Discussion Hots Up

We’re gratified to find that our observations about these fiddle collections are attracting interest!

Sometimes little tiny discoveries come like a ray of sunshine into the routine entering of data into our mega-spreadsheet.  For example, today we found a new source of information that sheds light on the selling activities of our music vendors.  Andrew Rochead, who reissued Robert Petrie’s first Collection of Strathspey Reels and Country Dances, also made and sold square pianos – there are two examples in the University of Edinburgh’s Musical Instrument Museums. There’s a useful database to take note of!

But it gets better.  In 1808, Niel Gow edited and reissued Petrie’s Second Collection.  Muir Wood reissued Petrie’s Third Collection the same year. And Rochead reissued the first collection circa 1809, according to the University of Glasgow’s Special Collections cataloguers.  Or was it? What’s the betting it was 1808, prompting Gow and Rochead to rush forth and get their share of what was obviously hot property?

Ronnie Gibson, doctoral researcher at the University of Aberdeen, tells us that, “Nath Gow judged him the best at competition in 1822 held in conjunction with George IV’s visit to Scotland, so he must’ve been at least ok!”

Petrie lived 1767-1830, so he was in his mid-forties at that competition.  Thankfully musicians remain at the top of their professions for longer than sportspeople!

The question was raised about copyright – had the copyright expired? Well … no, it hadn’t.  Existing legislation provided for 14 years after publication, or 28 if the author was still alive after 14.  So – let’s do our calculations!

  • Book 1 – 1790-1804; Petrie lived on so he got another 14 years copyright
  • Book 2 – 1795-1809; Petrie’s still alive so …
  • Book 3 – 1800-1814; Petrie’s barely 40
  • Book 4 – 1805-1819; Petrie’s still around – and has that competition to play in yet!

One wonders what Petrie got out of these reprinted publications. Here’s hoping he got something.

2 thoughts on “Discussion Hots Up

  1. Robert Petrie was an ancestor of mine. The fiddle playing carried on after his death. My grand father George Petrie was a keen fiddler briefly taught by Scott Skinner. Do you have any information on where I could see any existing copies of his collections?

    • Certainly! There are copies in:-
      Dundee Central Library, shelf no 10509
      Edinburgh National Library of Scotland shelf no Glen 295 (books 1-4)
      Glasgow University library Sp Coll Ca.11-y.23 (reprint by Rochead (WM 1809) of original 1790-1 edition, “Printed and sold by Andw. Rochead & Son, [1809?] “)
      And the A K Bell Library in Perth shelf no Be1 (books 1-3) Book 1 is 1801 reprint.

      Our project will be uploading digitized copies later this year. Please do keep in touch – it’s so exciting to find living descendants of weel-kennt Scottish fiddling names!

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