A Repertoire Timeline | Bowing Down Home

It is difficult to determine what the Island repertoire might have been at any given point in the past. We do have a couple of documents, however, that shed some light on the subject.

In the Guardian’s coverage of the Great Fiddle Contest of 1926, the reporter makes mention of the following tunes. Because radio was just beginning to appear on the Island at this time, this list offers a glimpse of what the fiddle repertoire was like prior to the media age.

Caber Feidh

College Hornpipe

Devil’s Dream

Fisher’s Hornpipe

Flowers of Edinburgh

Johnny Cope

Lord McDonald’s Reel

Miss McLeod’s Reel (i.e., Mrs. McLeod of Rasay)

Old Man and Old Woman

Paddy on the Turnpike

Pigeon on the Gatepost

Queens Marriage (an alternative name for Pride of the Ball)

Scoldin’ Wife (possibly Growlin’ Old Man & Cacklin’ Old Woman)

Soldier’s Joy

Speed the Plow

In a hand-written document now stored at the PEI Archives, fiddler George Chappelle listed some of the tunes he played regularly on his radio show in the late 1930s, just prior to the Don Messer era. Because Messer had such a strong influence on Island repertoire after 1939, it is important to know which tunes were in circulation before that date. Here are the tunes Chappelle listed:

Big John MacNeil

Drunken Piper, The

Father O’Flynn

Irish Washerwoman

Larry’ O’Gaff

Maid Behind the Bar, The

Miramichi Fire, The

Money Musk

Ottawa [Valley] Reel, The

Paddy on the Turnpike

St. Anne’s Reel

The Don Messer Legacy

Here are some of the many tunes introduced to the PEI repertoire as a result of Don Messer’s live performances, broadcasts, and recordings.

Blue Mountain Hornpipe by Cec MacEachern

Bowin’ the Strings by Ned Landry

Cotton-Eyed Joe

Country Waltz

Dawn Waltz, The by Don Messer

Johnny Wagoner

Little Burnt Potato

Londonderry Hornpipe

Lord Alexander

Mother’s Reel

Mouth of the Tobique

Parry Sound Reel

Rippling Water Jig, The

Rock Valley Jig

Rubber Dolly

Silver & Gold

Smile a While by Don Messer

Walkin Uptown

Whalen’s Breakdown

White River Stomp

The Cape Breton Influence

Here are some tunes that were first introduced to the PEI repertoire through Cape Breton recordings and broadcasts.

Anne MacQuarrie's Reel by Donald Angus Beaton

Anne Marie MacDonald's Jig by Joey Beaton

Brenda Stubbert. by Jerry Holland

Cape Breton Symphony's Welcome to the Shetlands, The by Willie Hunter

Dancing Fingers

Dismissal, The by Sandy MacLean.

Donald Cameron’s Reel by Dan R MacDonald

Dusky Meadow Strathspey

Fr. Francis Cameron by John Campbell

Garmot Smiddy by Dan R. MacDonald

Glennfiddich Strathspey by Carl MacKenzie

Glencoe March, The by Dan R MacDonald

Goldenrod Jig by Wilfred Gillis

Heather on the Hill by Dan R MacDonald

Hughie Shortie's Reel by Johnny Wilmot

Jimmy MacKinnon of Smelt Brook

John Angus Beaton Strathspey by Kinnon Beaton

Johnny Muise's Reel by Jerry Holland

Joys of Mabou Mines, The

Judique Jig

Judique Reel

Margaree Reel

Mortgage Burn, The Gordon MacLean

Miss Mary Stephanie MacLean by Dan R. MacDonald

My Great Friend John Morris by Brenda Stubbert

Mrs. Beattie Wallace by Dan R MacDonald

Polo March, The

Regina Stubbert's Jig by Brenda Stubbert

Robert Stubbert by Jerry Holland

Sandy MacIntyre's March by Donald Angus Beaton

Sandy MacIntyre’s Trip to Boston by John Campbell

Sister Dolena Beaton by Howie MacDonald

Space Available by Marcel Doucet

Stan's Jig by Stan Chapman

Stella’s Trip to Kamloops by Patricia Chafe.

Southern Melody

Sweetness of Mary, The by Joan MacDonald Boes

Theresa MacLellan Reel by Elmer Briand

Trip to Windsor by Dan R MacDonald

West Mabou Reel