St. Kilda Wedding reel

Also known as Glen Girvan, The Pickle Leech, Saint Kilda Wedding, Saint Kilda’s Wedding, St Kilda Wedding, The St Kilda Wedding, St Kilda’s Wedding, The St. Kilda Wedding, St. Kilda’s Wedding, St.Kilda Wedding.

There are 37 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with The Trip To Windsor (lots of times), The Linen Cap (a few times), The Bridge Of Bamore (a few times), Casey’s Pig (a few times) and The Duke Of Fife’s Welcome To Deeside (a few times).

St. Kilda Wedding has been added to 7 tune sets.

St. Kilda Wedding has been added to 246 tunebooks.

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Five settings

X: 1
T: St. Kilda Wedding
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
|:A2 Ac Acec|B2 cA F2 EF|A2 cB Acec|1 f2 fe fefa:|2 f2 fe fefg||
a2 ab aeea|fgag f2 ed|cefg agfa|ecac BdcB|
Aaag aeea|fgag f2 ed|cefg agfa|ecac BdcB||
X: 2
T: St. Kilda Wedding
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
G2GB GBdB|A2BG E2DE|G2BA GBdB|1 e2ed edeg:|2 e2ed edef|]
g2ga gddg|efgf e2dc|Bdef gfeg|dBgB A2BA|
Gggf gddg|efgf e2dc|Bdef gfeg|dBgB A2BA|]
X: 3
T: St. Kilda Wedding
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
A3B Afec|B/B/B cA F2EF|A3B Ace=g|[1f/f/f fg fefa:|[2f/f/f fg fefg|
agab ae e/e/e|fgag f/f/f ed|cefg agfa|ecac B/B/B AB|
eaag ae e/e/e|fgag f/f/f ed|cefg agfa|ecac B/B/B AB||
X: 4
T: St. Kilda Wedding
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
D/D/D D>D DFAF | E/E/E FD B,2 A,B, | D/D/D D>D DFAF | B/B/B BA BABd |
D/D/D D>D DFAF | E/E/E FD B,2 A,B, | D/D/D D>D DFAF | B/B/B dc BABc ||
dcde dAAd | Bcdc B2 AG | FABc d>c Bd | AdFd E2 DB, |
Dddc dAAd | Bcdc B2 AG | FABc d>c Bd | AFdF E2 DB, |]
X: 5
T: St. Kilda Wedding
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Bmin
M: 2/4
|: DD DD/D/ | DF AF | ED FD | B2 A2 |
DD DD/D/ | DF AF | B2 dc | BA B2 :|
K: Dmaj
|: d>c de | dA Ad | B>c dc | B2 AG |
FA Bc | d>c Bd | Ad FG | E2 D2 :|

Sixteen comments

St. Kilda Wedding

This is a traditional Scottish reel, which is especially popular among the fiddlers of the country.

My version here is a composite of the two slightly different settings. The first part comes from the playing of Deaf Shepherd in their second album while the second part is based on the playing of another young Scottish band Keep It Up. (Deaf Shepherd recorded it as the harmony of a song.)

Just like many Irish flute players do not play Mrs. McLeod in the original key, I play this tune in G as a whistle player. There is nothing like A major version, but G major one is still acceptable to my ears.

Does anyone play this fine reel in Donegal or Cape Breton?

St. Kilda’s

Can’t get the link to play. Get error message.

St. Kilda Wedding in G

A great Scots reel in a flute-friendly key:

K: Gmaj
G2GB GBdB|A2BG E2DE|G2BA GBdB|1 e2ed edeg:|2 e2ed edef|]
g2ga gddg|efgf e2dc|Bdef gfeg|dBgB A2BA|
Gggf gddg|efgf e2dc|Bdef gfeg|dBgB A2BA|]

This G major setting will go nicely with Colonel McBain (Edor one).

X: 3 is a Cape Breton setting from the playing of Troy MacGillivray, recorded live in 2007 for his CD "Live at the Music Room".

St Kilda Wedding

Most folkies of a certain age in Scotland were captivated by a new group based in Glasgow called Ossian. The opening few seconds of their second LP, St Kilda Wedding (1978) still takes me back to that wonderful time. They play "St Kilda Wedding" in the key of D, probably to fit in with Billy Jackson’s pipes. X:4 above is a transcription of that setting.

Re: St. Kilda Wedding

Is this tune coming from St Kilda’s archipelago? Given the remote location of the islands and the fact that it was evacuated in 1930, I wonder whether it was actually composed there or if its title is just born in the composer’s mind.

Re: St. Kilda Wedding

The tune was written long, long before 1930 so it could be from St. Kilda but it could have also been written by a non-resident. I don’t believe anyone knows.

Re: St. Kilda Wedding

There certainly were tunes from St Kilda. In one of my many expeditions through the libraries of Scotland, I came across a manuscript of tunes from St Kilda. I copied some of the tunes, but I’ve been unable to find them of late, alas. I have a feeling that it may have been part of the Athol Collection in Perth - one day I’ll go back and attempt to find it. "St Kilda’s Wedding" was not one of the tunes.

Elsewhere, we have "The St Kilda Reel" in one of the Gow collections, "The St Kilda Girl’s Lament" from a Battlefield Band album, and "A St Kilda Dance" from a William Jackson album. The Patrick McDonald Collection of 1784 contains at least five tunes from the island (including those from the CDs mentioned above).

As for "St Kilda Wedding" there is a record of a Miss Macleod, originally from St Kilda, singing the tune in a manner close to X:4 above in 19th century Edinburgh.

Re: St. Kilda Wedding

Singer Anne Lorne Gillies made a special study of the songs of St Kilda and produced a 20-track CD in the early 2000s, entitled "An Long Hirteach" (Hirta being the Gaelic nane for St Kilda.)

Re: St. Kilda Wedding

Thanks for all your infos and links, St. Kilda really has a unique history and some natural wonders I can only dream of seeing.

I warmly recommend Ossian’s arrangement of this tune for those who haven’t heard it yet.