Mrs Helen L MacDonald Of Dunach march

By William Lawrie

Also known as Mrs H. L. MacDonald Of Dunach, Mrs H.L. MacDonald Of Dunach, Mrs Macdonald Of Dunach, Mrs McDonald Of Dunach, Mrs. MacDonald Of Dunach.

There are 8 recordings of this tune.

Mrs Helen L MacDonald Of Dunach has been added to 9 tune sets.

Mrs Helen L MacDonald Of Dunach has been added to 42 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: Mrs Helen L MacDonald Of Dunach
R: march
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A>B|d2 A>B d2 f>g|a2 f>g a2 f>d|A>AA>B d2 e>f|g>fe>d B2A>B|
d2 A>B d2 f>g|a2 f>d A>Bc>d|e2 A>c e>de>f|d6:|
g2|a>Aa>g f<ad>f|A>AA>B d2 A>d|f>Ad>f a2 g>f|e>cA>c e2f>g|
a>gf>e d2 A2|B<dc>B A>Bc>d|e2 A>c e>de>f|d6:|
f>e|d<fA>d d<fA>d|f<ag>e d2 A>d|d<fA>d d<fA>d|c<eA>c e>gc>e|
d<fA>d d<fA>d|f<af>e d2 c>d|e2 A>c e>gf>e|d6:|
f>g|a>fd<A d2 f>g|a>fd<A d2 e>f|g>ec<A c<eA>c|g>ec<A c<ef>g|
[1 a>fd<A d2 e>f|a>fd<A d2 c>d|f2 A>c e>gf>e|d6:|
[2 a>gf>e d2 A2|B<dc>B A>Bc>d|e>cA>c e>gf>e|d6||
X: 2
T: Mrs Helen L MacDonald Of Dunach
R: march
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
A>B|d2A>B d2f>g|a2f>g a2f>d|A>AA>B d2e>f|g>fe>d B2A>B|
d2A>B d2f>g|a2f>d A>Bc>d|e2A>c e>de>f|d4d2:|
f<g|a>Aa>g f<ad<f|A>AA>B d2A>d|f>Ad>f a2g>f|e>cA>c e2f>g|
a>gf>e d2A2|B<dc>B A>Bc>d|e2A>c e>de>f|d4d2:|
f>e|d<fA>d d<fA>d|f<ag>e d2A>d|d<fA>d d<fA>d|c<eA>c e>gc<e|
d<fA>d d<fA>d|f<ag>e d2c>d|e2A>c e>de>f|d4d2:|
f>g|a>fd<A d2f>g|a>fd<A d2e>f|g>ec<A c<eA>c|g>ec<A c<ef>g|1
a>fd<A d2f>g|a>fd<A d2c>d|e2A>c e>de>f|d4d2:|2
a>gf>e d2A2|B<dc>B A>Bc>d|e2A>c e>de>f|d6||

Fifteen comments

Nice tune from Aly and Phil’s ‘Spring the summer long’ CD. Transcription from Nigel Gatherer, but it’s more of a 2/4 march I think. Anyway, it’s a bit easier to read in 4/4. Aly+Phil play it after Captain Carswell

We play it for a Canadian Barn Dance!

Mrs Helen L MacDonald Of Dunach

If I remember correctly, I notated it from a recording of the Glasgow fiddler Fiona Cuthill.

This is a GHBP “competition” march by PM Wiliam Lawrie I think

Mrs. MacDonald of Dunach

Yes, as crunluath says, it was composed by Willie Lawrie, as was Capt. Carsewell; both were published back in the thirties (Lawrie died during WW!). I don’t recall the ‘Helen L’ part of the name appearing then.


Usually strathspeys have only 8-bar parts. Are you sure about the repeats?


Seeing that it was a 2/4 march, maybe it should be changed to a march. I have noticed some fiddlers do blur 2/4 march and strathspey idiom. I’ve had some tunes with Fiona Cuthill and didn’t notice this with her but we were taking a more sean nos, low-step approach to strathspey playing.

Re: Mrs Helen L MacDonald Of Dunach

X:2 looks like the Scots Guards setting.
I’ve long wondered whether the third note in the sixth bar of the third part should be G or F#. Perhaps because I’m a sloppy reader I always played G until I was playing along with the Ceol na Fidhle accompanying CD and noticed that Christine Martin played F#. I still play G (a la Scots Guards and Jim MacGillivray on but would be intrigued to know what the original note was.

Re: Mrs Helen L MacDonald of Dunach

Where was the original setting published do you know? The Inveraray & District play it as a G, and that’s what I have in my head as the ‘correct’ sound - and what I play, although I do confess to not always playing the snaps as written. The F# sounds a little better with the modified ending of the 7th bar of the 3rd part in X:1. Angus Grant snr plays a G, but the Occasionals play an F# there and in bar 2 of the 3rd part so maybe the jury’s still out on that one.

Re: Mrs Helen L MacDonald Of Dunach

Always played a G there too!

Re: Mrs Helen L MacDonald Of Dunach

Don’t know where Mrs HL was first published (and who’s to say that setting was correct) but if Aonghas Grant plays a G that’s good enough for me.

Re: Mrs Helen L MacDonald Of Dunach

According to “Bain’s Directory of Bagpipe Tunes” [ published 1983 ], “Mrs. MacDonald Of Dunach” [sic] was in only 2 collections at that time, “The Willie Ross Collection Book 1”, and “Scots Guards Collection Book 2”.
Willie Ross’s books were published between 1923 and 1950. The “Scots Guards Vol.2” as far as I can tell was published in the early 1980s, [ before 1983, to be included in “Bain’s” ] so would seem to be more recent than Ross Vol.1.
Page 10 of my edition of “Willie Ross Vol.1” has “Mrs. H.L. Macdonald of Dunach”, by W. Lawrie.
The particular note being asked about above - “the third note in the sixth bar of the third part” - as an F#.
Hope this helps.

Posted by .

Re: Mrs Helen L MacDonald Of Dunach

It is possible that Willie Lawrie intended an F# (instead of G, as in the second bar) and the Willie Ross collection got that right. It is also then possible that in compiling the Scots Guards Vol 2 there was a wee bit of sloppy transcribing so that the G of the second bar got repeated in the sixth bar. However, it is also possible that the F# in Willie Ross Vol 1 was an error and that the Scots Guards Vol 2 corrected that error.
I guess we’ll never know, but it’s good to have that information, Kenny.
Having said that, it doesn’t help me in deciding which note to play as I can hear the musical merit in both.