The Choral Music of Scotland: An Overview of Scotland's Choral Music and Analysis of Selected Works

April 28, 2018 / By: Kellen D. McMillen

This paper examines Scotland’s choral music traditions, with a specific focus on highlighting choral works by native Scottish composers that are accessible for high school singers. After a brief introduction, chapter two outlines a condensed history of Scotland’s choral music from pre-Medieval times through the early 21st century. Chapter three delves into a number of factors that played a significant role in limiting the advancement of Scottish choral music practices and account for the general lack of knowledge regarding these traditions today. Chapter four highlights eight notable Scottish choral composers by presenting a choral piece by each composer that can be performed by high school singers. An appendix cataloguing a variety of choral works to consider by Scottish composers is also included.

The choral works selected for analysis in the present study were Quam Multi Domine (1576) by David Peebles (d. 1579), Great Orpheus Was A Fiddler (1880) by Alexander Campbell Mackenzie (1847 – 1935), All in the April Evening (1911) by Hugh S. Roberton (1874 – 1952), O Death, Rock Me Asleep (1953) by Shena Fraser (1910 – 1993), Quodlibet (1956) by Cedric Thorpe Davie (1913 – 1983), John Cook (1963) by Thea Musgrave (b. 1928), Drop Down Ye Heavens From Above (1984) by Judith Weir (b. 1954), and So Deep (1992) by James MacMillan (b. 1959).