Donald, Willie And His Dog slip jig

By Donald Morrison

Also known as Donald Willie And His Dog, Donald, Willie, And His Dog, Donald, Willie, And The Dog.

There are 15 recordings of this tune.

Donald, Willie And His Dog has been added to 8 tune sets.

Donald, Willie And His Dog has been added to 159 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: Donald, Willie And His Dog
R: slip jig
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Amix
A2c Acc B2A|A2c Acc B3|A2c Acc B2A|c2A ABG A3:|
B2e edc B2A|B2e edc B3|c2e edc B2A|c2A ABG A3:|
A2c ABB c2B|A2c Acc B3|A2c ABB c2B|c2A ABG A3:|
e2c dfd e2d|e2c d2c B3|e2c dfd e2d|c2A ABG A3:|
X: 2
T: Donald, Willie And His Dog
R: slip jig
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Amix
A2 c cAc B2 G|A2 c cAc B3|A2 c cAc B2 G|c2 A ABG A3:|
B2 e eAc B2 A|B2 e eAc B3|c2 e eAc B2 A|c2 A ABG A3:|
A2 c ABB c2 A|A2 B Acc B3|A2 c ABB c2 B|c2 A ABG A3:|
e2 c cfd e2 c|cec cdc B3|e2 c cfd e2 d|c2 A ABG A3:|
# Added by Kenny .
X: 3
T: Donald, Willie And His Dog
R: slip jig
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:G2 B BGB A2 F|G2 B BGB A3|G2 B BGB A2 F|B2 G GAF G3:|
|:A2 d dGB A2 G|A2 d dGB A3|A2 d dGB A2 G|B2 G GAF G3:|
|:d2 B Bec d2 c|BdB BcB A3|d2 B Bec d2 c|B2 G GAF G3:|
G2 B BGB A2 d|G2 B BGB c>BA|G2 B BG/A/B AFD|E2 G GAF G2:|
A2 d dGB A2 F|A2 d dGB c>AF|Add dGB A2 c|B2 G GAF G2:|
d2 B Be^c dBG|B/c/dB cBc A>Bc|d2 B Be^c d2 =c|B2 G GAF G2:|
d2 B BE^c dBG|B/c/dB cBc A>Bc|d2 B BE^c d2 =c|B2 G GAF G2:|

Eighteen comments

Donald Willie And His Dog

This is a quite well-known Scottish tune written by Donald Morrison from South Uist. I don’t know anything about him, but it’s easy to guess he’s a piper.

My transcription here is based on Malcom Stitt’s pipe playing on the album “Keep it Up.” It’s a lovely recording featuring very sweet concertina and fiddle duet playings of Simon Thoumire and Eilidh Shaw, but famous young bouzouki player Malcom plays highland pipes on some tracks.

It’s fun to play fast, but it’s also nice to play a bit slowly as a march as Malcom does.

Great tune

First heard his one from Jock Tamson’s Bairns on the album “The Lasses Fashion” way back in 1982. It was one of the first tunes we were taught at SMOG in Edinburgh by Angus Grant Jnr. Blazing Fiddles’ version is good too.
There’s a nice tune called “My favourite Dram” . It’s got a Gaelic title too but I’ll have to check the spelling first. 🙂 I like to play these two tunes together so I’ll put it up here in the next day or so.


Needs a comma…..

Trivial, but it makes all the difference. I heard that the tune was composed when Donald Morrison and his brother , Willie - also a piper - went out into the hills, with their dog, to look for a lost sheep. I never heard whether or not they found the sheep, but they came back having composed this tune - “Donald, Willie And His Dog”. I used to like Mary McMaster’s introduction to the tune, saying it’s very important to get the three participants in the correct order…………

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Sorry, both Keep it Up and Filska recorded it as “Donald Willie and His Dog” without any comma, so I believed it’s just one man and his dog. Thanks for the story.

Listen, I know that this is the theme song to some American television show. Anyone know which one?


Donald, Willie And His Dog

I have it more like this:

A2 c cAc B2 G | A2 c cAc B3 | A2 c cAc B2 G | c2 A ABG A3 :|
B2 e eAc B2 A | B2 e eAc B3 | c2 e eAc B2 A | c2 A ABG A3 :|
A2 c ABB c2 A | A2 B Acc B3 | A2 c ABB c2 B | c2 A ABG A3 :|
e2 c cfd e2 c | cec cdc B3 | e2 c cfd e2 d | c2 A ABG A3 :|

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I was also told by Norman Chalmers of JT’s Bairns that it is two people and a dog so the comma should be observed.

“Donald, Willie, and the Dog” ~ messing around in G

I know this might raise a little ire, but music sometimes squirms in your hands and goes elsewhere from where we started with it. I’ve never felt all that comfortable with this as Mixolydian, not like some Mixolydian tunes that just fit it beautifully. So this kept nudging into Major, A for starters, then it dropped down to G. Anyway, here it is in G Mix and let loose and slippery in G Major ~

X: 3
T: Donald, Willie, and the Dog
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
R: slip jig
K: G Mixolydian
|: G2 B BGB A2 F | G2 B BGB A3 | G2 B BGB A2 F | B2 G GAF G3 :|
|: A2 d dGB A2 G | A2 d dGB A3 | A2 d dGB A2 G | B2 G GAF G3 :|
|: G2 B GAA BGG | G2 A GBB A3 | G2 B GAA BGG | B2 G GAF G3 :|
|: d2 B Bec d2 c | BdB BcB A3 | d2 B Bec d2 c | B2 G GAF G3 :|

X: 4
T: Donald, Willie, and the Dog
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
R: slip jig
K: G Major
|: D |
G2 B BGB A2 d | G2 B BGB c>BA | G2 B BG/A/B AFD | E2 G GAF G2 :|
|: B |
A2 d dGB A2 F | A2 d dGB c>AF | Add dGB A2 c | B2 G GAF G2 :|
|: D |
G2 B GAA Bdd | G2 A GBB A>FD | G2 B GAA BdD | E2 G GAF G2 :|
|: B |
d2 B Be^c dBG | B/c/dB cBc A>Bc | d2 B Be^c d2 =c | B2 G GAF G2 :|

An alternate 4th part avoiding the high e and dropping down to E instead ~

|: B |
d2 B BE^c dBG | B/c/dB cBc A>Bc | d2 B BE^c d2 =c | B2 G GAF G2 :|

This last take in part inspired by the following:

Discussion: What One Octave Tunes in D exist?
# Posted on September 19th 2007 by Sarah the Flute

Blair Douglas

Blair Douglas composed this tune on his first album, Celtology.

Donald, Willie and his Dog

It’s only one note, but I think it does make a difference to how the B part ‘works’, and it is from the playing of the composer…

In a BBC recording of his “winning tune in the jig competition at the Northern Meeting in 1971” Donald Morrison started the B part |B2 e eAc B2 A | c2 e eAc B3 |. I think the rest is as Kenny posted.

The recording was played on BBC Radio Scotland’s programme “Pipeline” sometime in 2009.

Most other recordings I have payed attention to do it as setting 2 here, though Blazing Fiddles do it both ways.

A small thing, but this tune seems to be about subtleties - of a sort I find slow to absorb !

Re: Donald, Willie And His Dog

For those interested in published versions, a version exactly like #2 above appears in Scots Guards II.

The title is given without commas, and a note says

“D. Morrison, South Uist.

Composed while helping Willie Morrison, Locheynort, South Uist, to round up sheep on the hill with his dog.“

To me starting the 2nd part on B always sounded awkward and I’ve always played that part starting on C.

I always assumed the B was just another of the numerous typos and oddities in Scots Guards.

BTW were the title to follow ordinary English punctuation wouldn’t it be Donald, Willie, and his dog? I’ve always seen the title rendered that way, or lacking punctuation altogether.

(If the dog was Donald’s it would be Willie, Donald, and his dog.)

Re: Donald, Willie And His Dog

Or the man’s name is Donald Willie, in the Highland style.

Re: Donald, Willie And His Dog

No, read Kenny’s comment from 15 years ago…

Re: Donald, Willie And His Dog

For what it’s worth, the second part was written starting with the B (as published). I quite agree with Richard there’s a logical argument it should be a C, but there you go.

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Re: Donald, Willie And His Dog

Donald and Willie are two different people from the same family, so those that pointed out that there should be a comma are correct.
Part two is also played different from the way many people play now, probably due to it being printed wrongly in the Scots Guards volume 2.
It’s really only the first note on the second bar of the second part. The first and second bar on the second part should be played; B2 e eAc B2 A | C2 e eAc B3. C2 instead of B2.
At the end of the day, it’s not a crime to play B2! Some people prefer it. I prefer the original.

Re: Donald, Willie And His Dog

Ah, should we also be using the “Oxford Comma”?

i.e. Donald, Willie, And His Dog?

Or am I “barking up the wrong tree”?


Re: Donald, Willie And His Dog

Naw, jist “barking” 🙂 [ You set yourself up for that one, JJ ].

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