Agnes Hume Manuscript

Location: GB-En

Reference: Adv. MS 5.2.17

Date: 1704

Size: Oblong octavo

Extent: 22 folios


Musical miscellany likely from Edinburgh or South-East Scotland. Rebound in the 1930s, its folios are very worn, and show considerable signs of use, including a large liquid stain. Stell argues that the folios were previously unbound and reordered upon binding, making up three distinct sections of instrumental tunes, songs, and psalms. On f. 9v, following the selection of songs, the name “Mrs Agnes Hume” is twice inscribed, along with the date “1704”.

The manuscript opens with a selection of Scottish instrumental tunes, written in a reasonably clear and professional hand (ff. 1-4v). The tunes are written in treble clef on a six-line stave, with numerous double-stopped notes, and might have been intended for lyra-viol. There are a selection of violin tunes on ff. 5v-7 and ff. 10v-12, copied in two hands, one confident, probably that of a professional tutor, and another messier and amateur. An opening “Preludio” has violin fingering, and many of the pieces contain what appear to be regular staccato marks, but in fact seem to indicate bowing, each marking a place where a down bow should be played. Apart from a selection of songs and psalms, the remaining musical items are four nearly identical copies of the tune “John Anderson my Jo” copied on successive folios (ff. 19-21), the last with dance instructions for a country dance, likely the earliest in any Scottish source.

The thematic index lists only the instrumental pieces.


Stell, Sources, 100-109.

Links: NLS Catalogue

View this manuscript's tunes in the full tune index