Alex Gillis & Mary Jessie Gillis, 1960 - home tape - reference recording


Addenda - This tune was inadvertantly left out of the printed/published edition of Cape Breton Scottish Collection and will be added to a future digital edition of that book.

First published in 1773 by the composer, Edinburgh music teacher Daniel Dow. a composer of many tunes which became classics, in his day Dow was known to play and teach fiddle, guitar and flute. His book presented this jig in Bb for the fiddle and in D for the flute. On an early home tape of Cape Breton fiddler Alex Gillis it was performed in the key of G. (the same Alex Gillis who recorded many 78 discs with the Inverness Seranaders in the 1930s).

My 1980 photocopy of the original comes from a handwritten copy of Dow's book which was supplied to Joe MacLean in the '50s by J. Murdoch Henderson. Joe's copy is now housed at Highland Village Museum, Iona.

Most well constructed tunes only suit the fiddle in their original keys. This one however does allow both finger ornaments and smooth bowing on either key - Bb or G. As such it makes a good excercise - learn it in one key and they relearn it by ear in the other. I did this - and, at the end of the day decided for me, Bb is the key.

i. Daniel Dow 1773. ii. Glen Collection (1891) iii. Donald MacLellan 78 Disc (in Bb). iv. Home Tape Alex Gillis (in G).

Thanks to Paul MacDonald for the MP3 version of Alex Gillis and Mary Jessie MacDonald a reel-to-reel tape which was recorded in the home of Bill and Kay MacDonald's, Dorchester, Massachusetts c.1960.


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last update 1/25/15