In our previous issue we included a page from Robert Riddell’s 1794 publication ‘A Collection of Scots, Galwegian and Border Tunes’, as now available on Ross Anderson’s website For this issue we have chosen Riddell’s setting of ‘Torpichen’s Rant’. Riddell’s original is in G and has 6 strains; here it raised a tone to put it into a familiar pitch for pipers, and the last 2 strains, which include high c#’s, have been omitted. This tune shows to perfection the question of G#/Gnatural that Colin Ross addressed in his letter. By Riddell’s time at least, the subtleties of the change between A major and G major were being exploited and notated. Riddell however, has clearly made an error in the penultimate bar here; he has F#[G# as transposed ] at note 8, where he presumably intended to cancel his key signature F#[G#] with a natural., as edited here.

Of this tune Riddell says in his notes: “In the Southern parts of Scotland, the Rant resembled that species of composition called in the Northern parts, Ports. The one here may have been composed in honor of the family whose name it bears.” In 1794 James Sandilands (1770–1862) was Baron of Calder and 10th Lord Torphichen . The family seat is at Calder House, Mid Calder, West Lothian.