Traditions of music making in the Glenkens, Galloway
Miller, Josephine L.
This thesis is an account of music making practices amongst the people of the Glenkens, Galloway. Chapter one gives a chronological account of the geog~aphical and historical development of the Glenkens, and includes discussion of the sources of information on local musical traditions before the early twentieth century. Chapter two covers the period of 1900-1950, and uses the words of local people to explore the instruments, repertories, venues, performance style and combinations of musicians at that time. Special attention is given to discussing contrasts and similarities in the music making of the two main population groups - the shepherds and the villagers. In chapter three I look in more depth at the role of Robbie Murray, one of the shepherd. fiddlers active in the first half of the century. His repertory of dance tunes and airs, and some aspects of his style of playing are examined with the aid of musical transcriptions. Rhythm and bowing, "chording" and the use of neutral tones are discussed with reference to another local fiddler, and contrasted with the style of the "tutored" Scots fiddler. The musical activities of the community from 1950 to the present day are explored in chapter four: details are given of the personnel, repertories and performance practice of groups such as country dancing clubs, choirs, guitar groups, socials and a "classical" music club. The conclusion of this chapter points to the connection between demographic changes in the Glenkens and music making. Chapter five concerns Tommy Edgar, an active local performer from 1948 to the present day. He comments on his role as a musician in the community, and his repertory, which includes a wide range of styles; Scottish, popular, jazz, country and western. A discussion of Tommy 1 s accordion playing looks at his use of harmony and rhythm, and how this has evolved. A final chapter raises questions relating to the role of the schools in Glenkens music making - what have they contributed in the past? Should they have a role in local musical activities? What musical experiences do they offer children at the present time? I argue that a primary need of musicians is to be able to participate with others, and conclude by suggesting that the choice of music taught formally in local schools has implications for the future of music making in the Glenkens.