Aonghas Grant, with Barbara McOwen,
Laura Risk & Peggy Duesenberry,
The Glengarry Collection:
The Highland Fiddle Music of Aonghas Grant, Vol. 1

(Mel Bay, 2010)

This is about as good as a music collection can get.

The Glengarry Collection celebrates the music of Aonghas Grant, a modern marvel of Scottish music. The book contains 164 slow airs, marches, strathspeys, reels, jigs and hornpipes, most of which were composed by, arranged by or written for Grant. There are also stories about Grant, a history of the music and photographs to enliven the text, plus a DVD so you can watch and hear the man himself in action.

Besides a biographical section on Grant, the book also includes a brief but complete section on Highland techniques, from bowing and fingering techniques to set arrangements and tempos. This section will make it much easier for fiddlers to adapt their playing to suit this uniquely Scottish style.

The tunes themselves are written in a clear, easy to sight-read manner, along with guitar chords for easy accompaniment. And what a treasure trove of music it is; anyone interested in performing Scottish tunes will find a wealth of solid material here. Even after paging through casually for the first time, I had plenty of titles I wanted to try.

Equally important is the presentation and, unlike many modern music collections, The Glengarry Collection is built to last. Nearly three dozen small, sturdy rings hold the book together and make it easy to keep it open on a music stand. The pages and cover are high-quality, not likely to tear with careful handling. With books this durable and convenient on the market, one wonders why anyone (including Mel Bay) publishes anything of a lesser quality.

I look forward to many hours of fiddling pleasure with this one. Well done, all around!

book review by
Tom Knapp

15 January 2011

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new