Fun Flute: The Duke of Gordon’s Birthday

This term the Improvers group are looking a couple of strathspeys and a reel. The first is The Duke of Gordon’s Birthday, written by William Marshall.

In the key of G major, it sits nicely on the wooden flute and brings out some key resonances of the instrument.

The original version goes down to the low G string on the fiddle, but our adaptation can be happily played alongside it.

Casey’s Pig is a Donegal version of this tune that omits the “Scotch snaps” and is played much more evenly.

We’ll be playing The Duke of Gordon’s Birthday in a set with The Ale is Dear, a traditional Scottish reel that was recorded as both a strathspey and a reel by the all-female Edinburgh band Sprangeen in the 1980s. Their line-up included flute player Ann Ward, one of only a handful of flute players playing Scottish music at that time. We’ll be playing both forms of the tune.

Resources for the tunes can be found on the Fun Flute page at The Flow.

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