Full title: A Choice Collection of Scots Reels or Country Dances & Strathspeys With a Bass for the Violincello or Harpsichord.
Publisher: Edinburgh: Robert Ross
Printer: J. Johnson sculpt. Printed Robert Ross.
See also John Hamilton, A Choice Collection of Scots Reels, a reprint of this first edition of 1780, with title changes for no.11 (engraved) and no.51 (handwritten in ink).
The book was apparently originally issued in five 8-page numbers. The collection has well-chosen tunes with careful slurring, many offbeat slurs, and some strathspeys notated with dots under slurs.
There are many excellent tunes, with good basslines. The settings are well-crafted and stylish, apparently prepared by a musician who knows the tunes well, and how to make bassesfor them.
J. Murdoch Henderson's copy in GB-En contains many handwritten corrections in ink, mostly adding trills and slurs, many across barlines and strong beats, and some staccato markings.
The Reel of Tulloch' and 'Miss McNeills Reel' are presented in ae'a'e'' scordatura.
The basslines are mostly simple four-beat lines with occasional pairs of dyads (intervals of 3rds and 5ths) in the 1st or 2nd half of bars. There is occasional chromaticism.
'The Masons Apron' appears in G as 'The Mason Laddie', with offbeat slurs and a two-note bassline with no cadences: an early version?
'Ness Side' (p.5) has a single dyad 5th used to underpin high leap in tune leading to cadence (cf Malcolm Macdonald). The final tune, 'Sally Kelly' has a possible misprint in the first two notes of bassline.
Biographical info: A practising musician, possibly a guittar player, Ross was active as an Edinburgh music-seller, 1769-c.1805, but continued thereafter as a musician, and died in 1808. He traded from his house in Playhouse Close Canongate, Edinburgh, in 1769; the back of Fountain Well, 1770-1785; and Head of Carrubers Close 1785-1805. (Glen 1, viii; Humphries & Smith; MacKillop) He was a musician for Edinburgh Musical Society. (Alburger, 120) Although there is no clear relationship with composer John Ross who was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and spent his adult life as an organist in Aberdeen, both were published by John Hamilton, so there could be a hidden connection.
GB-En Glen 91(1)
This source has not been digitised.