The Airs & Melodies peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles
by Simon Fraser
Full title: The Airs & Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles, Communicated in an Original, Pleasing, & Familiar Style; Having the lively Airs introduced as Medleys, to form a Sequence to each slower Movement; With an admired plain Harmony, for the Piano Forte, Harp, Organ, or Violoncello, Intended rather to preserve Simplicity, than load with Embellishment; Edited by Captn. S: Fraser, And Chiefly acquired, during the Interesting Period from 1715 to 1745, through the Authentic Source narrated in the Accompanying Prospectus.
Publisher: Edinburgh: the Editor, No.3 Parliament Square
Printer: for the Editor
This is an important source of Gaelic material, and contains extensive paratextual material: a letter and Prospectus at the beginning, and an Appendix of notes at the end, including a long statement about the fishing industry from Simon Fraser.
The 1874 edition was published by Hugh Mackenzie in Inverness, and contains many revisions, including some (posthumously) from Fraser's son Angus, the editor William MacKay jnr, and some arrangements by George Croal of Edinburgh.
NB Both 1874 and 1814 editions available via IMSLP.
Accompaniment patterns are those familiar from other publications. The basslines, mostly single notes, are simple, and sometimes follow the tunes in near-unison. Some broken chords are marked, 'This Bass will chord in pairs if the Performer chuses.' The original edition includes dynamics, crescendos etc., but expression terms are in English.
Modern readers will query whether the settings of the tunes can be said 'rather to preserve Simplicity than load with Embellishment'; See McAulay, Chapter 1.
Link: IMSLP 1874 edition
Biographical info: Captain Simon Fraser (1773-1852) was compiler, editor and composer of Gaelic airs which Fraser said came from his father and grandfather. (Alburger; ODNB; Baptie)
- Aberdeen University Library
- Birmingham University Library
- Cambridge University Library
- 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-En Inglis 203
GB-En Mus.D.l.11 (1874 edition)
GB-En MH.174 (1874 edition)
GB-Eu (manuscript originals, inc. proposed vol.2 by Fraser's son Angus)
GB-Gm M8981 / 786.48
GB-Gu (original edition, and recent reprint)
GB-SA Finzi Collection no.98
and further UK locations
This source has not been digitised.