Reeling in the Strathspey: The Origins of Scotland’s National Music

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Abstract / Description of output

According to the conventionally held view, the strathspey was an eighteenth century innovation instigated by fiddlers of the Speyside region, such as the Browns of Kincardine and the Cummings of Grantown. However, the basic rhythmic characteristics inherent to the strathspey – a series of long and short notes, organised within two or four strong beats per bar – are found in Gaelic songs thought to be much older. Using a range of data from early musical collections and transcriptions of twentieth century audio recordings, this paper explores the musical and semantic connections between the strathspey and Gaelic song, suggesting an alternative developmental path for Scotland’s national music.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-102
Number of pages46
JournalScottish Studies
Volume36
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2013

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