—a fact probably to be attributed
to the irregularity of his habits.
Source for notated version:
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