Music,  My Tunes

Duncan’s Boots

This reel was written in the summer of 1997 after a memorable time at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye during the fiddle and step dance week.



Unlike some other summer schools the final student showcase was less about showing off what you had learned and more about entertaining everybody with whatever performance you could muster.


One of the few photos I have from that time, with Sara Reith and Duncan Scott.

One particularly memorable display was a demonstration by Duncan Scott showing how a potato could be attached to the end of the fiddle bow to assist with that ‘driven bow’ sound. Step dancing was provided by either Sara Reith or Mia Scott (it is a little hazy) whilst wearing Duncan’s very large ‘clod-hopper’ type boots which were many sizes too big and provided extra comedy value.



I use the excellent, open-source software MuseScore for final score engraving. You can upload your tunes to musescore.com and then embed the score in your own site.

Duncan’s Boots – Stephen P McNally by bagpie

Below is the tune in ABC Notation. ABC is a great way to share simple, single staff notation and is popular amongst traditional musicians. You can learn about ABC notation here and I recommend EasyABC to convert the tunes into standard notation, for editing and playback (although a fully working version isn’t yet available for macOS Catalina or later).

X:9
T:Duncan’s Boots
M:4/4
L:1/8
Q:2/4=95
C:© 1997 Stephen P McNally
K:D
|: dffg fedf | Bdfe dA A/B/A | dffg feda | edef eABd |
gffg fedf | Bdfe dA A/B/A | Bdaf edef | geBc d4 :||
|: afdc dafd | Bdfe dA A/B/A | afdc dafd | edef egfg |
afdc dafd | Bdfe dA A/B/A | Bdaf edef | geBc d4 :||
|: df f/e/f dfgf | Bdfe dA A/B/A | df f/e/f dfaf | edef gB B/A/B |
df f/e/f dfgf | Bdfe dA A/B/A | Bdaf edef | geBc d4 :||
|: af f/e/f dcBA | Bdfe dA A/B/A | af f/e/f ABdf | edef gB B/A/B |
af f/e/f dcBA | Bdfe dA A/B/A | Bdaf edef | geBc d4:||

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