Glenfiddich Strathspey

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GLENFIDDICH STRATHSPEY. AKA - "Glen Fiddich Strathspey." AKA and see "Knutsford Races." Scottish, Strathspey. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'BB' (Perlman): AABBCCDD (Glen, Marshall). Composed by William Marshall {1748-1833} appearing earliest in his 1781 collection. Although there is a famous single-malt whisky called Glenfiddich, it is likely the tune was named after the Duke of Gordon's hunting lodge, built between 1773/74. It was a large though rather simple structure that had a thatched roof, and Marshall would have been acquainted with it through his position as Steward of the Household for Alexander, the 4th Duke of Gordon. Moyra Cowie (1999) reports Alexander loved to visit this retreat by the River Fiddich, and used it for his hunting parties; it was still in good repair when Queen Victoria visited the Lodge in 1887. The building exists today although it has not been kept up and is delapidated, being used to store grouse feed.

Marshall's "Glenfiddich Stratspey" was also entered as an untitled reel (No. 828) in the music copybook [1] of John Buttery (1784-1854), a fifer with the 37th Regiment, British army, who served from 1797-1814 and who late in life emigrated to Canada. Buttery's manuscript collection has also been identified as belonging to John Fife [1], with a suggested date of 1780. Fife was a family name, like Buttery, identified with the manuscript.

The tune appears in Preston's Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1798 as a reel, "Knutsford Races."

Source for notated version: Peter Chaisson, Jr. (b. 1942, Bear River, North-East Kings County, Prince Edward Island) [Perlman].

Printed sources: Glen (The Glen Collection of Scottish Dance Music), vol. 1, 1891; p. 3. Marshall (Fiddlecase Edition), 1978; 1822 Collection, p. 18 and the 1781 Collection, p. 4. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 189.

Recorded sources: Atlantica Music 02 77657 50222 26, Carl MacKenzie – "Atlantic Fiddles" (1994).

See also listing at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings [2]




Back to Glenfiddich Strathspey[edit]

  1. Early American Secular Music and Its European Sources, https://www.cdss.org/elibrary/Easmes/Index.htm