The Cave of Gold (Snow, Jonathan)

Sheet Music


PDF typeset by J. Snow
J. Snow (2012/2/28)

PDF typeset by J. Snow
J. Snow (2012/2/28)

Editor J. Snow
Publisher. Info. J. Snow
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General Information

Work Title The Cave of Gold
Alternative. Title
Composer Snow, Jonathan
I-Catalogue NumberI-Cat. No. IJS 1
Movements/SectionsMov'ts/Sec's 7
Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp. 1610 ?
Composer Time PeriodComp. Period Modern
Piece Style Modern
Instrumentation Great Highland Bagpipe

Navigation etc.

"The Cave of Gold" is a traditional tune for the Great Highland Bagpipe. It falls in the "classical" genre of bagpipe music, which is known as piobaireachd (pronounced "pibroch").

This tune is not found in the Kilberry or Piobaireachd Society books, and is not part of the modern repertoire. The primary source for this setting is a book called The Piobaireachd of Simon Fraser with Canntaireachd, edited by Dr. B. J. MacLachlan Orme, pages 166-167 (self-published, 2nd ed. 1985). Orme attributes the tune to Donald Mor MacCrimmon (ca. 1570-1640).

The present setting follows the Orme/Fraser setting more or less exactly. The setting is modernized somewhat. The only substantive difference is that in the present setting most of the GED cadences in the urlar (ground, or first movement) have been changed to GEG cadences. This follows the playing of Murray Henderson in his recorded version of the tune (Worlds Greatest Pipers, Vol.4, Track 8, Lismore,1985). Henderson's recording of the tune may be heard in it's entirety on the website of the Piobaireachd Society (direct link to tune).

There is very little difference between the various published versions of this tune. All but one of them expressly point to Simon Fraser as their source, and it is possible that Fraser is the source for all the published versions.

In addition to the Orme book, there is a published setting of "The Cave Of Gold" in The Empire Collection of Pipe Tunes and Tunes for the Pipes, compiled by J. D. Ross Watt, Volume 7, pp. 93-93 (Paterson's Publications Ltd., 1936). This setting attributes the tune to "Pat Mor", presumeably Patrick Mor MacCrimmon (ca.1595-1670), son of Donald Mor. Watt further states that his setting was "Contributed by S. Frazer 8/11/10". Watt's setting does not show a repeat of the first line of the ground, but this is likely an error, since there is a repeat shown in subsequent variations.

"The Cave of Gold" is also published in two books edited by G. F. Ross. The first, entitled "Some Piobaireachd Studies", pp. 38 (Peter Henderson Ltd., 1926), states that the tune was "communicated by Mr. Simon Fraser of Melbourne, Australia". The second Ross book, entitled "A Collection of MacCrimmon and other Piobaireachd", pp.22-23 (Peter Henderson, Ltd., 1929), dates the tune to "Probably about 1610", and attributes it to Donald Mor MacCrimmon).

This tune was also apparently published in "The Voice" magazine, which is the official magazine of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association. The tune was printed in the Summer 1996 issue, notated by Jimmy McIntosh.

The Glencoe Collection of Bagpipe Music, Book 2, by W. M. MacDonald (1999) also contains a setting of the tune.

The National Library of Scotland has a manuscript copy of "The Cave of Gold" by A. G. Kenneth (MS. 22134). Mr. Kenneth was a well-known 20th century piping scholar affiliated with the Piobaireachd Society.

Thanks go to Ceol Sean for making many old pipe tune books available, as well as to Dr. William Donaldson for his extensive piobaireachd index. -- JNS 2/22/12