Hector the Hero
This tune was composed by James Scott Skinner in praise of Sir Hector MacDonald of Ross-shire. He was born in the Black Isle in 1857, enlisted in the 92nd Gordon Highlanders in 1870, and rose through the ranks to become a Major-General. He fought in Afghanistan, the South African Boer War and the Sudan.
When he died, a monument overlooking Dingwall was built to honour him, and James Scott Skinner composed this tune. Skinner was born in Banchory, and became a famous fiddler, perhaps the most famous of his time.
Skinner composed his tune to be played on the fiddle, pipes or piano, but above it is played on guitar by Tony Cuffe.
To hear the tune played by a group from Ullapool High School, and by Tony Shearer on harmonica, and to see the sheet music, go to HERE.
MRS MACLEOD OF RAASAY
This is one of the best known Scottish reel tunes. It has different names in different countries. We call it ‘Mrs MacLeod Of Raasay’, in the USA it is ‘Hop High Ladies’.
We do not know anything about Mrs MacLeod, but it was the fashion for composers to name new tunes, or rename old tunes, after important people they wanted to compliment.
This reel seems to be based on the old pipe march and song ‘The Campbells Are Coming’. ‘Mrs MacLeod’ was published in fiddler Niel Gow's Fifth Collection, 1809. Gow said he had the tune from a Mr. McLeod of Raasay who described it as ‘an original Isle of Skye reel’, so maybe it was named for Mr McLeod's wife?
Above the tune is played by Heather Yule on harp.
To learn more, and hear the tune played on various other instruments, go to HERE.
We need illustrations for our tunes here.
Will you make a picture for us and send it to us please?