Charles Bayne, Teacher of Dancing, Dundee


I came across this interesting stone on a visit to the Howff in Dundee yesterday evening. I wondered if Mr Bayne played the fiddle – I bet he did. No doubt someone has looked into him already but I would guess that he was of fairly high status given the quality of the stone and its location. He was active around 1800. Lets see what I can find…

Here is a little more and some nice images from the Howff web site.

and here he is in a local directory for 1809:

Bayne 1809

The 1818 Dundee Directory also has him as based in Overgate n (north?)

The Scottish Music Index lists “B6 Bayne, Charles, Composer, Dancing Teacher, Dundee. Series of sets of Dance Tunes, sheet music (1802-1819)” and:


Teacher of Dancing, Dundee. Composer; publications (sheet music):(1) “The following tunes are most respectfuly dedicated to Maj. Gen. McDonald by [C.B]” (1802) [MH.e.9] (2) “Five new tunes composed by [C.B]” [AUL/NLS:MH.e.10] (3) “Five tunes composed by…[C.B.]” (1815) [Glen 348(7)] (4) “Six Fav. Scottish Dances…” (1819) [MH.e.8] (The “MH” shelfmarks are all NLS).
The SMI has links to the items including listings of each tune but I have not looked.

The Wighton Collection database is broken at present but the temporary system offers:

ID: 427 Call Number 10438
Composer: BAYNE, Charles
Title: Five new tunes
Imprint: Edinburgh: printed for the author, n.d. [1805]
Notes:… Clova by her most obedient and most humble servant Charles Bayne, teacher of dancing Dundee.” Comprises: The Hon[oura]ble. Mrs. Ogilvy’ …

ID: 428 Call Number 10438
Composer: BAYNE, Charles
Title: Four new tunes
Imprint: Edinburgh: printed for the author n.d. [1805]
Notes:… ght Infantry (or Carse of Gowrie) Volunteers, by…Charles Bayne, teacher of dancing Dundee.” Comprises: The Hon[oura]ble. L[ieutenan]t …

In January 1998 ‘Betty” posted this request for information:
“I am researching my g.g.grandfather Charles Bayne, a Dancing Master in
Dundee, Scotland in the early part of the 1800’s. I have seen some of his
notices he had inserted in the local Dundee paper, saying that he was
starting up his dancing classes again, after a “successful time in London,
where he was under the tuition of a great master of Dancing.”  The last
record I have of him is  in 1818 when his name was listed in the Dundee
Directory for that year, living at Overgate, Dundee. His youngest daughter,
Jessie married in London to William Nichols in January 1842, where  the
Marriage Certificate shows her father Charles Bayne a Dancing Master, but
does not show him as deceased.  I cannot find any record of his death in
Scotland or in England,or where he lived when in London, has anyone any
suggestions as to how I can trace his death details?”

So, from a chance encounter in a gloomy graveyard I know know a little more about another interesting character in Scottish musical history. Anyone know more?

Annie Shand (1872-1936), Negroid Corybantism and the Old National Dances of Scotland

Annie Shand

The written history of instrumental Scottish music is predominantly a male affair. However, the wealth of evidence from the early twentieth century on clearly suggests that we need to map a more balanced musical landscape.

The revival of Scottish country dancing as marked by the foundation of the Scottish Country Dance Society in 1923, for example, was steered by a group of prominent women acting as teachers, organisers, promoters, arrangers and providers of music. Within this context, a relatively small number of dance bands achieved poplar success and gained royal and aristocratic endorsement. Several of the key dance music ensembles were led by female pianists, including Annie Shand of Aberdeen.

The Bulletin of the Scottish Country Dance Society (No. 11, March 1937) reflected on her passing away in 1936:

To those of us who attended the General Meeting of the Society in Glasgow in November, it seems almost incredible to think that we shall never again have the delight of dancing to Mrs Shand’s playing. By her death, on November 28th, the Society lost a most ardent supporter, and we of the Aberdeen Branch feel her loss most keenly.

From the founding of the Society until two years ago she worked for its interests with unflagging zeal. No exertion was too hard for her if it was undertaken in the cause of Scottish Country Dancing; nothing delighted her more than to be asked for her help, and she was always willing to turn out in fair weather or foul to come and play in some remote country village or for some struggling Guide Company. Her enthusiasm, indeed, led her to overtax her strength, and in March 1935 she had to give up her work. This period of enforced idleness was a misery to her, but through it all she retained her intense interest in our doings, and after every meeting and every party some of us had always to go “to tell Mrs Shand all about it”. It was a joy to everyone that she recovered sufficiently to be able to attend last year’s Summer and Autumn Schools, and to play for us again in her own inimitable fashion. She was so much more than merely a Scottish Country Dance pianist – she was an artist. Her knowledge of the dances and of their technique was profound, and this knowledge enabled her to give each separate dance its own special lilt and rhythm.

One thing we have to be thankful for – that she was able to make records of so many of our dance tunes. Modern Science has earned our gratitude by making it possible for future generations to hear the finest Scottish pianist of our day, while those who knew and loved her can switch on our gramophones and see, in fancy, her charming smile as we hear the blithe beat of Petronella or the stately measures of Glasgow Highlanders, played by her magic fingers.

 Time Magazine (8 October 1934) wrote one of her most noted royal commissions :

At comfortable Balmoral Castle in Scotland King George and Queen Mary had with them their youngest child, Prince-George, and his fiancée, the lovely Princess Marina. There, too, were her father and mother, Prince Nicholas and Princess Helen of Greece, for whom the King-Emperor has developed a great affection. It was all very jolly….. At Balmoral was held the Gillies’ Ball, for the 270 footmen, housemaids, gamekeepers, beaters and guides of the estate. With seven pipers skirling “Hielan’ Laddie,” the royal party entered the great hall. Over her jeweled gown Queen Mary wore a taffeta shoulder sash of Royal Stuart tartan. In the musicians’ gallery was King George’s favourite dance orchestra, Mrs. Annie Shand’s Band from Aberdeen, which has played at every servants’ ball at Balmoral since the War. Mrs. Annie Shand and her band gallantly tackled the Greek national anthem for the royal foreigners. While King George and the Archbishop of Canterbury sat looking on, royalty and servants danced the Paul Jones. There were also the Spanish gavotte and the flirtation polka, but the feature of the evening was a Highland reel by Princess Marina after only two days’ coaching in Queen Mary’s private parlour.

Annie Shand was one of the first to broadcast Scottish dance music on the BBC and she made several gramophone records as a solo pianist, as an accompanist to fiddlers and with her own ensemble. For example, the Radio Times previewed a broadcast of Annie Shand’s Dance Band on 24 November 1934 from Aberdeen:

The first broadcast of Annie Shand and her dance band was given in Aberdeen in 1923. Since then she has had many engagements, not only in Aberdeen but in Glasgow and Edinburgh. In the north-east of Scotland her band may be seen at almost every social function of importance and has had the unique distinction of playing at every Ghillies’ Ball at Balmoral during the past fifteen years. (BBC Genome)


Annie also researched, arranged and republished dance music. Her most notable collection was her book Old Scottish Music. This was reviewed in the Aberdeen Journal on 5 November 1932:

90 Dance Airs. Fascinating Collection by Mrs Shand.

A most welcome and useful dance book has been compiled by Mrs Annie Shand, the well-known Aberdeen pianist and accompanist. Her collection, which is printed by Aird and Coghill and costs only 2s. is entitled Old Scottish Music and consists of no fewer than ninety airs, which can be used as alternative tunes for the dances in the first seven books of the Scottish Country Dance Society.

With the advent of the W.R.I. and the realisation after a few years’ experience of negroid corybantism, the old national dances of Scotland have come into favour again. There are scores of these dances and hundreds of airs for them, of which more or less, the Scottish dance Society’s publications, naturally, can only give one for each measure. Mrs Shand’s book, by providing at least one option for eighty-four sets is bound to enhance considerably the pleasure of dancing these old dances.

Her collection is drawn from a great variety of celebrated composers and collections, like Niel Gow and his son Nathaniel Gow; his pupil Donald Dow; and from McGlashan, Marshall, Pringle, Simon Fraser, Lowe and others. There is a good one “Meldrum House,” by Mr Shand and another by A. Walker, Castle Newe, “Birnam Hall”. Some are old Scots song airs, like “Polwart on the Green,” “The Deuks Dang ower my Daddie,” and “The Moudiewart,” which appeared in song books that were published over 200 years ago, and preceded the earliest dance books. There are also some tunes from manuscript belonging to Ian C. B. Jamieson.

All of these tunes Mrs Shand has arranged and adapted, with a simple bass part “to suit the needs of the amateur pianist” by Mrs Shand. They will be found to be admirably done, as indeed we would expect from one with such a long and expert experience of accompaniment work. We hope that Mrs Shand will arrange still another set of alternatives for the Scottish Country Dance Books. There is ample material in the eighteenth century collections alone, and most –though not all –of the measures can be danced to a few tunes.

The introduction to the collection noted that “A chord must be played for the bow and curtsey, if these tunes are used at the beginning of the dance.” and “A simple bass part is given to suit the needs of the amateur pianist.”

On her death, Mrs Shand bequeathed money to the Scottish Country Dance association and her books and gramophone records to the Aberdeen Branch of the SCDS (Aberdeen Journal 16 January 1937).



What about the wee books?


As researchers and lovers of the mystery and history of Scottish fiddle music we rightly privilege the great collections of the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. So many tunes that make up the Scottish fiddle canon can be be traced back to first publication there and we always like to refer their provenance as a mark of pedigree and measure of the durability of the Scottish tradition. It is great to see that the great heritage of such publications is, at last, receiving systematic analysis through The Scottish Fiddle Index, the Bass Culture project, Ronnie Gibson’s research and other initiatives.

However, the classic collection were produced in relatively short editions (I speculate) and were expensive affairs produced for a relatively small and elite group of musicians. If we wish to understand fiddle music as actually played today and within the recent past, we must recognise that the musicians receiving our attention only rarely learned and played their music directly from these early editions. Those who did so were exceptional, individuals who deliberately sought them out in libraries, archives and private collections. Accepting that most fiddle/violin players in Scotland played and learned from both the printed page and by ear to varying degrees, it is important, therefore, to consider ust where they took their written music from.

From the mid-nineteenth century onward publishers began to issue less expensive anthologies of violin music at prices starting from as little one penny. This was enabled by new, industrialised printing processes, inexpensive papers and efficient distribution methods.


By the 1870s there was a parallel explosion of ownership of musical instruments encouraged by mass production, importation from European manufacturing centres, efficient mail-order and purchase on easy terms. This boom was sustained by improved housing conditions, increased disposable income, enhanced leisure time and new opportunities for learning and communal music making.


Scotland was a key player in this new wave of popular publication and Glasgow was clearly a major centre with James Kerr, Cameron and Co., Mozart Allan and others. By this time the new collections included modern watzes, mazurkas, marches, polkas and other tune types along with jigs, reels and strathspeys and traditional airs recast for quadrilles and other new dances. Many collections also included musical primers and tutors catering for the new and self-teaching instrumentalist. The success of this output, which has never been studied in great depth (I did look at this area in my work on the free-reed instruments) can be measured by the fact that many editions were still in print well  into the twentieth century.

From our twenty first century, post folk revival viewpoint we look back on such publications as marginal to ‘authentic’ Scottish music culture. However, I would suggest that it was to these modest and accessible books that the majority of amateur players of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century turned on a day to day basis and that if we are to truly understand Scottish music as was played and heard in the twentieth century then we should give due attention to them as essential sources.


Of course, other, more ‘substantial’ collections of Scottish fiddle music were being issued, such as James Scott Skinner’s Scottish Violinist and others but, from the perspective I propose, these should be viewed as exceptions rather typical. They were, in part, a  reaction to the popular books as their compilers saw the need to offer more ‘genuine’ selections of fiddle music. That said, even Skinner, with all his ideological commitment to developing a new modern Scottish fiddle voice, was not averse to arranging and publishing collections of popular and continental music too.

I will look at popular publishing again in due due course but meanwhile wonder what others think.

Bonnie Brux


Just occasionally, my professional, academic and recreational interests in traditional music performance and history come together with those of architectural conservation. In this case, very poignantly, although with what seems to be a happy ending in one respect.

I came across this derelict building near Alford, Aberdeenshire, while researching on historic buildings at risk for Historic Scotland and noting that it had been visited by a number of urban explorers. Now, I do not condone the entering of private and often dangerous property but do agree that such action can, at times, be an important way of drawing attention to otherwise unappreciated heritage.


In this case the building was the former, no doubt happy, home of Sir Ewan Forbes, a rural GP highly influential in Scottish Country Dance from the 1930s onwards. As Elizabeth Forbes Sempill, he was noted also as a fine reciter in Doric who recorded for Beltona, a fiddle player and a player of clarsach. Much has been written about him elsewhere (but sadly little about the musical aspects).

I am always troubled to see the interior of homes abandoned on the owner’s passing and subsequent decay, whether by nature or neglect. What is particularly moving here are a couple of music related images such as that above which shows a ruined piano, abandoned Scottish dance music and a Beltona 78 rpm record, probably from the 1930s. There is also a photograph of a record by the famous Tim Wright Band of fiddlers.


I feel it is fine to show this material now as it seems the house is now well loved once more. As always, it is tragic that buildings have to pass through such a state before resurrection, and that they are left containing the fading material memories of the life they once contained. Sad too that no one had thought to record, cherish and archive the fragments while we had the chance.


The above images have been used, without permission, from the following web sites where there is further information.

See: Ewan Forbes, The Dancers of Don, (Aberdeen, 1989). I will be writing on Forbes in another place.

BBC Genome Project

The BBC Genome Project is an essential resource for anyone researching Scottish traditional music post 1923 as it contains a wealth of details of radio and television broadcasts. From it I even learned (why did I not know?) that I was once a BBC Radio 3 Artist of the Week! (January 1995) By was of illustration here is information on a fiddle music series Dancing Fiddles from 1989:

Dancing Fiddles

Introduced by Ron Gonnella with George Mcllwham , Rhona MacKay , Angus Cameron. Walter Blair and Graham Robb
Producer KEN MUTCH BBC Radio Scotland 21 June 1989

Dancing Fiddles

Introduced by Ron Gonnella with George McIlwham , Rhona MacKay , Angus Cameron , Walter Blair and Graham Robb
Producer KEN MUTCH BBC Radio Scotland 28 June 1989

Dancing Fiddles

Introduced by Ron Gonnella with George Mcllwham , Rhona MacKay , Angus Cameron , Walter Blair and Graham Robb
Producer KEN MUTCH BBC Radio Scotland 5 July 1989

Dancing Fiddles

Introduced by Ron Gonnella with George Mcllwham , Rhona Mackay , Angus Cameron , Walker Blair and Graham Robb
Producer KEN MUTCH
BBC Radio Scotland (R) 14 June 1989

The Dancing Fiddles

Ron Gonnella introduces a lively mixture of traditional music from the Crieff Hydro Hotel, Perthshire, in the company of George Mcllwham (flute/piccolo), Rhona MacKay (harp/clarsach), Angus Cameron (fiddle), Walter Blair (piano) and Graham Robb (double bass). Producer KEN MUTCH BBC Radio Scotland 31 May 1989


More Traditional Music v. Jazz

As previous posts show, my research is throwing up some interesting references to attitudes to jazz in Scotland in the 1920s and 30s, how this was seen as a threat to traditional music and how our native folk music was an antidote to this foreign infection. F. Marian McNeill, writing in the Scotsman on 28 September 1933, offered the Celtic harp as ideal alternative to the modern music:

The re-awakening of the national spirit in Scotland to-day is affecting every department of the national life, and the sap is stirring down in the ancient Celtic roots of our civilisation. To a palate jaded with jazz, how grateful the mellow, woodland notes of the clarsach.

This is fairly new ground in Scottish traditional music studies and I plan to return to the theme in some depth in future.

George Harvey-Webb


At long last I’ve found a photograph of this elusive fiddle player. Piecing together recent cultural history takes time and effort but is always rewarding when things start to fall into place. The photograph is from a newspaper article which can be read in the area of this blog dedicated to Harvey-Webb.