The Earl of Ross's March and Salute to the Earl of Ross by Donald Mor MacCrimmon dates back to about 1600. The 11th Earl of Ross, to whom the marches were allegedly dedicated, was a Lord of the Isles (John MacDonald) who forfeited the earldom to the crown in 1476. Neither of these gentlemen, nor any of the earls, actually had the surname of "Ross". Due to the discrepancy between the dates, it has been suggested that the tune was actually written for some local gent who usurped the unofficial title. [Another candidate seems to be Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, who was created Earl of Ross in May of 1565 by Queen Elizabeth I of England two months before his marriage to Mary Queen of Scots.]
Several copies, other than the version of the "Earl of Ross's March" by MacCrimmon, exist. Some editorial notes list the Campbell Canntaireachd, the Neil MacLeod of Gesto's book, the Kilberry book, Angus MacKay's book as well as the MSS. of Donald MacDonald and Peter Reid. Furthermore, there are a few Fraser versions (Simon Fraser and his uncle Harry Fraser), which are known as "Heads of Corn" because the Scots were obliged to feed on this substitute for their regular provisions during a war in England.
When some pipers wished to play The Earl of Ross's March for the Chief of Clan Ross during his visit to a gathering of the clans in Nova Scotia a few decades ago, he sent his copy of the music to them and added that he did not particularly like the piece.
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