Sometime in the early nineteenth century, most likely in the year 1818, the Reverend Robert Scott, minister of the parish of Glenbuchat in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, compiled a collection of traditional ballads that until now has not been published. Most of the ballad collections produced during the Scottish Romantic Revival were eventually anthologized in Francis James Child's seminalEnglish and Scottish Popular Ballads(five volumes, 1882-96). Yet, the Glenbuchat manuscripts, containing sixty-eight ballads in four folio volumes, were not included in Child's volumes. The complete work only came to light in 1949 when it was donated to the Special Collections of the Aberdeen University Library by a descendent of the original compiler.
Scott did not give the precise locations of where he collected his ballads or name the performers, but the texts are unique and appear to have been drawn from oral sources. As such, the ballads reveal a great deal about the nature of traditional music at the time they were collected.
The Glenbuchat Balladswere originally prepared for publication by David Buchan, one of the leading ballad scholars of the twentieth century. Upon Buchan's death, his former student James Moreira took up and completed his work and wrote the detailed introductory essay and annotations in this volume.
David Buchan (1939-1994) was a leading international ballad scholar. James Moreira, director of the Maine Folklife Center, has published widely on the ballads of Canada, Norway, and the United Kingdom.
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