Top Scottish Fiddle Tunes

January 23, 2020, 10:46 AM · Me?? Posting a fiddle question??

You're not hallucinating. I've got an opportunity to play a few fiddle tunes at an upcoming Burns Supper, so I figured I had better make them Scottish tunes. But I don't really know what the most recognizable or crowd-friendly tunes would be and I need a few suggestions.

PS: Not Auld Lang Syne because there are other plans for that tune.

Replies (20)

Edited: January 23, 2020, 10:58 AM · How creative can you get with Loch Lomand? :) Annie Laurie is one of my favorites, but I don't know if people will recognize it.
Edited: January 23, 2020, 11:33 AM · I would search Scott Skinner and Neil Gow
Bonnie lass of bon accord by scott skinner has some nice runs and is not too long. Very well known. Any Strathspey would sound authentic. I would avoid the obvious loch lomond etc. Something people would sing to, Wild Mountain Thyme (will you go lassie go)

Edited: January 23, 2020, 12:42 PM · Tunes popular at our jams include:
Pennycuick House
Athole and Breadalbane Gathering
The Blackthorn Stick
Flowers of Edinburgh
Drummond Castle
Lass O' Patie's Mill
The High Road to Linton

As Janice points out, anything by Scott Skinner and Neil Gow is good. I'm also a fan of William Marshall and Robert Mackintosh. You can find tons of tunes to print out at the Highland Music Trust.

January 23, 2020, 12:45 PM · Ditto on Scott Skinner:-- Bonnie Lass o' Bon-Accord, The Hurricane, Cameron Highlanders, the Mathematician, Hector the Hero. Bride's Reel, Simon Fraser's Beauty of the North,. You will find over-lap with Irish tunes, and influence from scottish bag-pipe technique.
January 23, 2020, 3:44 PM · Paul, you have a wonderfully warped sense of humor I recall. Neil Gow wrote a lovely waltz tune called: “Neil Gow’s lament on the death of his second wife”. Play it then tell em the tune name and see what a rise you get!

It really is a nice tune. Part A is kind of dirge like then part B is uplifting.

Edited: January 23, 2020, 4:00 PM · Well-known Scottish tunes:
Scotland the Brave
The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond
The Skye Boat Song
January 23, 2020, 8:34 PM · Thanks to all for your suggestions. We do these Burns Suppers mostly every year so now I've got a great list and I can be better prepared in future! However for this year since I have only a day to prepare, I'm lucky that my daughter, it turns out, has a cello book called "Crossing to Scotland" that had a lot of fine fiddle tunes. In fact I am going to arrange them (very lightly) and then perform them with her, since she knows them all cold already.
January 24, 2020, 10:25 AM · If you are playing for a supper for Robbie, seems like playing some of Robbie's songs tunes might be in order?
"A Red Red Rose" "Ae Fond Kiss" "Auld Lang Sine" [original Scots melody on the last, not Lombardi], "Ay Waukin O", "The Silver Tassie", "The White Cockade",......

As others have suggested you won't go far wrong with Gow and Skinner as well.

January 24, 2020, 12:42 PM · Michael, I appreciate those suggestions very much, thank you.
January 24, 2020, 2:51 PM · You're more than welcome Paul! I am living vicariously through you all right now as I am dealing with a right rotator cuff impingement which limits my fiddle playing to very short sessions on the a and e strings. Luckily, the mandolin, octave mandolin and guitar don't hurt as much.
Edited: January 24, 2020, 7:31 PM · I'm going to nail it for you Michael! My daughter and I are going to do 4-5 tunes as duets. I've just written an arrangement of Red Red Rose for Violin and Cello. It's nothing special but the idea is to give daughter the melody about half the time. (Her tone is better than mine anyway.)
January 24, 2020, 7:13 PM · Not Scottish so I don't know how much help I can be as far as answering this question goes; however, I thought it might be worth mentioning that Nicola Benedetti put out an album a while back full of her covers of some Scottish fiddle tunes. Definitely worth a listen for inspiration!
January 24, 2020, 7:32 PM · Thanks for the tip John, I wasn't aware of that! Now let's see if it's on Spotify ...
January 24, 2020, 8:36 PM · Here's a few more 'most recognizable' Scottish Tunes....

Ye Banks and Braes.
Will Ye No Come Back Again.
When The Kye Comes Home.
I Love A lassie.
Coming Through The Rye.
Charlie is my Darling.
Blue bells of Scotland.
Annie Laurie.
When You and I where Young Maggie.
Flowers of the Forest.

January 25, 2020, 1:48 AM · Neil Gow’s "lament on the death of his second wife" was as I heard the story a lament for his fiddle which he had dropped.
January 25, 2020, 5:30 AM · I've never heard that -- every source I can find online says that it actually was written upon the death of his second wife, Margaret Urquhart.

If you can find a source which says he wrote the lament about his violin, Please share it with us.

January 25, 2020, 11:31 PM · Neil's fiddle is still "alive and well" as far as I know. Can't remember whether it is in Perthshire or Edinburg castle museum. Google "Neil Gow's violin" and you can watch a vid of it being played
January 26, 2020, 7:07 PM · Just a quick note here to let you know that the event went well. I played a nice selection including a couple of tunes by Robert Burns himself, with my cellist daughter. A colleague played "Coming Through the Rye" and a couple of other tunes on the saxophone (which he plays very well).
January 27, 2020, 4:52 AM · Congratulations! Thanks for letting us know about the success.
January 27, 2020, 8:44 AM · Well done Paul! Sounds like an enjoyable evening.

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