Hector the Hero

  1. WillFly
    Solo tenor guitar for a change...

    This is a lament, written by the great composer James Scott-Skinner, to commemorate the death of a legendary Scottish soldier, Major General Sir Hector Archibald MacDonald, KCB, DSO (1853-1903), known to everyone as Fighting Mac. MacDonald, the son of a crofter, rose rapidly from the ranks to become a Major General, fighting in campaigns in the Middle and Far East. Jealousy of the fame and popularity of a down-to-earth, lowly-born soldier in the upper class ranks of the army led to rumours of homosexual behaviour in Ceylon - never really clarified. MacDonald was in Paris in 1903, en route back to Ceylon, and shot himself. A tragic end for a gallant man, demonstrating the attitudes of the establishment of the time.

    The MS of the score is labelled "coronach" - a keening or improvised singing at a death. I've chosen to treat this piece a bit in the style of a pipe lament with no backing chords - just the melody played more or less in slow march time - twice through. In the key of A on the tenor guitar (G voicing, capo'ed on the 2nd fret to get the open strings). I've added some grace notes here and there - and tolled the bell for Hector at the end of the piece.

    Music and tablature available at:

  2. gortnamona
    a great tune for a sad tale, lovely stuff as always Will
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