A Collection of Scots Reels or Country Dances
by Bremner, Robert

Full title: A Collection of Scots Reels or Country Dances. With a Bass for the Violincello or Harpsichord.

Publisher: Edinburgh and London, Robert Bremner

Printer: Robert Bremner

Seller: Robert Bremner, At the Harp and Hautboy

Edition: [1st]

Date: 1757


Published as 14 numbers of 8 pages each, c.1757-61, the last two numbers being published as the Second Collection.
The engraving style of text (and sometimes music) changes between numbers. (The form of the '8' in 6/8 matches that in Bremner's Curious Collection only in some numbers.)
The GB-A copy proves that the book was first published in Edinburgh, not London: 'Edinburgh, Printed & sold by Robt. Bremner, at the Harp & Hautboy, where may be had [...] Also all sorts of Music & Musical Instruments as cheap as at LONDON.' The later London edition has had 'Edinburgh' replaced by 'LONDON', with 'in the Strand' added underneath, and 'as cheap as at LONDON' removed! So Bremner took the plates south with him in 1762, advertising his London premises in December of that year. A note from Wighton inside the GB-DUcl copy reveals that the Scots Magazine advertised individual numbers as they were issued, e.g. 7 & 8 in November 1759, 10 in November 1760, and 11 & 12 in April 1761.
In this copy (GB-P Bd45), pp.17-20 are missing and have been supplied from the Gb-P Bd19.


Bremner presents simple, repetitive four-beat basslines.This book is clearly the source for 'Miss Murray's Reel' in The Caledonian Muse, where the musical text is identical.
Some tunes in scordatura.
Titlepage: 'In playing these Basses on the Harpsichord, their Octaves may be also struck, as represented by small Notes in the Fyket. page 6th.' 'The Fyket' has dots printed an octave lower to show where to play the bass notes on the harpsichord.
p38 'The Fir Tree - Strathspey NB: The Strathspey Reels are play'd much slower than the others.'

Pages: 96 p

Orientation: Landscape

Dimensions: 17 x 25

Gore: B15

Link: IMSLP: incomplete copy, missing pp.19-20, 24-27, 30-31, 51-52, and 55-56.

Biographical info: Bremner (c.1713-89) was a music-seller and publisher in Edinburgh until 1760, thereafter in London. John Brysson managed the Edinburgh business for Bremner after the latter's removal to London. (Glen 1, vii; Alburger; Grove)


Aberdeen University Library
Birmingham University Library
Cambridge University Library
University Library, Durham
Dundee Central Library (Wighton Collection)
National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
Edinburgh City Library
Edinburgh University Library
Mitchell Library, Glasgow
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
University of Glasgow Library
Royal Academy of Music, London
British Library, London
Royal College of Music, London
Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House, London
Manchester Public Library
Manchester University Library
Newcastle University Library
Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
A K Bell Library, Perth
Saint Andrews University Library
Sheffield University Library
National Library of Ireland, Dublin
Trinity College Dublin

GB-P Bd19 (1759, lacking titlepage, index, pp.95-96, and has some cropping to the tops of pages)
GB-DUcl H.92496 (First and Second Collections. Occasional cropping to text at the top. Ink annotations from Wighton, e.g. The Grant's Rant 'Green Grows the Rashies O', correction of 'The Corporal' to 'G minor'. Plates seem slightly more worn than in Perth and IMSLP copies. Further notes, mostly on publication dates, appear throughout the book: some give alternate titles for certain reels. The second collection has an MS index.)
GB-A Pi 787 BRE (Edinburgh, 1757-59. First 4 numbers only, pp.1-32, lacking pp.3-4, 15-16)
GB-A Hend Inst Sco (London, 1765?)
GB-Gu Ca9-d.21 ([1775])
GB-Lbm b.58.b.(1.) ([1768])
GB-Lcs QM ([1765])
GB-Ob Harding Mus.F 295(1) ([1768])