Archie Menzies

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X:1 T:Archie Menzies Reel M:C| L:1/8 S:From a transcription by Carmelle Bégin of the playing of fiddler Dawson Girdwood. K:D A,2|:D2 (A,D) FDA,D|FABc dAFD|{E/F/}E2 (B,E) GEB,E|GABc dBAF| D2 (A,D) FDA,D|FABc dAFD|G2 (EG) (FE)(DE/F/)|1 EDCE D2 (A,B,/C/):|2 EDCE D2 (3ABc|| |:d2 (A>d) f>DA>d|f>de>c d>AFA|e2 (Be) geBe|gefd e(dc>A)| d2 (A>d) fdAd|fdec dA FD|G>FE>G F>E (3DEF|1 (3EED C>E D2 (3ABc:|2 E>DC>E D2 (A,B,C||



ARCHIE MENZIE'S REEL. AKA and see "Bells of St. Louis (1) (The)." Scottish, Canadian, New England; Reel. Canada; Ontario, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island. F Major (Brody, Cranford, Hunter, Martin & Hughes, Perlman, Phillips, Welling): D Major (Bégin, Bohrer/Kibler). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Hunter): AABB (most versions). Composed by Scottish musician and dancing master John Lowe, father of the Joseph Lowe who published a collection in 1840, who also wrote the classic tune “Rachel Rae.” Menzies was originally a Norman name, introduced into Scotland in the half-century after the conquest of England by William the Conqueror; it is pronounced in Scotland ‘Minghees’. Lowe may have composed his tune in honor of Archibald Menzies (1754–1842), a Perthshire doctor/surgeon who gained fame as the naturalist attached to a Royal Navy expedition to explore the west coast of America. More likely, the title honors Archibald Menzies, born in Dull, Perthshire, about 1806. Menzies earned a reputation as one of the best strathspey and reel players of his day, taking many prizes at competitions. He played at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, for several years until his death in that city in the year 1856 [George Robertson].

A later Archie Menzies, also a fiddler but born in 1846, would have been too young to have been the subject of Lowe's composition. This latter Archibald eventually became first conductor of the Highland Reel and Strathspey Society in 1889. See his composition “Miller of Camserney (The)" for more.

The reel is a very popular tune among Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, fiddlers and has been frequently recorded. Perlman (1996) notes that Prince Edward Island fiddlers often play the ‘b’ flat notes almost natural at several points in the tune. See also the Québec version called “Rêve du Quêteux Tremblay.”

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - the Graham Townsend (d. 1999, Ontario, Canada) [Brody]; Dawson Girdwood (Perth, Ontario) [Begin]; Winston Scotty Fitzgerald (Cape Breton) [Phillips]; unnamed Canadian fiddler [Bohrer/Kibler]; Francis MacDonald (b. 1940, Morell Rear, North-East Kings County, Prince Edward Island) [Perlman].

Printed sources : - Bégin (Fiddle Music in the Ottawa Valley: Dawson Girdwood), 1985; No. 14, p. 27 (appears as “Archie Menzies Hornpipe”). Bohrer (Vic Kibler: Adirondack Fiddler), 1992; No. 11, p. 11. Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 24. Cranford (Jerry Holland's Collection of Fiddle Tunes), 1995; No. 147, p. 42. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 259. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 116. Phillips (Fiddle Case Tunebook: British Isles), 1989; p. 9. Welling (Welling's Hartford Tune Book), 1976; p. 17.

Recorded sources: -Avoca 139, Sean Maguire – "Music of Ireland." Breton Books and Records BOC 1HO, Winston “Scotty” Fitzgerald – “Classic Cuts” (reissue of Celtic Records CX17). Canadian Broadcasting Corp. NMAS 1972, Natalie MacMaster – "Fit as a Fiddle" (1993). Celestial Entertainment CECS001, Brenda Stubbert (Cape Breton) – “In Jig Time!” (1995). Celtic 17, "Winston Scotty Fitzgerald." Rounder 7002, Graham Townsend – "Le Violin/ The Fiddle." Rounder 7004, Joseph Cormier – "The Dances Down Home" (1977).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [2]



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