SMM235 I love my Jean (‘Of a’ the airts’)
Miss Admiral Gordon’s Reel: A Strathspey
William Marshall A Collection of Strathspey Reels 1781
‘I love my Jean’ is perhaps the best known of Burns’s songs based on fiddle tunes. It is set to ‘Miss Admiral Gordon’s Reel’, written by the celebrated fiddler, composer, clockmaker and factor to the Duke of Gordon, William Marshall (1748-1833). In Burns’s manuscript additions to his copy of SMM, he described Marshall as the ‘first composer of strathspeys of the age’, noting an account from ‘somebody who had it of Marshall himself, that he took the idea of his three most celebrated pieces, The Marquis of Huntly’s Reel, His Farewell and Miss Admiral Gordon’s Reel, from the old air, The German Lairdie.’ Interestingly, the adaptation of Marshall’s tune in SMM seems to have had an impact on later editions of the tune. Marshall’s 1822 Scottish Airs follows SMM in removing the many back-dotted rhythms (i.e. ‘scotch snaps’) from the second strain of the tune, giving a gentler, lilting character, perhaps more reflective of Burns’s song text. In this recording, we present Marshall’s original 1781 version.
Aaron McGregor, October 2016
Recorded by Neil McDermott
Produced by David McGuinness
Recordings ©2016 Concerto Caledonia
Licensed to University of Glasgow for non-commercial use by the Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century project, and associated projects
 D.A. Low, ed., The Scots Musical Museum: 1787-1803 (Scolar Press, 1991), Vol II, Appendix: ‘Burns’s notes on Scottish song’, 40-41.