Dundee Volunteers March (The)

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DUNDEE VOLUNTEERS MARCH, THE. Scottish, Slow March. Bayard (1981) says his No. 272 (p. 229) is a descendant of this tune. The name Dundee is formed from the Celtic root-word dun, meaning a fortified place, along with what is thought to be a man's name, perhaps an early chieftain. Dundee, in Angus, was made a royal burgh by William the Lyon about 1190. A century later William Wallace attended grammar school their and supposedly fatally wounded another student in an argument about his dagger. It was an unlucky town: attacked by Robert I in 1313, it was burned by John of Gaunt in 1385, plundered by Henry VIII's forces in 1547, looted by the marquess of Montrose in 1645 and many of its citizens were massacred by General Monck when it refused to surrender to Cromwell.

Glasgow publisher James Aird, in whose vol. 5 of his Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs (1797) the march first appears, printed a number of quickstep marches dedicated to Scottish militia units, raised for the wars with France (or the fear of war) of the end of the 18th century. The march was also published in J. Watlen's Collection of Celebrated Marches & Quick Steps, published in Edinburgh in 1798. The 1st Battalion of the Dundee Volunteers was raised in 1795.

Samuel Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle, 1981) believed a southwestern Pennsylvania-collected fife march (given as "Old Fife Tune", No. 272, from the playing of fifer and fiddler Bill Miller, Cherry Tree, Indiana Count) was derived from Aird's "Dundee Volunteers", but the resemblance appears superficial at best.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs), vol. 5, 1797; No. 3, p. 1.

Recorded sources:




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