Notes on Tim's tune list
I use a program called NoteWorthy Composer to transcribe tunes (over 500 so far) from other printed or handwritten sources. I am a very slow reader of music, but I use the printed versions to help me learn a tune or (more often as time goes on) to remind me of tunes I have forgotten.
I have tried to get each group of tunes onto one page (A4 size) to save paper. If the set goes onto a second page it is formatted so that both pages can be side-by-side on a music stand or in a ring-binder.
Most of the sets are as I originally learned them. Others are just tunes that I wanted to work on at about the same time.
The first tunes I transcribed were for the Shiftin Bobbins ceilidh band, which I helped to form in 2000. Other tunes I have picked up at sessions throughout my life, or I've been taught at workshops over the years. More recently I have been involved in the Riverside Music Project in Stirling and I've transcribed some of their sets also. They are listed on a separate page on this website.
I take no responsibility for the keys indicated. They mean something to me, but if you have a better suggestion, please let me know. The same goes for any chords marked in the music (although, in this case, they mean nothing to me!).
I have given the name of the composer if I know it, but this is another area where I'm open to correction.
I learned the first tune from Aonghas Grant at the Stirling University summer schools in the early 1980s. Archibald MacDonnell supported Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 and "His name it was Archibald MacDonnell, from Keppoch he came, at Culloden he fell" fits the first line of the tune quite nicely.
I learned the second tune from Marie Fielding at the Riverside Music Project about 30 years later. It was published as a reel in the Skye collection in 1887, but Marie suggested that we experiment with different tempos. My research suggests that Captain MacDuff might have been in the Royal Navy in 1745.
I learned the last tune, in that key, from Aonghas Grant at a summer school at Stirling University. It also works well on the fiddle one string higher.
This set was introduced to the Stirling session by Charlotte MacDonald.
To keep accompanying guitarists on their toes I usually play the last tune once in G and then once in A.
A fine pair of tunes introduced to the Stirling session by one of the regulars, Douglas Todd.
This is the Shiftin Bobbins' eightsome reel set.
This is the first tune I learned by ear, from a cassette of Monty Python live at Drury Lane that has somehow survived a lot of playing.
I went to the Orkney Folk festival in 2019 and heard lots and lots of fast and furious fiddle tunes. For some reason, the only tune that stuck with me was this first slow air.
I lived for a few years in Letham in Fife, and occasionally went to the old time dance in the village hall there. The music was usually provided by Jimmy Shand Junior's band, and his dad occasionally sat in. Over 25 years later the first tune here popped into my head - the only tune I have learned from dancing not by playing! The BBC Radio Scotland program Take the Floor may have been an influence as well.
The third tune commemorates Scotland's victory in the Calcutta Cup in 1984 and was inspired by Jimmy Shand's Six-twenty two-step.
This set came out of the All our tunes project run by the Riverside Music Project in 2013. The first half of the first tune is from a transportation ballad that has 6 verses and a chorus. Boring or what, but I guess you've got to pass the time somehow en route to Van Dieman's Land. I added the second half of the tune to break the monotony.
In 2019 I had a great time at the first Land o' Burns fiddle weekend, with tuition from Gordon Gunn, Rua MacMillan, Alistair McCullough, and Kevin Henderson. The first tune is one of Gordon's, the others were taught by Rua, Alistair, and Kevin, respectively.
This set was introduced to the Stirling session by one of the regulars, David Williams.
These are a couple of unusual (for me) tunes that I learned at about the same time. The first was taught at a Klezmer workshop organised by the Riverside Music Project at the Tolbooth in Stirling.
The second tune is a Spanish song that Rafa Fernandez-Gil Bermudez sang regularly at the Settle Inn, until he moved to Edinburgh. My mastery of Spanish enables me to sing the whole last line of the song: "La la la, la la la, la la la la la la la."
The Shiftin Bobbins ceilidh band theme tunes, very popular at the Stirling session. Second time through the first part of the last tune we sing, "If I saw Maggie (Magnus) in the wood I'd do her (him) all the good I could."
During the coronavirus shutdowns in 2019 Helen Ross and I put these tunes together because they all have good harmonies.
This set is called "The polkas" and has been played at the end of the Stirling session since the turn of the century.