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Issue 3080: Book 25

Book 25 (Publication)
Sarah Ferguson (s6fergus)
Assigned to
Murrough Landon
Being handled

Good Morning,

Please see my notes below. This is my first time “adopting” a book, so I’m not sure if this is too nitpicky. Please let me know.

  1. “The Deacon of the Weavers” is actually “Deacon of the Weavers”
  2. “Lady of the Lake” is actually “The Lady of the Lake (or The Water Kelpie)”
  3. “The Three Bonnie Maidens” is actually “Three Bonnie Maidens (or The Graces)”
  4. I believe the following should be added to the notes section of the database: “The Society is indebted to Mrs Jenny MacLachlan for several dances included in this collection.”
  5. The tune “Parody of Drumnagarny” lists the composer as “Skye Collection”
  6. the tune “Miss Macpherson of Giliston” is listed in the book as “Miss Macpherson of Giliston.”
  7. The tune “Master Reginald MacDonald” Keith Norman MacDonald as the composer, but my reference indicates it was composed by “R. MacDonald (Skye)”
  8. The tune Miss Dumbreck is credited to Neil Gow in the database but is uncredited in my book.

All corrections listed above are based on my personal Book 25 which I believe is a later edition.

I will continue with the other tasks listed on the adopting publications information page at a later date. Please let me know if you have any questions,

Sarah Ferguson

Previous Actions

  • Date  March 13, 2023, 4:47 p.m.
  • User  Sarah Ferguson (s6fergus)

New issue submitted

  • Date  March 14, 2023, 12:54 a.m.
  • User  Murrough Landon (murrough)

Assigned changed to »murrough« (previously »None«)
Disposition changed to »Being handled« (previously »New«)

Many thanks for checking all this and taking the time to submit an issue!

We certainly do like to know if anything is wrong including whether dances have “The” or not in their title. I remember worrying if I was being too picky when I first submitted an issue but Eric Ferguson told me he loved nitpickers!

However I did check the editions of Book 25 I have (and old one from 1970 I inherited, the e-cribs team scan probably of the revised edition) and what I found did not always match your comments. It looks like some of these are all too common examples of a book using two different forms of the title in different places.

(1) The Deacon of the Weavers. The old copy I have does have just “Deacon of the Weavers” in the table of contents, but has “The” on the page with the dance instructions in both versions I found. It is also “The…” in the notes to the 2013 electronic version of the RSCDS manual. Our policy in case of such conflicts is usually to go with the version on the dance page rather than the index. So I propose to keep “The” on that one.

(2) Also the same three sources all have “Lady of the Lake” without “The” on the dance page, though again the table of contents of the 1970 edition does start with “The” as you say. Its also just “Lady…” in the notes to the 2013 manual. So again we would stick with whats on the dance page. The database has the concept of alias names for dances which can be “official”, “unofficial” (ie popular nickname) or spelling or translations. These appear as “Also known as …” on the main web page for the dance. Currently this dance has an official alias “The Water Kelpie” so I think thats the conventional way it should all be entered in SCDDB.

(3) Also here there is an official alias “The Three Graces” for this dance which is how we would interpret the “or …” phrase in the title.

(4) Yes! I have added that as extra info for the publication record.

(5) The database has a “composer” field for tunes and tunes can also be included in publications. Here I think Skye Collection is the publication rather than the composer. I found some online lists of tunes in a Skye Collection but didnt spot Parody of Drumnagarry in those lists. This can sometimes be because may be known with many different names and spellings of those names. For the moment I just added an extra note on the tune and left the composer as traditional.

(6) I didnt see any difference in spelling in what you wrote here. As far as I can see the database has the same “Miss Macpherson of Giliston” spelling as in the book.

(7) My 1970 edition also gives “R. MacDonald (Skye)” for the tune “Master Reginal MacDonald”. However we usually try to double check against the two tune databases you will find links for on the web page for the tune. Searching them they have either K N MacDonald or Keith Norman MacDonald. It looks as though some SCDDB editor has decided to trust the tune websites over the RSCDS Book 25. Those websites are probably reliable so I kept “Keith Norman” but added an extra info note for the tune.

(8) The tune finder has some references to this tune appearing in a Gow collection. That does not mean it was composed by Niel Gow but probably explains the attribution. None of the editors are really experts on tunes but the lack of attribution in the RSCDS Book does not necessarily mean it was not by Gow. For the moment I left it as it is.

  • Date  March 14, 2023, 1:24 a.m.
  • User  Anselm Lingnau (anselm)

FWIW, the names of the RSCDS dances have been extensively proofread and what we have is correct according to the most up-to-date RSCDS books, which are generally the six-book A5 omnibus editions. This includes the capitalisation of the titles and the presence or absence of articles.

The Skye Collection is one of the larger and more well-known 19th-century collections of Scottish dance music. Compiled by Keith Norman MacDonald, it first came out in 1887 but is today widely available in facsimile. I have a copy sitting on the desk in front of me right now. It has “Master Reginald MacDonald” and attributes it to “K. N. MacDonald”, which is presumably Keith Norman (the editor of the book). The Traditional Tune Archive (at tunearch.org) corroborates this and says “Composed by the Skye Collection editor, Keith Norman MacDonald, and named for his eldest son”.

My copy of the Skye Collection does not seem to contain a tune called “Parody of Drumnagarry”. It does contain, however, a tune called “Drumnagarry”, which is basically a version of “Fisher’s Rant”, and the tune in Book 25 does resemble that tune. In that sense it might be considered a “parody” of the tune “Drumnagarry” as published in the Skye Collection.

Generally, the composer attributions in RSCDS books (especially older RSCDS books) are not very reliable. This is probably not only due to sloppy publication practices on the part of the Society but also to issues in their source material, since many of the older collections can be even less reliable (Kerr’s Collection, for example, is particularly terrible). In many cases, other sources offer better attributions and those are the ones we prefer for the database.

  • Date  March 14, 2023, 1:22 p.m.
  • User  Murrough Landon (murrough)

A subsequent thought, to ease searches for those using titles with “The” I added extra aliases for The Deacon of the Weavers and Lady of the Lake.

  • Date  March 14, 2023, 5:41 p.m.
  • User  Eric Ferguson (EricFerguson)

Do we need to make aliases for an initial “The”, “A”, or “An” in dance and tune names? I vaguely remember that searches find them both. The leading article should be omitted in the search text, I believe.

  • Date  March 14, 2023, 7:46 p.m.
  • User  Murrough Landon (murrough)

I thought I had once had a problem with searches in this case, but I may be wrong.

It did seem like a good idea to at least add notes about these small discrepancies in names between different pages of the original book.

  • Date  March 16, 2023, 5:36 p.m.
  • User  Anselm Lingnau (anselm)

I’m not keen on the idea of “article aliases” at all. The general advice has always been to omit leading articles from searches when in doubt. Future versions of the software will be more tolerant about articles during search.