The MacDougall's Gathering

Fraser Fifield

Musical arrangement, soprano sax, low whistle, clarinet and keyboard: Fraser Fifield

The composer of this piece isn't known. The following notes are thanks to the Piobaireachd Society ( ) :

A classic gathering tune which starts with 4 cherede movements (double echo's on E) ... some have thought this may represent the clan piper standing and playing them, facing north, south, east then west. The tune however may have an alternative title, no longer known. In the original sources (Angus MacKay, Angus MacArthur) the tune is given no name. An unknown writer (not Angus Mackay) who wrote "Fraser's Salute" against Catherine's Lament in Angus MacKay's index to the MacArthur manuscript, also wrote MacDougall's Salute against this tune.

The lovely (and irregular) Ground is followed by Taorluath and Crunluath variations. However despite being a relatively short tune, there are number of technical and musical challenges for the piper, and for this reason it has for generations been played at the highest level in compeititon.

The MacDougall chiefs share a common ancestry with the chiefs of Clan Donald in descent from Somerled of the 12th century. In the 13th century the Clan MacDougall (whose chiefs were the original Lords of Argyll and later Lords of Lorne) was the most powerful clan in the Western Highlands.

During the Wars of Scottish Independence the MacDougalls sided with the Clan Comyn whose chiefs rivaled Robert the Bruce for the Scottish Crown, and this resulted in clan battles between the MacDougalls and Bruce. This marked the MacDougall's fall from power and led to the rise of their relatives, the Clan Donald, who had supported Bruce - and also the rise to power of the Clan Campbell who were the habitual enemies of the MacDougalls and Clan Donald.

The MacDougalls supported the House of Stuart during the Scottish Civil War of the 17th century and during the Jacobite risings of the 18th century.

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