Nineteenth-Century Scottish Fiddle Competitions

Ronnie Miller Gibson

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paper


The emergence of regular and instituted fiddle competitions in mid nineteenth-century Scotland arguably marks a new yet previously unrecognised period in the history of Scottish fiddle music. While there are records of competitions taking place earlier, they were redefined in the 1850s, reflecting ideas about national music and receiving many column inches in the popular press. Furthermore, they established a nationally significant public platform for the performance of dance music away from the dance hall, thus elevating the status of the music from functional to aesthetic. This paper will give a brief history of fiddle competitions in Scotland, before going on to explore the motivations for holding them and their impact on the performance and understanding of fiddle music. Based primarily on accounts reported in nineteenth-century newspaper articles, it will argue that, contrary to the description of the mid-nineteenth century as waning years in the history of Scottish fiddle music, these very years witnessed its reinvention, the results of which are still felt today.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Apr 2014
EventMusica Scotica Ninth Annual Conference - University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Apr 201427 Apr 2014


ConferenceMusica Scotica Ninth Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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