Drummond Castle Manuscript 2

Title: Collection of the Best Highland Reels Written by David Young W.M. Accomptant

Location: GB-CRIdc

Reference: GB-En Acc.7722 (photocopy)

Date: 1737 [circa]

Extent: 35 folios


Music manuscript comprising the earliest extant collection of reel tunes. Bound with Drummond Castle MS 1 (see notes to this MS for provenance), the two collections were presumably both commissions for James Drummond, 3rd Duke of Perth. This manuscript was likely also dated c. 1737, given its similarity in appearance and calligraphy. The manuscript is entirely copied by Young except for a single item, a copy of the tune “The Duke of Perth’s Reel” on the back of the title page, in a far rougher, amateur hand, but evidently attempting to copy Young’s notational style.

The manuscript is set for solo treble throughout, presumably violin for all 45 tunes. Many items are the earliest notated versions of reel tunes, with many concordances with later printed collections, notably Robert Bremner’s A Collection of Scots Reels or Country Dances (1757-61). The tunes have a combination of features common in both standard reels and strathspeys, with all the tunes in duple time (₵), with groups of quavers punctuated by “birl” rhythms of two semi-quavers and a quaver. Some tunes have more of a dotted strathspey feel. Several tunes have long sets of variations, showing clear influence from Highland pipe style.


Coupe, Rosemary, "David Young: Copyist, Collector, and Composer," Scottish Country Dancer No 6 (2008), 22-23.

McGregor, Violinists and Violin Music in Scotland

Links: NLS Catalogue, Digital copy by Ross Anderson, Historical Environment Scotland page on Drummond Castle

View this manuscript's tunes in the full tune index