Two Ancient Scottish Airs

Two Ancient Scottish Airs




A composition for flute and cello, based on two traditional melodies attested in A Collection of Highland Vocal Airs by P. McDonald, 1784,where they are titled simply "An Ancient Air" and "A very Ancient Air."

This audio file was created with software as a demo and mastered with SoundCloud mastering.  Same file with score display available at YouTube Two Ancient Scottish Airs and Soundcloud Two Ancient Scottish Airs.  Score display with non-mastered audio file is available at MuseScore Two Ancient Scottish Airs.

Comments welcom.


Copyright 2022 by Jon Corelis

Please note that while this composition is based on traditional melodies in the public domain, my adaptation is an original creative work under copyright. For performance permission, please see my permissions page.

Image:Loch Etive, Argyllshire Painting by Henry H. Parker

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  • Hi Jon,

    Clarity is noteworthy...  Beautiful.  

    You look like gold miners a bit.  Searching precious things...



    • Thanks for the positive comment.  This was one of those pieces that almost seemed to write itself, which usually means that it's going to be good.

      As you imply, I do a lot of searching around in old music books to find pieces I can base my own contemporary interpretation on.   This has been a source of frustration and irritation to me, since many calls for scores (which are the only way I currently have of getting my works performed) sniffily specify "No Arrangements," as if all adaptations of previously recorded melodies could only be amateurish pop pieces like "Great Hollywood Movie Themes" or "Beatles Fab Favorites."  But in much of my composition I'm working with a tradition as old as classical music itself, the incorporation of folk themes into contemporary serious music, as was done by, to name a few, Haydn, Bartok, Aaron Copland, Chopin, Dvorak, Liszt, and many others.  The people who run calls for scores seem ingnorant of this tradition.  Or maybe they are just glad to have some excuse, any excuse, for rejecting as many as possible of the huge number of submissions such calls typically get.

      The book from which I took the melodies in this piece, available in Google Books, is a particularly interesting one.  Since it was published in 1784, we can assume that any melody it calls "Ancient" is very old indeed.  The titles of many of the airs given by McDonald are often more interesting than "An Ancient Air," though often rather grim.  Some of them, for example, are, Wet Is This Night And Cold, My Cheeks Are Furrowed, This Casts A Gloom Upon My Soul, Mournful Am I, and Many Are The Cries and Shrieks Of Woe.   Apparently the temperament of the natives of those Northern climates is not characterized by a sense of Mediterranean gaiety.

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