Salute to Donald

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Salute to Donald is known from only one source, Colin Campbell's Instrumental Book Vol. 2, being unknown until that manuscript was discovered. There are settings in the Piobaireachd Society Collection (Book 8) and the Kilberry Book. The latter has the piece in 4/4 time and make several modifications. Kilberry changes the second group of echo beats on E to match the second line, but more importantly moves the line, and hence phrase endings. This has the effect of making the echo beats into answering phrases that must be elongated to match the preceding calling phrases giving the tune an altogether different flavour from what is suggested by the source.

This tune illustrates some of the difficulty in transcribing from canntaireachd. Neither the durations of the notes nor, importantly, the locations of the pulses or phrase boundaries are indicated. In some tunes, the manuscript does indeed use markings to indicate phrasing, but not for this one. Supposing that what is written in the manuscript is not erroneous, and there is no good reason to think that it should be, it does not seem possible to fit this tune into a regular, square pattern. The result of putting this on the staff is shown at right.

The first line in particular seems to consist of an introductory phrase, hodin hiodro, hiodin followed by an excursion with a longer, compound phrase, cherede cherede, hadili heeha, cherede cherede closing with a short phrase mirroring the first, have hoe, hiodin. This is a symmetric construction, and quite effective, but also quite impossible to fit into simple call and response pattern, or an even number of phrases of the same length.

The entire ground could be understood as a toasting song, perhaps for Donald's anniversary. The short phrases, hodin hiodro hiodin and have hoe hiodin a kind of refrain, "Failte Dhute Donail", "Good Health to you Donald". The longer phrases with E- and F-shakes are tributes to Donald's exploits, all of the wonderful things that he has done, built the road to the village, captured the goblins and so forth, each one answered by the refrain.

   hodin hiodro hiodin
   cherede cherede hadili heeha, cherede cherede
   have hoe hiodin
   cherede cherede hadili heeha, cherede chedili
   hodin hiodro hiodin
   herere herere hadili heeha, [herere herere hadili heeha], cherede chedili
   have hoe hiodin


William Waites26 May 2017

Primary Sources

 Part ofCreated NumberPageEnding page
Failte Dhute DonailColin Campbell's Instrumental Book Vol. 2179768152153