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Person Malcolm MacDonald 1486

Inver, Perthshire, UK
Areas of activity
  • Publisher of dance descriptions
  • Composer of tunes
Online Resources

This composer and musician was also known as Malcom M’Donald.

Scanned online versions of the four Collections of Strathspey Reels he published between 1788 and likely 1797 are available at Historical Music of Scotland (HMS).

See also The Malcolm McDonald Collection for a modern republication by Taigh na Teud.

Some bibliographical notes from the Biographical Sketches of Early Scottish Musicians and Musicsellers (by John Glen, from a foreword to The Glen Collection of Scottish Dance Music, Edinburgh, 1891) - here obtained from Tunearch.org:

Malcom M’Donald published four collections of Strathspey Reels, &c. The first of these, as its title-page indicates, was entirely made up of his own exclusive compositions; but the subsequent three contain a number of tunes which are unquestionably the productions of other musicians. Many of the tunes composed by, or attributed to M’Donald, are of that strange wild nature so characteristic of the compositions of Daniel Dow.

Of M’Donald’s personal history little or no authentic information can be obtained. The place of his birth is unknown. His second and subsequent collections, however, bear on them that, at the time of their appearance, he resided “at Dunkeld.” The present editor has been informed that his residence was at Inver, in the Parish of Little Dunkeld; and in the list of Subscribers to Niel Gow’s Second Collection, we find the entry “Mr. Malcolm Macdonald, Inver.”

In a footnote appended to M’Donald’s Reel “Lady Haddo,” in Part II of The Beauties of Niel Gow (a work published by Nathaniel Gow), we are informed that M’Donald played the violoncello to Niel after the death of the latter’s brother Donald Gow.

M’Donald is said to have died at Inver, but we can find no record of the date of his death. He is supposed, however, to have predeceased Niel Gow by a few years. The Parish Registers of the locality were burned or otherwise destroyed about the beginning of the present century, for the supposed purpose of preventing information being procured regarding the ages of persons required to join the Volunteers, Fencibles, or Militia of that period.

Collection of Strathspey Reels (by Malcolm MacDonald), A Malcolm MacDonald 1788
Fourth Collection of Strathspey Reels (by Malcolm MacDonald), A Malcolm MacDonald 1797
Malcolm McDonald Collection, The Malcolm MacDonald 1788
Second Collection of Strathspey Reels (by Malcolm MacDonald), A Malcolm MacDonald 1789
Third Collection of Strathspey Reels (by Malcolm MacDonald), A Malcolm MacDonald 1792