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Sullivan Ross Volume 1

Sullivan Ross Volume 1 (Violin and Bagpipe Music), by Sullivan Ross 
A restored edition with notes by John Donald Cameron, Edited by Colin Blyth
Hardcover, 144 pages. Iolair Publishing 2010. ISBN 978-0-9641804-4-4
The Sullivan Ross Collection of Violin and Bagpipe music, now in the Canadian Museum of Civilization, is a unique window into the music of the rural southern Ontario of 1850 to 1900. It includes four books of music handwritten by Sullivan Ross during those years – a total of 490 pages, containing about 1300 tunes (volumes 2, 3 and 4 have pipe music only). Most of the tunes have been arranged by Sullivan, many of them extensively; these pages describe the way he played them. At least six of the pipe tunes are his own compositions – he is believed to be the first Canadian composer of bagpipe music. Also in the collection is Sullivan's copy of the Donald Macdonald 1831 printed book of bagpipe music, which is the only known surviving copy of its edition.
  Sullivan's pages are now hard to read, some of them very hard, mostly because the ink has bled through the paper during the past 100+ years. This adds to each page a reverse print, of varying strength, of what is on the other side of that leaf. For this edition, the pages have been scanned at 300 dpi and Photoshop used to erase what shouldn't be there, restoring each page to the way it looked when Sullivan wrote it – neatly, legibly, and with the titles in elegant handwriting.
  Added for this edition are some pages of violin music in Sullivan's hand that are still held by the Ross family – the 26 pages of a small book and four loose sheets. Also added is an index with John Donald Cameron's notes on the tunes and on Sullivan's musicianship.
  A short biography of Sullivan has been written for this edition by Alexander M. Ross, a grandson. Sullivan Ross (1828 - 1904) was born near Dornoch on the northeast coast of Scotland, and came to Canada as a child, with his family. They cleared the bush for a 75 acre farm at Harrington, 9 miles south of Stratford, Ontario. Sullivan inherited the farm and farmed it for the rest of his life. He was a popular violin player, and a violin maker. He learned the pipes shortly after 1850 and became a very successful competition piper, and later judge of piping, at Highland Games around southern Ontario. Charles Gordon (the novelist Ralph Connor) in his book Postscript to Adventure, New York, Farrar & Rinehart 1938, wrote about Sullivan's musicianship and the violins he made – one of these, dated 1896, is in the Museum. Sullivan was the Gordons' nearest neighbor when Charles was growing up.

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