Scotch Strathspey and Reel

From Wind Repertory Project
Percy Aldridge Grainger

Percy Aldridge Grainger (arr. Leroy Osmon)

This article is a stub. If you can help add information to it,
please join the WRP and visit the FAQ (left sidebar) for information.

General Info

Year: 1901-1911 / 1982
Duration: c. 8:10
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Four Male Voices
Publisher: TRN Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $80.00  |   Score Only (print) - $10.00


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This work was originally written for four male voices and an indeterminate number of instruments between 1901 and 1911. Its alternate title reads "Scotch Strathspey and Reel inlaid with Several Irish and Scotch Tunes and Sea-Chanty." A strathspey is a dance tune in four, similar to a hornpipe.

Scotch Strathspey and Reel makes use of melody from the sea-shanty What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor? along with six Scottish and Irish folksongs which are skillfully interwoven. Writing about Scotch Strathspey and Reel in a program note, Grainger suggests that:

If a room full of Scotch and Irish fiddlers and any nationality of chanty-singing deep-sea sailors could be spirited together and suddenly miraculously endowed with the gift of polyphonic harmonic free improvisation enjoyed for instance by South Sea Island Polynesians, a rather merry babble of tune, harmony and rhythm would result.

- Program Note from liner notes of ABC Classics CD Best of Percy Grainger

With Scotch Strathspey and Reel (1924), it is interesting to note how many Celtic dance tunes there are that are so alike in their harmonic schemes (however diverse they may be rhythmically and melodically) that any number of them can be played together at the same time and mingle harmoniously. Occasionally a sea-chanty will fit in perfectly with such a group of Celtic tunes. The underlying tune in the strathspey is Marquis of Huntley and in the reel The Reel of Tulloch (Thulichan). Of the other tunes employed in the strathspey a Scotch tune was quoted to Grainger by the painter Hugo Rumbold, and the Irish tunes are Nr. 983 and Nr. 319 in The Complete Petrie Collection of Irish Music, edited by Charles Villiers.

The sea-chanty entitled What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor? is a top-sail haulyards chanty from Mr. Charles Rosher’s collection. Its text is as follows:

1st man: What shall we do with a drunken sailor? (twice)
2nd man: Put ‘im in the long-boat and let ‘im lay there, Early in the morning.
Chorus: Way oh! and up she rises, (thrice), Early in the morning.

- Program Note from University of North Texas Concert Band concert program, 26 February 2018


State Ratings

  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: VI
  • Kansas: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • Mississippi: VI-A
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Louisville (Ky.) Wind Ensemble (Frederick Speck, conductor) - 19 November 2023
  • Golden Gate Park Band (San Francisco, Calif.) (Craig McKenzie, conductor) - 16 July 2023
  • Florida International University (Miami) Wind Ensemble (Brenton F. Alston, conductor) - 10 November 2021
  • Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Chris Chapman, conductor) – 29 October 2019
  • Pacific Lutheran University (Parkland, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Edwin Powell, conductor) – 10 March 2019
  • University of South Florida (Tampa) Wind Ensemble (Marc Sosnowchik, conductor) – 24 February 2019
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City) Symphony Band (Richard Mark Heidel, conductor) – 15 November 2018
  • Texas A&M (College Station) Wind Symphony (Timothy Rhea, conductor) – 7 October 2018
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City) Symphony Band (Mark Heidel, conductor) - 4 October 2018
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Concert Band (Jackie Townsend, conductor) – 26 February 2018
  • Troy University (Troy, Ala.) Symphony Band (Mark Walker, conductor) – 23 February 2018 (CBDNA 2018 Southern Conference, Tampa, Fla.)
  • Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) Wind Symphony (John E. Williamson, conductor) – 1 December 2016
  • Golden State Wind Orchestra (Sacramento, Calif.) (Marlon A. Ramirez, conductor) – 5 November 2016
  • Kentucky All-State Concert Band (Scott Weiss, conductor) 2012

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Grainger, P.; Osmon, L. (1982). Scotch Strathspey and Reel [score]. TRN Music: Beaumont, Tex.