The Miller Of Drone strathspey

Also known as Miller O Drone, Miller O’ Drone, The Miller O’ Drone, Miller O’Dron, The Miller O’Drone, Miller Of Droan, Miller Of Dron.

There are 25 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

The Miller Of Drone has been added to 9 tune sets.

The Miller Of Drone has been added to 106 tunebooks.

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Seven settings

X: 1
T: The Miller Of Drone
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
|(3AcB|A>F F<A E>F E>C|(3A,A,A, A>c B2 (3BcB|A>F F<A E>2F E>2C|D>F E<G A2 (3AcB|A>F F<A E>F E>C|
(3A,A,A, A,>c B2 (3Bcd|e>B c<G A>E F>C|D>F E<G A2 (3Acd|e>c e<a e>e f/e/d/c/|e>c e<a f2 (3fga|
e>c e<a e>e f/e/d/c/|d>B c<A F2 (3Acd|e>c e<a e>e f/e/d/c/|e>f a<=g f>e f>^g|(3agf (3efg (3aed (3cBA|(3dcB (3cBA (3Bfe (3dcB|
X: 2
T: The Miller Of Drone
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
e>Bc<G A>EF>C|D>FE<G A2 (3Acd||
(3agf (3efg (3aed (3cBA|(3dcB (3cBA (3Bfe (3dcB||
2 e>Bc>G A>EF>C|D>FE>G A2 A||
(3agf (3efg (3aed (3cBA|(3dcB (3cBA (3Ffe d||
X: 3
T: The Miller Of Drone
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
c>B|:A>FF<A E>FE>C|(3A,A,A, d>c B2 (3BcB|A>FF<A E>FE>C|D>FE<G A2 (3AcB|
A>FF<A E>FE>C|(3A,A,A, d>c B2 (3Bcd|e>Bc<G A>EF>C|D>FE<G A2 c>B:|
|:e>ce<a e>e f/e/d/c/|e>c e<a f2 (3fga|e>ce<a e>e f/e/d/c/|d>B c<A F2 c>d|
e>ce<a e>e f/e/d/c/|e>f a<=g f>e f>^g|(3agf (3efg (3aed (3cBA|(3dcB (3cBA (3Bfe (3dcB:|
X: 4
T: The Miller Of Drone
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
|c/B/|A<FF<A E>FE<C|A,<A,d>c B2 Bc/B/|
A<FF>A E>FE<C|D<FE>G A2 Ac/B/|
A<FF<A E>FE<C|A,<A,d>c B2 Bc/d/|
e>Bc>G A>EF>C|D>FE>G A2 A||
c/d/|e<cc<a e>e f/e/d/c/|e<cc<a f2 f>a|
e<cc>a e>e f/e/d/c/|d>Bc>A F2 Fc/d/|
e<cc<a e>e f/e/d/c/|e>fa>g f2 f>g|
(3agf (3efg (3aed (3cBA|(3dcB (3cBA (3Ffe (3dcB||
X: 5
T: The Miller Of Drone
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
(3AcB|A>FF<A E>FE>C|A,/A,/A, A,>c B/A/B (3BcB|A>FF<A E>FE<C|D>FE>G A2(3AcB|
A>FF<A E>FE>C|A,/A,/A, A,>c B/A/B (3Bcd|e>Bc>G A>EF<C|D<F E<G A2 (3Acd||
e>cc<a e>e f/e/d/c/|e>cc<a f2 (3fga|e>cc<a e>e f/e/d/c/|d>Bc<A [EA]<[FA] (3Acd|
e>cc<a e>e f/e/d/c/|e>ga>g f>ef>g|(3agf (3efg (3aed (3cBA|(3dcB (3cBA (3Ffe (3dcB||
X: 6
T: The Miller Of Drone
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
(3GBA|G>EE<G D3B|G3B A2 (3ABA|G>EE<G D3B|c>ED>F G2(3GBA|
G>EE<G D3B|G3B A2 (3ABc|d>AB>F G>DE<B|c<ED<F G2 (3GBc||
d>BB<g d2 e/d/c/B/|d>BB<g e2 (3efg|d>BB<g d2 e/d/c/B/|c>AB<G E2 (3GBc|
d>BB<g d2 e/d/c/B/|d>fg>f e>de>f|(3gfe (3def (3gdc (3BAG|(3cBA (3BAG (3Eed (3cBA||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 7
T: The Miller Of Drone
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
c>B|A<AF<A E>F E>C|A,<A, d>c B2 (3BcB|A2F<A E>F E>C|E<EE>F A2 c>B|
A<AF<A E>F E>C|A,<A, d>c B2 c>d|e>d c>B A>F E<C|E<EE>F A2 c>d|
e<Aa>f e>fe>d|c<A a>g f>ed<f|e<Aa>f e>fe>c|d<b c<a B2 c>d|
(3ece (3agf e>fe>d|c<e a>g f<a g<b|(3agf (3efg (3aed (3cBA|(3bag (3agf (3efe (3dcB|
# Added by ans76 .

Thirty-eight comments

The Miller of Drone

This beautiful strathspey was composed by James Scott Skinner (1843 – 1927), a key figure in Scottish traditional music. It’s a fairly popular little tune in Cape Breton.

Original sheetmusic

I found this after I had already transcribed the song from an Ashley MacIsaac recording. It was a result when I was searching for a information on the composer. It would have saved me some time. I’ll put the link up here for all to enjoy:


Wierd Rythm

I noticed that there’s a wierd rythm on the ABC that I submitted. I’ve corrected it and edited the ABC file. Sorry, its my first tune!


Nathanael, it’s nice of you to submit a tune for us, but I’m afraid it’s unreadable. Do bear in mind that this stays on the net forever, sheetmusic, midi file, and abc searchable by other websites. I think the idea is that you use software to check your work first before you submit it. Try the free one at (look in the links section). Please please, I beg you, learn how to write abc before you post any more tunes - stuff like the arrow signs for strathspeys, and how to write triplets. It’s basic stuff. Sorry if this sounds harsh but it has to be said and nobody else has said it so it’ll have to be me.

Wierd Rhythm

Mark, I agree 100% with your comments (you got in there before I did!). I think it would be of help, particularly to the first-timers (and perhaps even some of the more experienced!), if Jeremy were to place an easily-seen notice in the Tunes Submission advising people to check the validity of their abc by listening to it carefully via software before submission.
Even the most careful can easily type in “b” instead of “B”, and miss it on a visual check. Also, some word processors (e.g. Word), if not set up properly, can change a lower case letter to upper case if it thinks it is starting a paragraph (I’ve had this happen, so I had to talk severely to Word to make it see sense).

I think Jeremy’s made it pretty clear actually. In the end if someone doesn’t want to take the time to learn how to write abc first, there’s not much he can do about it. Other than suggest what I’ve suggested of course, i.e. “learn abc”.

Wierd Rhythm

I’d also advise the first-timer wishing to submit a tune with a complex rhythmic structure (such as a strathspey or highland) to have a look at the abc and sheet music of other tunes of that type on the database, to see how it’s done.

Don’t get me wrong we’re not looking for perfection here, just readability… like, the basic tune.

Sorry guys. I did use the to check it (and it looked alright) but something got a little bit garbled. I’ll take much more care for future submissions. I’ve updated the ABC file to be more accurate, but I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do in terms of sheet music and midi. Sorry!


It’s your abc I’m talking about, not the sheetmusic and midi. The abc is still seriously complicated and needlessly so with all the 3:2 notes and dashes /. Have a look at the way strathspeys are notated elsewhere on this site, and you’ll find that the arrows > are used, and also triplets (3. Notice also how notes are grouped together. Then, before you try to submit any more tunes, please please first update the abc for this one properly, I beg you?

Nathanael thanks! It reads beautifully now. It’s a lovely tune!

This tune appears to have actually been written by Nathaniel Gow (the Gow Collection), although he wrote it more as a reel with less strathspey pairs than Skinner’s version.

“The Miller of Drone” ~ first a rehash of this transcript then some history

This transcript redone ~
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: strathspey
K: A Major
(3AcB ||
A>FF<A E>FE>C | (3A,A,A, A>c B2 (3BcB |
A>FF<A E>FE>C | D>FE<G A2 (3AcB |
A>FF<A E>FE>C | (3A,A,A, A,>c B2 (3Bcd |
e>Bc<G A>EF>C | D>FE<G A2 (3Acd ||
e>ce<a e>e f/e/d/c/ | e>c e<a f2 (3fga |
e>ce<a e>e f/e/d/c/ | d>B c<A F2 (3Acd |
e>ce<a e>e f/e/d/c/ | e>f a<=g f>e f>^g |
(3agf (3efg (3aed (3cBA | (3dcB (3cBA (3Bfe (3dcB ||

“The Athole Collection” ~ James Stewart Robertson, 1884

K: A Major
|: c/B/ |
A<FF<A E>FE<C | A,<Ad>c B2 Bc/B/ |
1 A<FF>A E>FE<C | D<FE>G A2 A :|
2 e>Bc>G A>EF>C | D>FE>G A2 A ||
c/d/ |
e<cc<a e>e f/e/d/c/ | e<cc<a f2 f>a |
e<cc>a e>e f/e/d/c/ | d>Bc>A F2 Fc/d/ |
e<cc<a e>e f/e/d/c/ | e>fa>g f2 f>g |
(3agf (3efg (3aed (3cBA | (3dcB (3cBA (3Ffe d ||

Two different tunes

One of the Gows probably wrote The Miller of Drone, but James Scott Skinner rewrote it as “The Miller o’ Hirn” (, saying the miller would drone no more.

Nathanial Gow would write his name at the top of tunes he had composed and also tunes he had just rearranged, so no-one knows for certain which ones were his own.

The Millar of Drone

In this case, LowProfile, Nathaniel Gow’s authorship is pretty much undisputed (see Mary Anne Alburger, Scottish Fiddlers and their Music, 1983).

Interested in your idea that Skinner rewrote this tune as “The Miller o’Hirn” - I see no resemblance between the two. In the lyrics to the air -

"The Miller o’ the Hirn, O, Hoch hey, the Hirn O!
The heesie-weesie Hirn, O;
We’ll “Drone” nae mair, sin we hae got
The Miller o’ the Hirn, O."

- I believe the author (“La Teste”) was proposing “Hirn” as a replacement for “Drone”.

i think skinner wrote ‘the miller of hirn’ in spite of this tune - he was quoted that, “the miller shall drone on no more”

They are both some of my favorite strathspeys

Miller of drone

there’s a tune Miller of Drone noted by J.Moore,in Tyneside,in obviously couldn’t have been skinner who composed it although he did know tunes from northern england as he spent time in manchester etc, so maybe he re arranged the tune?…

the only river Drone i know is in northern england, which did power several water wheels at early factories in the Dronfield valley in the 18th and 19th centuries-

"There was a miller lived in Dron
And he was fed on beef and brose
Wi’ sturdy limbs and shoulders broad
As you may well suppose
The miller was a sturdy loon
That ever hung a stone
And he’s ta‘en his suit a’ different ways
As the wives kent weel at Dron"

Geig-Duncan collection.

Mill of Dron:

"Two roads pass through Dron parish. One runs south from Perth over the Bridge of Earn and goes to Kingorn; the other runs from Abernethy over to the Stirling road. Where the first road runs through here it is known as the Peth of Drone - “yea it goes through the midel of the Paroch up the Peth of Drone which peth is a highway through that chain of hills which lyes along the south side of the river of Arne….”

Drone seems to have been a somewhat regular spelling:

"James Fyfe, for his two part of the lands of Drone, two hundreth fourtie punds,
Laird of Lundie, for his Few dewties of Drone, thirteene punds, six shilling, eight pennies,
Earl of Kinghome, for his part of the lauds in the Parish, fourteen hundreth fourscore punds,

“Rentall of the County of Perth, by act of the estates of parliament of Scotland, 4th August, 1649; contrasted with the valuation of the same county, 1st January, 1835 (1835)”

“so obviously couldn’t have been skinner who composed it although he did know tunes from northern england as he spent time in manchester etc, so maybe he re arranged the tune?…”

Well, there’s plenty of room for further conjecture. Skinner lived for a good while in Monikie, a stone’s throw away from Dron (Drone), he had a long standing friend in Kirriemuir (or Thrums), and the same person who collected the song, Gavin Greig, also edited Skinner’s Harp and Claymore Collection.
However, the song and that particular tune (which may well have been used for the song at some point) was no doubt doing the rounds in Skinner’s day, as it seemed to be in Nathaniel Gow’s day. It was there for the taking.

WHEW! If letters were tears and words were a teaspoon’s worth… 😀 Now where exactly did I put my virtual boat?

One of my treasures is one of those humongous fancy hardbound editions of Skin’s H & C…

“WHEW! If letters were tears and words were a teaspoon’s worth”

You’d still be in front in the tunes category, Ceol.

And I put “Geig-Duncan” instead of “Greig-Duncan”.

And there are plenty of real tears mixed in all that…

Re: The Miller Of Drone

Ceolachan has some tiny errors in the setting given from the Athole Collection, so hopefully won’t mind if I put in a corrected setting, where it is called Miller of Dron

Re: The Miller Of Drone

In the bothy ballad “The Ball o Kerriemeer”, which has a very simple melody, the B-part sounds rather like the A-part of this strathspey.

Re: The Miller Of Drone

Composed by Isaac Cooper. He has 2 collections c1783 & 1806.

Re: The Miller Of Drone

Connor, where did you get that information? I know that Isaac Cooper “altered” the tune in his 1783 collection, but I’ve not heard of him having composed the tune before.

Re: The Miller Of Drone

As I understand it, Isaac Cooper never claimed to have composed the tune. I think this tune would be better left without a known composer.

Re: The Miller Of Drone

Most seem to attribute the tune to Nathaniel Gow, but even that’s not certain.

Re: The Miller Of Drone

I got the information from the Athole Collection. I ordered the Athole Collection and it arrived in time for when I got back from holidays.

Re: The Miller Of Drone

To clear things up, if you’re working from the Highland Music Trust edition of The Athole Collection, Connor, the names given beside the tunes are the original sources of the tunes used in the collection. So, in the case of “Miller of Dron”, “Cooper 2” means that the tune is in Isaac Cooper’s 1806 collection. In that book, against “The Millar of Drone” it says “altered by I Cooper” with no indication of composer, whereas tunes in the collection he claims to have composed say “I Cooper” at the right hand side where you would expect to see the composer’s name. So it would seem highly unlikely that Isaac Cooper composed The Miller of Drone, otherwise he would have claimed it as his.