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Jigs from the vault

While instrumental tuition is threatened by cash cuts, an optimistic note has been struck about pupil compositions. Musicologist David Johnson, introducing the second edition of his ground-breaking Scottish Fiddle Music in the 18th Century, writes about the discovery by educationists "that secondary school pupils were capable of writing reels and strathspeys for exams".

Johnson reckons that between 1,000 and 2,000 fiddle tunes must have been written in schools over the past 10 or 12 years. But they are locked up in the archives of the Scottish Qualifications Authority because exam portfolios are not open to public inspection. Johnson suggests that a collection of tunes could become a national symbol and probably sell well. But would the SQA look with favour on his title, The Best of Scottish Exam Fiddling 1985-95?

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