A Chord Ian!:

Original compositions by Ian R Muir (Craigellachie)

Over the long time that I have been playing Scottish Dance music I have ventured into the world of composing many times. I have been lucky enough to have some of my compositions published in the Deeay collections of dance music collated and published by Doug Adamson of Forfar whilst several others have been used as originals for specific Scottish Country Dances. Grasping the possibilities presented by digital media I have decided to share more of my music together with some of the stories that lie behind the tunes via Craigellachie’s web site.

When I was at Teacher Training college in Bath I played for a number of the RSCDS Bath Branch classes taught by John Baker. He would always prepare the dancers to move to the music with “A chord Ian!” – a very clever pun as of course I was indeed playing an accordion!!. I have always looked for the opportunity to use his phrase in a musical offering and this seemed the ideal moment in time. I do hope that you enjoy this collection. I will hopefully be adding to it over the coming months.

Harmonisation of the tunes in this collection.

The convention for the chords that appear this collection of music places the bass note first then the chord. Where there is only a single capital Letter then the bass and the chord are the same. Where there is a forward slash then this indicates that the Chord will be the same as the previous beat and that the Bass note will be the 5th of the chord. For example:

G     /     would denote G bass and chord for the first half of the bar followed by D in the bass and a G chord for the second half.

The tunes have been chorded principally aimed at pianos/keyboards. If you are new to the more complex harmonies indicated by the chord extensions (for example E6, Bm7, A7+, Gmaj7) it is the first two letters of the chord symbol which are ‘key’. Where numbers exist the note is calculated by counting the notes from the root of the chord. For example, C6 would contain the notes C,, E, G, A, Bm7 – B, D, F#, A. ‘maj 7’ indicates it is the major version of the chord. Gma7 – G, B, D, F# – the F# being the major 7th note and not the more usual minor 7th in 7th chords. Accordionists will find some of the chords use extensions that are not available on the instrument (for example Bm7, A7+) it is the first two letters of the chord which are most appropriate. Some of the bass and chord combinations are challenging. In this case decide whether it is the bass note or the chord that you feel is important. You might have to ‘fudge’ the aspect that you feel is not important. For example F#/b7 – if in the sequence the F# is important it might be more natural, and therefore easier to use the D chord instead of the Bm chord.


Angus McAulay of Newbury.

Angus McAulay at Sherborne

Angus, sadly no long with us, was the main reason that Craigellachie came into being. I first met him at the second dance I ever played for with McBain’s Band for the Newbury Caledonian Society’s Autumn dance in 1974. Angus was a fellow ‘box’ player and an atomic scientist working at Aldermaston. He suggested that it would be good to have a regular ‘Friday Night Hop’ and why didn’t I get some of my musical friends along to play. I was intrigued by this notion as I was beginning to have yearnings for my own band. These Friday nights were a great success and the band was usually 3 – 6 players depending on who was available. Alan Humberstone of McBain’s band was usually on the piano in these early days, with myself on accordion, and Jonathon Olive (a student at the school that I was teaching at) on fiddle. It was from a recording of one of these evenings that the band got its first gig in Sherborne Dorset with Alan on piano, myself on accordion and Barbara Manning on fiddle. Later musicians who joined us included Judith Robertson and her brother Ian. This tune was one of my first efforts at composition long before my own band existed. In the early days Angus would always come to as many of the band’s gigs as he could. He was always very generous of his time and talents encouraging us, as well building us several amplification set-ups – usually from the ‘bits and pieces’ that he had in his garage. I was particularly pleased that at his funeral his wife, Sheena asked if I could play for Angus – and it was to his own tune that he was finally laid to rest.

Caroline’s Birthday Bash.

Composed for Caroline Hamilton on the occasion of a ‘big’ birthday. Wife of Graham Hamilton drummer with Craigellachie and long-time friend.

The Deane’s of Winchester.

Composed for dancing friends Peter and Sheila Deane of Winchester who regularly danced at the Basingstoke Scottish Country Dance Club.

The Deanes of Winchester. (Ian MUir (Accordion), Barbara Manning (Fiddle), Liz Muir (Piano), Graham Hamilton (Drums) from Craigellachie in Oxford.

The Hills of West Hampstead.

The Hills of West Hampstead. Ian Muir (Accordion & Piano)

Written for Jeremy and Grace Hill who at the time lived in West Hampstead. Of course there are also other hills in West Hampstead!

Kate’s Internet Connection.

Written for a friend who’s Internet connection always seemed to be rather unreliable in the late 90s.

Nit-Nurse Napper.

Written for good friend Aileen Napper on the occasion of a ‘special’ birthday. Ailleen worked as a school nurse on the Isle of Wight and was given this rather affectionate name by her work colleagues. On the evening of the celebration there was a big banner outside of the hall where the celebrations took place which told all that this was ‘Knit-Nurse Napper’s Birthday’. It seemed that one day this would be rather apt title for a tune. It was also coincidental that Craig Houston-Donald devised a dance for Aileen (The Borower) and this was the tune that was composed for it and the title now had a musical companion. More about the tune and the dance here.

Florence Nightingale’s Reel.

This tune was composed for the Dance of the same name celebrating 200 years of the Florence Nightingale nurses.

Florence Nightingale’s Reel – Acc 1, Acc 2, Acc 3, Piano, Bass (Accordion and piano Ian Muir)
Florence Nightingale’s Reel – Acc 2, Acc 3, Piano, Bass (Accordion and piano Ian Muir)
Florence Nightingale’s Reel – Acc 1, Acc 2, Acc 3, (Accordion Ian Muir)

Mick’s Reel.

Mick’s Reel – Acc 1, Acc 2 (Ian Muir), Fiddle 1, 2 and 3 (Micah Thompson), Piano, Bass (Judith Muir)
Mick’s Reel – Acc 2 (Ian Muir), Fiddle 1, 2 and 3 (Micah Thompson), Piano, Bass (Judith Muir)
Mick’s Reel – Acc 1, Acc 2 (Ian Muir), Fiddle 1, 2 and 3 (Micah Thompson)

Composed for Mick Rawlings with grateful thanks to him for helping me out with my cars over the years.


Frideswide Square.

Frideswide Square is in Oxford and forms a large and very busy roundabout and is named after the patron saint of Oxford, St Frideswide. The square is a major traffic hub in Oxford and is often a traffic bottleneck.

Frideswide Square. Ian R Muir (Piano)

Judith’s Strathspey.

Composed for Judith my very patient wife. This is the original tune for Dance Ysobel Stewart of Fish Hoek devised by Mervyn Short and published in RSCDS Book 52

Oor Ali.

Oor Ali. (Ian R Muir Accordion & Piano)

Composed for good friend and fiddle player with Craigellachie Ali McCan.

The Love of My Life.

Composed for my lovely wife Judith when I realised, too late, that I had forgotten to get her a birthday present!! We were playing at one of the Summer Tuesday dances and this appeared in one of the sets of music without her knowing. She asked whether it was , in fact, for a steam locomotive knowing that they were also a ‘love of my life’!

Dennis and Diana the ‘Diamond Duet’.

Dennis and Diana the ‘Diamond Duet’: Acc 1, Acc 2, Acc3, Piano, Bass (Ian Muir)
Dennis and Diana the ‘Diamond Duet’: Acc 2, Acc3, Piano, Bass (Ian Muir)
Dennis and Diana the ‘Diamond Duet’: Acc 1, Acc 2, Acc3, (Ian Muir)

Composed for Dennis and Diana Tucker who celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in 2016. This is the original tune for the Diamond Duet devised by Mick and Trish Rawlings.


Mickantrish. (Ian R Muir Accordion & Piano)

Composed for Mick and Trish Rawlings of Middle Barton Oxfordshire.


The Last Train to Ryde.

Last Train to Ryde: Acc1 (Ian Muir), Acc 2 (John Browne), Fiddle 1 (Keith Anderson), Fiddle 2 (Ali McCan), Fiddle 3, Piano, Bass (Judith Muir) , Drums (Graham Hamilton)
Last Train to Ryde: Acc 2 (John Browne), Fiddle 1 (Keith Anderson), Fiddle 2 (Ali McCan), Fiddle 3, Piano, Bass (Judith Muir) , Drums (Graham Hamilton)
Class 483 on Ryde Pier in the last few months of service. Ian Muir
Class 484 and 483 units alongside each other at Ryde St John’s Road Traincare Depot.

Since a young age I have always had an interest in railways and in particular the railways of the Isle of Wight. Once an extensive network of over 60 miles only the 7 mile Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin Line remains together with the 5 miles of the Heritage line – The Isle of Wight Steam Railway of which I have been a member for over 50 years! The Last Train to Ryde, a recent composition to mark the upgrading of Island Lines trains here on the Isle of Wight which took place during 2021. The Class 483 “’38 Stock” ran on  Island Line services between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin from 1989 – 2021. Originally in service with London Underground from 1938 there were, at the the end of their service on the Island, the oldest passenger vehicles still in public service on national rail. In true Island tradition they have been replaced by Class 484 trains, former London Underground ‘D’ stock, extensively refurbished, which ran on the District Line from 1976,


Blebo House

Blebo House. Acc 1, Acc 2, Piano, Bass – Ian Muir (Accordion & Piano)
Blebo House. Acc 2, Piano, Bass – Ian Muir (Accordion & Piano)
Blebo House. Acc 1, Acc 2, – Ian Muir (Accordion)

Blebo House is in Fife not far from St Andrews. The Band stayed in the gate-house cottage when we were up for our second broadcast from Aberdeen’s Beechgrove studios.

Luggin’ the Amp

Many will know of Neil Barron’s well-known tune ‘Luggin the Box’ which celebrates the Accordion player’s task of always ‘luggin the box’ wherever he goes! This tune was written for one of the Oxford RSCDS dancers who always insisted on carrying our very heavy amplifier out to the car at the end of the evening. It seemed only right, therefore, to compose a tune reflecting his very welcome deed. So that is how ‘Luggin the Amp’ came to be composed. Thanks Chris!

70 And Still Dancing!

This was composed for the RSCDS Winchester Branch 70th celebrations in 2022

Long Island Spiced Tea:

Another tune for Judith, and a birthday present – one I remembered this time! This is the original tune for the dance Mia Mi Amiga devised for Judith by great friend Craig Houston-Donald in August 2023. Craig and partner Graham live in Gran Canaria and on one of our visits there introduced us to the ‘Cocktail hour’ and in particular Long Island Spiced Tea – one of Judith’s favourites.

Micah Thompson of Mile End

Micah played fiddle in the band for a number of years before leaving to go travelling with his girlfriend. This tune is the original tune for the dance City Lights published by the RSCDS in Book 52

Micah – fiddle, Judith Keyboard, Ian M – Accordion playing at the RSCDS AGM in Aberdeen 2013

Micah Thompson of Mile End: Ian Muir (Accordion & Piano)


The Middle Barton Two-Step:

This Two-Step composed for Mick and Trish Rawlings of Middle Barton in Oxfordshire – great friends and followers of the band.

The Keith Anderson Two-Step

Composed for Keith Anderson Fiddle player in Craigellachie – an inspirational player and good friend.


The Director’s Peaked Cap

When I was playing for classes at the RSCDS Summer School in 2011 the halls that I was allocated to play at did not have very good parking – essential for an accordionist – as in that year musicians changed halls at coffee time. Margo Priestly who was Director of Summer School insisted on taking me and picking me up from wherever I was playing. At the end of the week I really did feel that I was in the privileged position of having my own chauffeur! I decided that in order to show my appreciation and thanks for her kindness that I would write a tune. I’m not sure who made the comment that the only thing missing was the ‘peaked cap’ but is seemed the ideal title hence The Director’s Peaked Cap!

Backing Track:

The Director’s Peaked Cap. Ian Muir (Accordion & Piano)
The Director’s Peaked Cap. Ian Muir (Accordion & Piano) No Acc 1

All material published here is Copyright of Ian R Muir (member of PRS/MCPS/PPL)