James Webster's Music Book - 1831 - 1839.
This is one of several significant music manuscripts gifted to the University by John Murdoch Henderson. Annotations made by him at the beginning of this volume state that The pieces are copied mainly from Robert Mackintosh's 3rd collection (1796) [R. Mackintosh, A third book of sixty-eight new reels and strathspeys ] and Neil Gow's 4th collection (1800) [Neil Gow, Fourth collection of strathspey reels]. There are some pieces also from R. Petrie [Collections of strathspey reels etc (1790, 1795, 1800, 1805)], S. Fraser [Captain S. Fraser, 30Highland Airs (1795); Airs and Melodies (1816)], John Morison [A collection of new strathspey reels (2 collections published in 1797 and 1815, respectively], William Morrison [A collection of Highland music (Inverness, 1812)], John Thompson [this ref. has not been traced; the note may refer to G. Thompson's Select collection of original Scots airs (1793 - 1818), or Thompson's, music publishers, Compleat collections (1758 - 1780)], J. Gow [John Gow, son of Neil Gow], D. Grant [A collection of strathspey reels (Elgin, 1790)], and a few unpublished pieces by Edward MacDonald .
The items are numbered serially, and the title of each piece, often with its composer, is given. At least one other hand, in addition to Webster's, can be identified in the original compilation of the MS. Supplementary or explanatory notes in black or red pencil, have been added by Henderson; and the titles alphabetically indexed by him in the first four pages.
Henderson's references are usually to the printed sources cited above, but also include the MS collections of Alexander McLaren and James Paterson (GB 231 MS 2424 and GB231 MS 2426), which he also presented to the University Library. Other collections mentioned are those of John Anderson, c 1789 and 1790; John Bowie, 1789; Robert Bremner, 1751 - 1761; Isaac Cooper, 1783; John Clarkson, 1803; Daniel Dow, c 1775 and 1776; Charles Duff, c 1740 and 1790 (including compositions by John MacDonald, dancing master, Dundee); Joseph Lowe, 1844; Patrick McDonald, 1784; William McGibbon, 1742, 1746, 1755 and 1768; Alexander McGlashan, 1780, 1781, 1786; Daniel McLaren, 1794; William Marshall, 1781; Peter Milne, several editions; James Oswald, 1743 - 1759; R. Purdie, 1823; Robert Ross, 1780; Neil Stewart, 1761 and c 1772. For further details on these collections see, G.S. Emmerson, Rantin' Pipe and Tremblin' String, a history of Scottish dance music (1971).