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Music During Jacobite Rebellion Or Rising

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Discuss about the Music During Jacobite Rebellion or Rising.




The Jacobite Rebellion or the Jacobite Rising was highly romanticized in songs and music. However, in reality the rebellion was much more a bleaker affair that was marked by divisive and bloody uprisings, battles and rebellions. The Jacobite rebellion was unsuccessful in restoring the Stuarts of throne and this had ultimately lead to one of the most tragic battles- the Battle of Culloden (Fuselier). The battle had changed the communities entirely, including the infrastructure of the Highlands as well and that too forever. This essay will elaborate on the music of those times.

When the Jacobite Rebellion took place, the traditional music of Scotland was completely marginalized but was remained as a living tradition (Weber). The status of marginal was changed by the Hamish Henderson, Peter Kennedy and Alan Lomax via collecting records, radio programs and publications. Few of the popular acts of those times include Jimmy MacBeath, John Strachan, FloraMacColl and Jeannie Robertson. By the year 1750, there were Italians residents in the Scotland who used to work both as a composers and performers (Edwards). They include Giusto Tenducci, Fransesco Barsanti and Nicolo Pasquali. One of the very important composers of that era was Thomas Erskine, the sixth Earl of Kellie. He was also considered as the first known Scot who have produced symphony. One of the popular musicians of those times was Charles Stewart. He features in a great legacy of Gaelic poetry and songs; bagpipe and fiddle music and some tunes such as that of ‘My King Has I Landed in Moidart’, ‘The Roses of Prince Charlie’ and ‘Charlie’s Welcome’ (Fox). He celebrated Charlie alone in all these tunes. Various other tunes like ‘John Roy Stewart’ include various other Jacobites as well who were involved in the Jacobite uprising or rebellion of 1745 (Rorke). During his march towards Edinburgh from Glenfinnnan, the army of Charles outwitted the General- Sir John Cope as he decided to occupy the Inverness other than taking battle and this was leading to satirical tunes and songs on ‘Johnny Cope’. In the December of 1945, the Jacobite army turned back from Derby in resignation as they then realized that they will be unable to take over the Hanoverian regime of London completely. When the Jacobites retreated to Inverness and Scotland, the forces of Hanoverian mustered and went to North. In the year 1746, both the Jacobite army and the Hanoverian forces met at the moor of Culloden, which was four miles towards the east of the Inverness. A very violent battle was fought between the two in which the Jacobites were slaughtered by the army under the Duke of Cumberland’s command (Paoletti). This defeat of Jacobites and Charlie’s conquest flight is also commemorated in the poetry and songs and that had led to several changes in the lifestyles of the Islands and Highlands and had also destructed the clan system entirely. There were several songs that were dealing with the famous Jacobite revolution and they all came from various notable figures including Robert Burns in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of those songs include Lady Corline Nairne and James Hogg. According to REGAN, it is a misconception that bagpipes were banned or declined after the battle of Culloden. In fact, bagpipes and several other social activities were that used to underpin the culture of Gaelic were all discouraged by the Act of Proscription in 1746 and the Hanoverian forces that then occupied the Highlands. Everything was disputed including the social way of living life, the clan system, patronage, the family based hierarchy, power, and everything had changed forever. By the end of the 19th century, all these social changes had formed the Highland societies of London, Scotland and Falkirk. The very first bagpipe competition was then held in the year 1781 and was named as Tryst. It was held for more than three days. It was held in the spirit of time preservation, the rising of Romantic Movement and the stemming from the principles of enlightenment.


Hence it can be concluded that the Jacobite Rebellion and the final Culloden war had a great impact on the traditional music of Scotland, not least of that were the widespread rule of military in the Islands and the Highlands, the Gaelic culture erosion including the pipes music and eventually the clearing away of the people in order to make a path for much more profitable sheep on that land.



Edwards, Thomas Hayward. "‘So much neglected?’An investigation and re-evaluation of vocal music in Edinburgh 1750–1800." (2015).

Fox, Adam. "Jockey and Jenny: English broadside ballads and the invention of Scottishness." Huntington Library Quarterly79.2 (2016): 201-220.

Fuselier, Kathyrn. ‘The Best Laid Plans’: French and British Diplomatic Strategy in the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Diss. Vanderbilt University, 2017.

Paoletti, Ciro. "The Battle of Culloden: A Pivotal Moment in World History." Journal of Military History 81.1 (2017).

REGAN, PATRICK. The Great Highland Bagpipe in the Eastern United States: inception, development, and perpetuation. Diss. Durham University, 2016.

Rorke, Mary Gordon. A Full, Particular and True Account of the Rebellion in the Years 1745-6 by Dougal Graham. The man, the myth and the modus operandi. Diss. University of Glasgow, 2017.

Weber, Marlene. "Building Scotland in Literature. Sir Walter Scott and Diana Gabaldon. Scottish Nation and Nationalism." (2016).


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