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About the project

This database includes over 200 printed sources of Scottish fiddle music from before 1850. It omits publications of songs and airs, and because of its bass-led focus, sources without basslines. Most of the sources are substantial printed collections, but the database also includes some of the hundreds of surviving single-sheet publications. Manuscript sources were excluded purely to keep the project to a manageable size at this stage.

Finding the limits of the repertoire to be included was work-in-progress. We began by looking for sources of 'Scottish fiddle music', but the boundaries of this became ever more porous and difficult to define. In the past, Scottish fiddlers were familiar with a more diverse repertoire than our present-day conception of Scottish fiddle music might suggest. Also, the notion of Scottishness in music is difficult to pin down in a period when the notion of a national culture was only gradually taking shape.

Theoretical models for describing and analysing this music are still in their very early stages, so a detailed (or definitive) analysis is both inappropriate and probably impossible. The short notes on the music in each source give

  • a summary of the kind of repertoire it contains
  • some features of the basslines
  • particular points of interest that the research team noted on a brief survey of the contents

To download images for printing, click on the down arrow that appears at the top left of each image. This will download the image at the current zoom level; to download a larger image, select a higher zoom level.

Principal Investigator, project management and editor: David McGuinness
Researcher (post-doctoral), music bibliography & cataloguing: Karen McAulay
Systems Developer, web implementation: Luca Guariento
Co-Investigators, oversight and advice: John Butt, Susan Rankin
PhD student, project development: Barnaby Brown
Research Administrator, School of Culture and Creative Arts, University of Glasgow: Jeanette Berrie


Systems Developers, systems design: Zoltán Kömives, Neil McDermott
music encoding: Karen Marshalsay
MEI and search engine implementation: Andrew Hankinson
HMS.Scot logo design: Ewan McPherson
University of Glasgow Digitisation Centre for photography
University of Glasgow Library Special Collections
Nicola Cowmeadow and the team at AK Bell Library, Perth & Kinross
the staff at all the libraries we visited in Scotland for being endlessly patient and helpful:
go and visit them, they will be pleased to see you!
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • University of Glasgow
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • University of Cambridge

initial publication: October 2015

minor corrections: February 2016, May 2017

The material on is available for all non-commercial use. When reproducing or republishing, please credit and the library which holds the original, and provide a link to the page.

Historical Music of Scotland
Music, School of Culture and Creative Arts
14 University Gardens
Glasgow, Scotland,
G12 8QH

0141-330 3587