McGibbon Manuscript

Location: US-BEm

Reference: MS 957

RISM: 119400

Date: 1740 [circa]

Size: Octavo (30x19.2cm)

Extent: 153 folios


Manuscript of Italian and Scottish violin music, in the hand of the Edinburgh / Aberdeen writing master and amateur violinist David Young, also compiler of the Drummond Castle MSS, the MacFarlane MS, and the Young-Bodleian MS. By its contents, this volume is likely contemporary with the MacFarlane MS of 1740.

The McGibbon MS has only recently become known to researchers in 18th-century Scottish music, through its rediscovery by Leon Chisholm at the Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library, University of California, Berkeley. The manuscript was in Scottish hands until the early twentieth century at least, with the names of its distinguished former owners inscribed on the first flyleaf: “W. Milne Gibson, 1926”, “Alec Sim 1927”, and “To Mr Davie from his friend Janet Middleton 11 Oct 1837”. Gibson was a Scottish author and antiquarian, Sim a fiddler and bandleader, and the latter name almost certainly refers to the Aberdeen musician and publisher James Davie, who published selections of the manuscript in the 19th century, including “Mr McGibbon’s Graces on the Adagio of Correlli’s [sic] IXth Solo” In Davie’s Caledonian Repository, series 2, volume 1 (Aberdeen, c. 1850).

Whilst much of the manuscript’s contents are similar to the MacFarlane MS, including dance tunes, and long sets of Italianate variations on Scots tunes, the manuscript stands apart for its Italian violin repertoire, including music by Carlo Tessarini, Antonio Vivaldi, and Arcangelo Corelli, as well as otherwise unknown works by Scottish violinist-composers William McGibbon and Charles McLean. Perhaps most significant in the manuscript are embellished versions of fifteen movements from Corelli’s op 5 violin sonatas, attributed to McGibbon and McLean. These include both densely ornamented versions of Corelli’s slow movements, and sets of variations on his dance movements. These were published in Christopher Hogwood’s 2013 edition of Corelli’s op 5.


Chisholm, William McGibbon and the Vernacularisation of Corelli’s Music

Corelli Op. 5, ed. Hogwood

McGibbon, Complete Sonatas, ed. Ford

McGregor, Violinists and Violin Music in Scotland

Links: RISM page, UCB Library Catalogue

View this manuscript's tunes in the full tune index