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The Scottish Music Maker
Many years ago I discovered a book in the Music Room in Edinburgh's Central Library called "The Scottish Music Maker". Published in 1957, it was compiled by J Murdoch Henderson and consists of 84 tunes composed by James Scott Skinner, arranged in sets and hand-written by Henderson himself (although the originals would have been reproduced for printing). Back then I scanned the whole book and got it bound so I could have my own copy; not an easy job, because the pages are larger than A4.

Earlier this year I was trawling through charity shops and found an original copy of the book for £2.50. I couldn't believe it, and I knew it was a rare find because in all my years of looking through junk shops for music, I've NEVER seen another copy. I tried to stay calm, handed over my money and left the shop before anyone could say it was a mistake.

I mentioned the book to Jack Campin in the pub the other night, and he asked for a copy. Since I now have an original, I've clipped the wire binding on my copied version and scanned it. Those of you wishing a copy can download it from

The Scottish Music Maker

Let me know what you think.
What a great resource, Nigel. Thanks so much for making it available. Going for a quiet browse now!
Strange collection in some ways. Henderson's script is brilliantly clear if you read it close up on a desk but it isn't designed for a music stand with fiddle in hand. And he spends most of the intro saying how he's dumbed the tunes down. You can see why nobody took a chance on a large print run or a reprint.

But a lot of thought went into it. Well worth playing through.
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The original is 12.5 inches high (32cm), so it is much clearer. My scan ain't perfect, but hopefully it's better than nothing.

I was interested to see that tune No.39, "Our Highland Queen" has been changed from 4/4 in Harp & Claymore to 6/8 in this book.
Thanks for this, Nigel. I can see how I'm going to spend time over Christmas. But quite a challenge and perhaps not 100% suitable for a whistle!
Having looked though the pages there are several pieces I would love to hear. 
My challenge will be to try to change to dots into tabs for the mandolin, as Alison said something for over the Christmas period.

Alcluith Sad
If there are specific pieces, Alcluith, ask me, because I'll have already transcribed some of them.

The two in particular are INVERURIE and Mrs McHardy both have memories for us of our time living in Aberdeenshire and we were friends with a couple John and Margaret MacHardy, who lived at the cottage right beside the Bullers of Buchan. When we were coming back down to Glasgow Margaret wrote a little poem for us and I still have it. So maybe learning Mrs MacHardy would be a novel way of repaying them.


I might ABC-ify it - it's really not fun to read at A4 size.

Nigel, is that what you're using?

I think ABC is usable as a starting point for creating tabs, for them as likes that sort of thing?
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Sounds like a good idea, Jack. I have discovered that I can import into ABC into MuseScore using a plug-in that is provided, and from this get a standard notation score and a pdf file, and a midi or MP3 to listen to the tune. I have found I am using ABC much less since going to MuseScore, but there are so many ABC resources available out there that it is a very viable tool.

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