Scottish Airs


PIP 12-18  ISMN 9790900147424, published January 2019

Scottish Airs: Tunes from James Oswald’s The Caledonian Pocket Companion
Fitted for C and F Recorders, Flutes and Other Melody Instruments by Alison Melville.
Price $18 plus HST (in Canada) and shipping. Published in January 2019.

For any instrumentalist fan of traditional Scottish song melodies, the Caledonian Pocket Companion is a bountiful and invaluable source. First published for solo flute or violin in fifteen volumes between 1745 and about 1770, and re-appearing in many editions, the CPC contains a multitude of well known Scots song tunes, many with variations and appended jigs, and a number of dance tunes. Its creator and publisher was James Oswald (1711-1769), a celebrated Scottish composer, singer, dancer, music publisher, concert promoter, and music teacher whose early successes in Scotland multiplied when he moved to London in 1741. Though most of the CPC tunes are traditional, Oswald penned the variations, as well as some compositions of his own.

Scottish Airs was created to provide transposed versions of several excellent tunes for the use of recorder players, as well as for flutists, oboists and players of any melody instrument. Each tune is provided in at least two different keys, and most have been transposed from their original CPC tonality for the sake of variety and technical challenge. The first version of each tune is fitted for C recorders, and the second for F recorders. If there’s a third option, it could be for either (or both). For further key options, you can play the C recorder version on the alto, using C fingerings; or the F version on a C instrument, using F fingerings. Players of other instruments can just check the range of each version and choose the one which best suits you.

Playing these tunes has always been a delight for me, and not just because Scotland is in my genes. I hope it’ll be the same for you.   A.M.

A sample page: 11. Sour Plums G.mus

A tune to whet your appetite (My apron Dearie):


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