Baillie, Peter

Biographical info

According to Peter Baillie's grandson, Peter lived and worked at Loanhead near Edinburgh. Although known as 'Pate Bailie, the fiddling tinker', he was actually a horner, making horn spoons etc., and a stonemason. He was known for his vigorous bow-stroke, rapid, distinctive fiddling, and genius at improvisation, and was evidently a composer as well. He was a favourite at Dalkeith House and Stobo Castle, fiddling at aristocratic balls and parties. (Alburger, 168-9; Murdoch, 57-65). Biography from the volume itself: 'ADVERTISEMENT / PETER BAILLIE, the Author of the preceding Tunes, is about 46 years of age, was born in the parish of Libberton, and county of Mid-Lothian. His Parents belonged to the labouring class,- they had both a musical turn, but more particularly his Mother. He was the youngest of the family, some of whom he acknowledges surpassed him in playing on the Fiddle. PETER was originally bred a mason, a trade which he gradually relinquished, as by degrees he acquired skill in music. He married, at an early period in life, and had nine Children, several of whom can play on the Fiddle, but in a strain much inferior to their Father. When very young, he staid occasionally with several families of distinction, principally for the purpose of playing on the Violin. It was very likely at this time that his education was neglected. PETER may be regarded as a great musical genius in a state of nature, without the smallest cultivation, and had he been properly educated by some of the best teachers of the Art, there can be little doubt that he would have stood high among the Musicans of the present day. / A friend of the Author has been enabled, by the assistance of Mr CLELLAND, an ingenious musician of this city, to lay these Tunes, composed by PETER BAILLIE, before the Public. If success attends the publication, they will be continued in Numbers, of which this will be the first. / The proceeds of this Work, after defraying expenses, will be applied for the benefit of the Author’s family, which is at present in the greatest poverty. / EDINBURGH, August 1825.' In the Post Office Directory for Edinburgh 1825-26, musician Thomas Cleland is listed at Advocate's Close.

Sources authored by

Title Year
A Selection of Original Tunes [1825]