The Highland Brigade At Magersfontein waltz

By John McLellan

There are 5 recordings of this tune.

The Highland Brigade At Magersfontein has been added to 15 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: The Highland Brigade At Magersfontein
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
e3/2c/A2Bc|eca3/2g/f2|f3/4g/4a3/4f/4 e3/2f/cA|B3/2c/ A2A2:|
d3/4c/4B3/4c/4A2Bc|eca3/2g/f2|f3/4g/4a3/4f/4 e3/2f/cA|B3/2c/ A2A2:|
X: 2
T: The Highland Brigade At Magersfontein
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
e3/2c/A2Bc|ec a3/2g/f2|ga e3/2d/ cA|B3/2c/ A2A2:|
d3/4c/4B3/4c/4A2Bc|ec a3/2g/f2|ga e>d cA|B3/2c/ A2A2:|

Six comments

3/4 Retreat.

This tune (a 3/4 retreat, not a waltz, of course) is by Pipe Major John McLellan (1875-1949) of Dunoon, who composed some well known tunes including “The Road to the Isles”. It commemorates the Highland Brigade’s part in the battle of Magersfontein during the second Boer War. They were on the losing side and suffered heavy casualties.
Although this is a pipe tune with British military connections, I learned it from the playing of Tom McDermott of Fairlie, Ayrshire during sessions in that part of the world. Tom plays English concertina and he paired this tune with another 3/4 retreat by PM McLellan, “Lochanside” (a tune that Andy “where’s yer troosers” Stewart used for the song “By the Lochside”). That tune is also in the database here:

Tom played the tune in A major and evened out the quavers a wee bit. His version was more like this:

T:The Highland Brigade at Magersfontein
C: Pipe Major John McLellan
|:A3/2B/2 c2ce|a3/2g/2 f2e2|e3/2c/2 A2Ac|
e3/2f/2 c2B2|e3/2c/2 A2Bc|ec a3/2g/2 f2|
ga e3/2d/2 cA|B3/2c/2 A2A2:|
|:c3/2d/2 e2ea|fa e2c/2A3/2|c3/2d/2 e2ea|
f/2g/2a/2f/2 e2ec|d/2c/2B/2c/2 A2Bc|
ec a3/2g/2 f2|ga e3/2d/2 cA|B3/2c/2 A2A2:|

There is information on the composer here:

Thanks for that :~)

Re: The Highland Brigade At Magersfontein

Outstanding version of this great tune here by “Canterach”. If you only ever learn one Scottish tune, learn this :

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Re: The Highland Brigade At Magersfontein

Sorry McLellan, not MacLellan.

He wrote several other great tunes including The Taking Of Beaumont Hamel which has had a resurgence in recent years.

Re: The Highland Brigade At Magersfontein

That’s identical to what is given in Dale Brown’s book “the bagpipe music of John McLellan 1875-1949”, apart from the second bar in the second part where Dale has |f3/4g/4a3/4f/4 e2cA|, although I prefer to play it as you have, Richard, apart from snapping from the c to the low A: |fa e2 c/4A3/4|. I also tend to go for Weejie’s variation at the start of the seventh bar of each part.

He wrote some great tunes, did the DCM holder (for gallantry on the field at Magersfontein) from Dunoon.