Joe MacLean was an influential Cape Breton fiddler who made many 78 and LP records. His only CD, Old Time Scottish Fiddle Music from Cape Breton Island was recorded in 1977 but wasn't released until the late '90s. By that time Joe had passed away and hence a few tunes were not identified in the liner notes. Contemporary Cape Breton fiddler Yvon Lefort recently noticed the above marching air and brought it to my attention. It would have been appropriate to include it in The Cape Breton Scottish Collection.

In Gow's original, the title was given as Lady Viscountess Duncan's Strathspey with playing instruction given as "Slowly". In the Athole the title was simplified to Viscountess Duncan and presented as a strathspey without playing instruction. Cape Breton fiddler Joe MacLean recorded it as a marching air which to a Cape Bretoner seems to suit the tune.

Early settings of many melodies didn't differentiate between tune types - presumably practitioners within the tradition would have recognized appropriate rhythm, swing and phrasing intuitively. Perhaps written differentiation between slow strathspey and marching air came after Gow's time, even though the forms might have already existed with in the aural tradition. Regardless, we know that in Cape Breton, by the early 20th century marching airs had become a popular form distinct from slow airs, marches or slow strathspeys (see The Cape Breton Collection, 1940).
i. Gow's 5th, 1808. ii. Athole Collection, 1884. iii. Joe MacLean, 1977.

Addenda - Tunes inadvertanly left out of, but thematically appropriate to The Cape Breton Scottish Collection will be added to future digital editions of that book.

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