Towards a Period Performance of Scottish Fiddle Music

Ronnie Miller Gibson

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paper


While the violin had arrived in Scotland by the late seventeenth century, it is the period around the turn of the nineteenth century that has been described as a Golden Age of Scottish Fiddle Music (fiddle and violin being the same instrument). The forty years from 1780 to 1820 witnessed the publication of a prolific number of tune collections, and encompass the heights of the careers of the preeminent fiddler-composers, Niel Gow and William Marshall. However, while many of the tunes from this date are at the centre of present-day fiddlers’ repertoires, there has been no interest in how they were performed at the time. The assumption that traditional music existed in the past as it does in the present, and the valuing of a living tradition which looks forward rather than back, have shaped the performance and academic study of Scottish fiddle music. This paper will survey the surviving sources available to inform a period performance of 'Golden Age' Scottish fiddle music in addition to considering the implications and issues that arise.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2013
EventRoyal Musical Association Research Students' Conference (2013) - University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Jan 20135 Jan 2013


ConferenceRoyal Musical Association Research Students' Conference (2013)
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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