Tune of the Day: Dunse Dings A'
The title of this tune refers to Duns, an ancient town high in the Border hills. “Dunse dings a'” means “Duns beats/surpasses all”, an expression of local pride. One of the greatest medieval philosophers, John Duns Scotus (c. 1266–1308), was born there. He was renowned throughout Europe, and lectured in Oxford and Paris. Unfortunately, his views were the object of severe criticism and scorn by 16th-century philosophers, who accused him of sophistry and even coined the term ‛dunce’ in derision.
The earliest appearance of the tune in print is in Neil Stewart's A Collection of the Newest and the Best Reels, or Country Dances, Adapted for the Violin or German Flute, published in Edinburgh in 1761.