Scottish folk music History

August 22, 2017
Scottish Folk Music

SkinnerMuch of what exactly is published regarding history of Scottish conventional music is definitely drawn from previous works, with little to no checking of information or main resources. This way, mistakes and misunderstandings become compounded and fables perpetuated. Aided by the arrival of digital writing and editing the slice and paste facility it has become more of a concern so we needs to be really cautious with obtained wisdom.

This came house to me recently when I desired to analyze the musician credited with leading James Scott Skinner into the world of classical violin strategy.

Based on Skinner himself, authoring his musical apprenticeship as youth with Dr Mark and his Little Men in Manchester from 1855 to 1861:

Today, had We remained because of the forty guys on trip, More Than Likely I'd not have gained fame as a violinist or be referred to as “Strathspey King”. Right before my go back to Manchester [having been sent back here from Luton in disgrace after battling with an other son musician], Rougier, a French violinist from the Paris Conservatoire (and an associate of Charles Hallé’s Manchester Band) [Hallé ran “Gentlemen’s” alongside shows in city from 1850 and Orchestral Concerts from 1857], joined the staff, and I also was in luck’s method in finding myself under his tuition. I unhesitatingly ascribe all the success that is mine towards skillful training I got from Rougier… Rougier, i believe, took instead kindly to me… and right away commenced to teach myself the idea of music, and after several months constant work and skillful tuition, I happened to be passed away out to rejoin the “Little Men”. [James Scott Skinner My Life and Adventures (Aberdeen, 1994) pp. 13-14.

Dr Mark taught the males to relax and play from memory – which will be exactly how James had learned to play to begin with. That they had lessons each day and again into the afternoon. Every afternoon and evening, they performed in concerts. Dr Mark was a liberal master – he gave the kids an hour’s play in the morning and once again in afternoon, another time for supper and an hour for tea. He believed that a musical training encouraged a happy family life. Dr Mark received no community money to give you the males. He reckoned that in a decade he had spent £30, 000 – a big amount by today’s standards. He had been dedicated to the best of setting-up a national songs school for skilled kiddies.

James, referred to as ‘Jamie’ or ‘the kilted boy’, had not been always delighted and at one point ended up being sent house from a tour for battling. Musically, it was probably the best thing that may have taken place to him. Back Manchester, Charles Rougier, a French violinist whom enjoyed the brand new Hallé Orchestra, provided him violin classes. Rougier noticed that James could not read music, therefore start rectifying this. Rougier’s training had been so good that in later years, James credited him for his success as a composer and performer.


Because of the 1870s, Skinner was giving concerts throughout the North-east of Scotland. The programmes usually included a few of his very own compositions and virtuoso violin solos by these types of composers as Paganini, or his old instructor, Charles Rougier.

Mary Anne Alburger [Scottish Fiddlers and their particular songs (London, 1983), p. 178-9] reproduced [from the Miller o’ Hirn collection?] the programme for a show by Skinner given at Peterhead in 1879 that concluded with all the violin solo “Keel Row” by C. Rougier and records:

It is touching that 20 years after he left “The minimal Men” he decided on as your final solo “The Keel Row” in an arrangement by their old instructor, M. Rougier.

while quoting Skinner’s terms:

The author is indebted to both French and German Schools, and remembers with gratitude their many years of pleasant travel with Dr. Mark, additionally the solid classes he got from Rougier in Manchester forty years back. [James Scott Skinner A Guide to Bowing (Edinburgh, 1984) p. 27].

She also reveals a much more formal music education ended up being offered to Dr Mark’s pupils:

If not on the way, these were situated in Manchester, and took classes at Royal university of Music, recently formed by Charles Halle. It absolutely was here that Skinner received their music education, primarily from Charles Rougier, a French violinist aided by the Hallé Orchestra, who'd examined at the Paris Conservatoire. [p. 175]

…it was during this period that Skinner consolidated his violinistic and theoretical abilities under the guidance of Charles Rougier. [J. Scott Skinner: The Strathspey King (Topic Records 12T280) Liner records.

1858. S. S. was at this juvenile orchestra when it offered its command performance before Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace from the 10th of February, 1858. Thankfully he found Charles Rougier in Manchester, and also to that famous French violinist’s schooling in Kreutzer studies, etc., he attributed a lot of his future success.

Whilst the show occured after Skinner’s first ending up in their master we could say that, during these scientific studies he was between the centuries of 13 and fifteen years.

After a brief education in Aberdeen, Skinner left the Northeast to visit the uk playing the ‘cello with Dr Mark’s minimal Men, a latter-day man musical organization composed of around forty juvenile boys playing in an orchestra. When not traveling the kids had been situated in Manchester therefore the Little guys went to the Royal College of musical. It absolutely was during this period that Skinner discovered to read through music and received their ancient instruction from Charles Rougier, a French violinist that has examined within Paris Conservatoire. It had been this training that permitted Skinner to execute pieces by composers such Paganini and Mozart alongside their own “traditional” pieces and in addition create technically hard pieces such ‘The President’. Skinner felt that these compositions put him above his contemporaries such as Marshall and Neil Gow.

This might were obtained from Mary Anne Alburger [Scottish Fiddlers, p. 174] which quotes an 1860 prospectus for Dr. Mark’s ensemble that identifies “Mister James Skinner, from Aberdeen, Highlands, 11 many years of age” as a cellist. I recommend it linked to Skinner’s very first period because of the troupe due to the fact programme when it comes to 1858 Buckingham Palace concert records him as “Jamie Skinner, Violin”.

The impact and significance of Charles Rougier is obviously essential, not only to Skinner additionally to historians and scholars of Scottish songs. He's obviously become an essential part of story on Scottish old-fashioned songs along with his stature is growing. For-instance, The lining notes the re-release of Skinner’s gramophone files by Temple registers notes the Scot “…went on to study with Charles Rougier, a renowned French violinist” while J. Murray Neil speaks of Rougier as “one of Europe’s most celebrated violinists” [The Scots Fiddle, Volume 1 (Glasgow, 1999) p. 103.]

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