This is the title page and front cover of The Empire Collection of Hornpipes.
This small collection is one of a number of books published by Thomas Craig of Aberdeen in the late nineteenth century. This eight page publication contains 36 melodies arranged in keys starting with A and working through to Eb. This mode for arranging collections of melodies is reflected in Kerr's Merry Melodies and we have seen it used in some of the hand written texts in the North of England. One such volume, written by T. Newlands (1831-33) contains a number of tune sets arranged for dancing grouped by key. This seems very much at odds with the current practice of arranging tune sets around dramatic changes of key.
Although it only contains 36 melodies, this slim volume is of great interest. Many of the tunes are by known composers. Some are certainly American or Scottish, but at least one composition has obvious Tyneside Links. The tune 'Hill's Hornpipe' is definitely in the style of James Hill of Gateshead, it would be fair to assume then that this is one of Hill's compositions. The fact that this Scottish publication contains compositions by American and Italian musicians alongside melodies from Tyneside gives us a very clear picture of the important place held by Tyneside composers such as James Hill and it is no little surprise that these compositions remain popular to this day.