Leaving Stoer strathspey

By Ivan Drever

There are 5 recordings of this tune.

Leaving Stoer has been added to 6 tune sets.

Leaving Stoer has been added to 95 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: Leaving Stoer
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
AB|:c3 A e2 b2|a4 (a>g) f<e|(d2d>c) e>d c<B|A>B c<d B>A G<E|
c3 A e2 b2|a4 (a>g) f<e|d>c B<A c>B (AG)|1 A6 AB:|2 A6 AB||
|:c>d e<a B4|(A>B) c<d B>A G<E|c>d e<a B2 (ef/g/)|a2 g2 f2 (A/f/e/d/)|
c>d e<a B4|(A>B) c<d B>A G<E|F2 (DE) (C/E/A) d2|1 c2 (B>A) A2 AB:|2 c2 (B>A) A4||
X: 2
T: Leaving Stoer
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
AB|c3 A e3 b|a4 a>g f<e|d3 c e>d c<B|A>B c<d B>A G<E|
c3 A e3 b|a4 a>g f<e|d>c B<A c>B AG|A6:|
z2|c>d e<f B4|A>B c<d B>A G<E|c>d e<f e3 g|a2 g2 f>A f/e/d|
c>d e<f B4|A>B c<d B>A G<E|F>E DE C/E/A- Ad|c2 B>A A2:|

Thirty comments

great tune

Posted by .


This is really reminescent of a pibroch I’ve heard at a few Highland Games. Is that possible?

Not very likely.

I don’t think it’s like any pibroch I evevr heard, 2situla. The main difference would be the tempo of the tune, and it also has a wider range of notes than any pipe tune. As johnj says, it’s not a strathspey, but an air, and is played with a regular rhythm at quite a medium pace. One of the best recent compositions to come out of Scotland in the past 20 years in my opinion. I think I’m right in saying it was composed by the Orkney musician Ivan Drever - nobody seems to have mentioned that.

Posted by .

Kenny your specs are through there on the table.


It’s a change for people to miss headlines. Quite often they just look at these and never read the small print. At least, Kenny is showing a bit more “in depth” interest. 🙂

What a load of tosh

You’re quite right John, I’ve missed headlines myself many a time 🙂


Sorry, lads……..gnash, gnash….

Posted by .


but johnj didn’t actually say who Ivan Drever is , or what he had to do with the tune, so I don’t feel quite so dumb about it.

Posted by .

Yes, I *should* have elaborated a bit more. I am familiar with Ivan’s work as he is well known in Scotland. However, I shouldn’t make assumptions about whether other members know his material or not. Sorry, Kenny. You’re right.

Brilliant tune - my tune discovery of the year, to date.

Leaving stoer

does anyone know the bass notes for piano accordion for leaving stoer i am beginner

The piano accordion basses to leaving stoer???

Am, E7, F#m7, D, Am, E7
Am, E7, F#m7, D, Am, E7

Am, E7, Am, E7, Am, E7… F#m7 E7 D
Am, E7, Am, E7, D Am D E7 Am

i think….

hope this helps


Given that the tune is in A major I would question the Aminor chord. Then again, as a guitarist, I don’t play piano box and we all know that the PA eschews all notions of musical theory as applies to other instruments! 🙂

You are right

yes i played it again last night, and yes it is Amajor! sorry for the initial mistake. can i use the excuse that i was stressed out at work???? i am very very sorry! won’t let it happen again.

Leaving Stoer

I don’t think I’ve ever heard it with the high “a” in the B-part as in Johnny Jay’s setting. I see that it’s practically the same in Ho-Ro-Gheallaidh Volume 3, but I don’t like it. I’ve posted a setting of the way I play it, for what it’s worth.

I think I sometimes play it the way you do these days myself but that’s maybe because of the “folk session process”.

The version I posted is probably the one I learned at the (then) ALP Scots Music Group(From Colin Campbell) before your time and I posted here long before Ho-Ro-Gheallaidh Volume 3 was published in 2008.

According to the publishers of this volume, the settings therein are apparently the composers “preferred versions” of their tunes although I’d certainly take that statement with a “pinch of salt” as well. After all, the composers are even unlikely to play them the same way themselves much of the time.

I’m pretty sure that Duncan plays the high “A” instead of the “F#” here

Another possibility would be to use the “F#” as a main note and play a grace note on “A”

Slow Air for sure

While it has “Scottish snaps” in it you get those in Scottish tunes other than strathspeys, including even some waltzes. In my book this is definitely a slow air, not even a“slow strathspey”. I transcribed it myself years ago from the Redpoint CD by Ivan Drever and Duncan Chisholm (as in the YouTube quoted above) and I’ve got it pretty much the same as Nigel’s version: definitely an F#, not a high A in the first bar of the second part. Two small differences, I heard the first two As in part one as being tied, not both played notes, and at the penultimate bar I hear a C#D as semi quavers rather than just a D on a quaver.
It is in the book for the Orkney Traditional Music Project, along with many other good tunes for just £5. The version there has chords too!
For those not familiar with them, Ivan and Duncan were both in the legendary “Celtic rock” band, Wolfstone, then did some work as a duo, with another great album, The Door of the Saints. Duncan went on to be in Blazing Fiddles, and do some stunning solo albums, such as Farrar and Canaidh. Ivan is still doing solo gigs, and looking for Scottish gigs during summer and autumn. Other favourite tunes of his are The Rose of St Magnus, El Caballo Blanco and the Flower of Kristiansand.

We know that it is a slow air but there isn’t a facility for these here. So you have to choose something else in4/4 time to create it

You are probably right about the f# too. It’s good that you’ve come here to offer your support….

“For those not familiar with them, Ivan and Duncan were both in the legendary ”Celtic rock“ band, Wolfstone, then did some work as a duo, with another great album, The Door of the Saints. ”

“The Door of Saints” has Ivan playing guitar on the album, but it is officially a solo effort by Duncan.
The “duo” albums are “The Lewis Blue” (named after a tattie) and “A Long December Night”.
The comment also gives the impression that Dunc “used to be” in Wolfstone. He still plays with the band.

Ivan (the composer of this tune) still plays gigs with Dunc, and plays solo, but is also involved in a band along with Frank McGuire and Rich Young.

Whose album?

Thanks for the corrections, Weegie: posted off the top of my head without going to my CD collection! You’ll be pleased to hear I have them filed correctly anyway, C for Chisholm, D for Drever!
Redpoint is also Duncan Chisholm (with Ivan Drever on guitar), and of course you’re right about Dunc still being in Wolfstone.

Very odd there being no “slow air” category in the drop-down list above (which I’ve now found): they certainly exist, and giving tunes the wrong categorisation may well lead to them being played too fast!

Slow Airs Categorisation

Hi Trish. The categorisation system on thesession.org is based upon time signature, and there is no recognised time sig for slow airs, so we employ workarounds. Also, in my experience, even if somebody knows that a tune is a slow air, it doesn’t stop them playing it too fast!

Time signatures v type of tune

Hi Nigel,
Have looked again at the drop-down list, and I suppose time signature is implied in some cases, e.g. slip jigs will be 9/8, three-twos will be 3/2, but Marches could be 2/4, 4/4, 6/4, 6/8 or 9/8. It would be nice to see the word “SLOW” in there somewhere anyway, e.g. Slow 3/4 or Slow 4/4.
But I take your point about those who cannot/will not play slowly enough for some tunes! It’s harder to do effectively, of course!


A wonderful tune.
Thanks, Nigel, for posting this setting which matches the version on the Redpoint CD.

I’d recommend that folk do not try to play along with either of the guitarists whose videos are linked in the posts above, neither of whom are playing in A Major. One fails to play all the backward dotted strathspey-like notes, ‘straightening out’ the glories of this tune, while the other plays the high A for the F# (transposed), see discussion above, which I do not hear in the recording, so can only be a grace note at most.

How about arranging this for a mandolin orchestra with tasteful tremolo and harmonies!

Thanks for keeping me right, everyone.

Only the Ivan Drever One himself will be able to confirm how he originally composed the tune but I’m fairly sure that he won’t insist that everything should be “set in stone”.
I posted the original setting in good faith as it was what I played at the time and the one posted in Ho-Ro-Gheallaidh Volume 3 is, apparently, approved by the composer. I’ve no idea if this information is correct or not.

The tune sounds fine either way either with the F# or A and both notes blend together well.

By all means, play along with the guitar versions if you happen to like them. Alternatively with Duncan or even the mandolin orchestra version with “tasteful tremolo and harmonies”, if this happens to be your bag.

High A

In Ceol na Fidhle Vol. 5 and 6, Taigh na Teud 2000, page 20, You will find Leaving Stoer. And a note “copyright Ivan Drever”. I think, the tune is printed as it has been composed.

Ivan Drever and Duncan Chisholm stood at Stoer, north of Lochinver. Before 2000. A ceilidh happend in the small village hall of Stoer. It is said, that the tune got its name from this visit. Ceilidhs in Stoer are unforgettable….