Companion pages for my book, Gestures.

Burns March

This information comes from my Tutor Book pages about Burns March. In the tutor book, Progressive Lessons, I explain much more about the structure of this tune and how it is played.

Our source for these versions is the Bunting manuscripts. Performances of the music by the harpers Denis O'Hampsey and Patrick Quin were transcribed into field notebooks by Edward Bunting.

Burns March was described by the 18th century harpers as “the second tune taught the pupil, with a bass first time introduced by the learner” (Edward Bunting, ms 12 f33r); we are also told that “This is one of the Progressive Lessons and is also the fourth tune generally learnt” (Bunting ms33(3), f10v, Denis O’Hampsey's set). And it is also labelled as the “3rd tune” (Bunting, ms 33(1), Patrick Quin’s set). As well as Edward Bunting’s field notations from the Irish harpers Quin and O’Hampsey, there are two late 18th century Scottish sources for this tune: “Thug Bonny Peggie dhamhsa Pog - Bonny Peggie kiss’d me” in Daniel Dow’s Collection, 1776, and no. 141 in Patrick MacDonald’s Collection, 1784.

Click here for a facsimile of the notation which is the source for my examples in the Gestures book: Bunting ms29 p.31 (f15r), at Queens University Belfast. The facing page previous in the manuscript, Bunting ms29 p.30 (f14v), has the first rough notation taken down ‘live’ from Denis O’Hampsey's playing.

Video demonstration

Below is Denis O’Hampsey’s set played on a copy of his harp (HHSI Student Downhill made by David Kortier in 2006).