John Morrison Of Assynt House reel

By Peter R. MacLeod Sr

Also known as Ian Morrison, John Morrison, John Morrison, Assynt House.

There are 26 recordings of this tune.
This tune has been recorded together with

John Morrison Of Assynt House appears in 1 other tune collection.

John Morrison Of Assynt House has been added to 1 tune set.

John Morrison Of Assynt House has been added to 76 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: John Morrison Of Assynt House
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
A2 A2 GAAB|e2 e2 dBBd|egBd e2 ae|g2 Bd eA A2|
A2 ag a2 eg|a2 ga geef|g2 ae g2 Bd|g2 ag fddf|
egBd e2 ge|a2 ga geeg|dBBd e2 ae|g2 Bd eA A2|
A2 ed e2 AB|e2 e2 dBBd|GGdB d2 GB|e2 dA BGGB|
A2 ed e2 AB|e2 e2 dBBd|egBd e2 ae|g2 Bd eA A2|
Aaag aged|eaag a2 ge|dgga gedB|dgga g2 ed|
eaag aged|eaag a2 ge|dBBd e2 ae|g2 Bd eA A2|
eAed eAAB|eAed BAAB|dGdB dGGB|eAdA BGGB|
eAed eAAB|e2 e2 dBBd|egBd e2 ae|g2 Bd eA A2|
a2 eg aeeg|a2 ea geae|g2 de gdde|g2 dg edge|
a2 eg aeeg|a2 ea afge|dBBd e2 ae|g2 Bd eA A2|

Twenty-three comments

John Morrison of Assynt House

A six-part pipe reel composed by the late Peter MacLeod. Requested by Geoff Pollitt after “ethel” posted a version from what in my opinion was a dodgy source. Apologies if I was a bit harsh, ethel, I didn’t mean to be, so I hope there are no hard feelings. This is the “Morrison’s” reel which was recorded by Alan Stivell in the early 70s. I seem to remember the general feeling among pipers then was that he was a great harp player.
It has similarities to a reel called the “Traditional”, or “The Old/Auld Pipe Reel” recorded by both “Silly Wizard” and the “Battlefield Band”.


No hard feelings at all Kenny, and I’m glad you’ve posted the authentic version. I was hoping someone would, having been unable myself to find a clearer version of the tune online to try transcribing from again. I think my ear was at fault - I’m obviously not familiar enough with pipe music (ornamentation styles etc), plus the Stivell version is a bit ‘noisy’ and its hard for me to pick out the tune. Some of what i put in my ‘fuller transcription’ in my comments seems similar to what you’ve posted, and I can see that some of it definitely doesn’t! Plus i’d assumed the 3rd to 6th parts were just variations on the first 2 so i’d not put them in the posted tune.
A question occurred to me as a result of this - the Stivell version still sounds like Bmix to me - could this be because the pipes in his version are transposing instruments? (excuse my ignorance!)
My version should definitely be deleted now I think…how do i get this done?

Highland bagpipes are pitched - approximately - in Bb. Stivell’s pipes may have been tuned a bit sharp, which could well put them up into B. The convention with pipe tunes is to transcribe them into concert pitch for convenience. If I wanted to play along with pipes, I’d use either a flute or whistle pitched in Eb.

Many thanks Kenny 🙂

I’ve no excuse for not learning it now.

What about that big pile of marking you should be doing?

Hello Mark

I did that over the weekend.

You are merely deflecting attention from your unfinished thesis I’ll wager 🙂

ceolachan, Dow is, or should be, finishing his PhD on obscure Okinawan dialects. In order to avoid finishing he spends all his time learning loads of tunes which is probably more fun admittedly.

Ceolachan knows that - he’s just being sarcastic.

Via Rene Werner and Ian Morrison

Great to find the true version of this - I love the Stivell/ Werner version, but we need to know what they adapted it from! They tended to do their own interpretations, I think - Stivell did a great version of She Walks Through the Fair with harp acct, but the words are unintelligible!!

There was(is) a Buddy McMaster tape (may have been on vinyl also) entitled “Live at the Glencoe Village Hall” on which, on which there is a killer fiddle version of JMOAH. Well worth a listen if you can get your hands on a copy, especially if your a fiddler.

First time I heard this version I almost crashed the car. Given the right treatment, IMO, this is a mighty mighty tune.

What an epic tune!

As a whole, the tune is in the Hexatonic mode (Mixolydian with no 3rds), though all parts are Pentatonic (3rd- & 6th-less) except for the 2nd and last parts.
This makes it easy to play on D whistles, etc (no tricky cuts or rolls on C’s)

You can get away without that F# in the last part if need be, fleeting as it is……………………

Re: John Morrison Of Assynt House

Hmm, the oldest setting I can find has an E as the last note in the last but one line , last bar (44) while here it’s a D and the D is also found in a number of modern online settings but
The E sounds better to my ear personally.
This is from the 1937 john Wilson book.

It was also published in 1927 in William Ross’s book but I can’t find that at present .

Re: John Morrison Of Assynt House

Such a great tune; very popular here in Cape Breton. I like the Beolach version, but my favourite is the Ian MacDougall version off ‘From Foot Cape’. Killer.

There is a slightly different version in the book ‘Winston Fitzgerald: A collection of Fiddle Tunes’, from Cranfod Publications.

Re: John Morrison Of Assynt House

Never heard this tune before (I think) but just got a CD by Jimmy Power called Go home and have your dinner and its on there as a two part reel. This was recorded back in the 60’s 70’s so I assume that his version is what would have been commonly played in the area that he came from and I have to say the two parts he plays as a conventional two part reel are the best ones and that is how I am going to learn it.

Re: John Morrison Of Assynt House

Not to be confused with “John Morrison, Esq. of Assynt House”, great 2/4 march by PM Willie Ross. 1927.

Re: John Morrison Of Assynt House

> Hmm, the oldest setting I can find has an E as the last note in the last but one line , last bar (44)

For what it’s worth I have Alasdair Gillies’ version in front of me and he plays E as well. As do I…

Re: John Morrison Of Assynt House

Correction made. Thanks.