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Significant Scots
William Hannah


William was born in Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland in 1891 and reared in Blackburn, West Lothian. He was a prolific recording artist and popular band leader apart from having a major influence on Jimmy Shand. He published a tutor and tune collection for the button accordion around 1925.

After the Great War, in which he served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, he took up playing mouth organ before moving up to the melodeon. During World War II he served as Lieutenant in the Home Guard and was noted for one particular act of bravery when he disposed of a live grenade, saving the lives of several others. He was later injured by a bomb and was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1944. He was head postman at Bathgate Post Office. He died in Carron, Stirlingshire in 1961.

Hannah was involved in the development of the modern accordion. There was some frustration with the simple tonic/dominant basses for each row, which the Wyper Brothers had played on their B/C melodeons, and as well as Italian-style “chromatic accordions” with a regular 8 (diatonic) basses, a hybrid instrument, with a melodeon-style treble end (with exposed pallets) and a 24-button (2 12) piano accordion-style bass end was developed and marketed by A.H. Wilkinson & Co. Ltd. of Glasgow, under their “Wilkinson’s Excelsior” brand. The latter model is featured in Wilkinson’s Accordion Tutor for 19 and 21 key Chromatic Melodeons (Glasgow, 1926), where it is shown being played by “William Hannah, Scotland’s premier accordionist” and described as the “Hannah Model” “The outer row of the melody keys contains the tones of “B” major, the inner row those of “C” major; so, all notes of the chromatic scale can be played on these instruments.” This was the foundation of Jimmy Shand’s development of the Hohner Organola B/C in the 1930s and his “Shand Morino” B/C/C# button accordion of the 1950s as well as the B/C button accordions which became, and remain, highly popular in the Irish tradition. “In a BBC survey of the district last year his popularity was made very evident by the large number who plumped for him above all other musical items” Source - 'Linlithgowshire Gazette', 7 January, 1944.

His Music:

Scotia Quickstep, Flowers Of The Forest, We Canna Leave The Old Folks Now
Dance Medley, Pibroch Odonald Dhu
Duke Of Perth Reel Medley

William Hannah And His Scottish Dance Band - Tasters!

First Batch:

1. Petronella
2. Boston Two Step
3. Scottish Reform
4. Pride of Erin Waltz Medley
5. Highland Schottische
6. Scottish Emigrant
7. Dundee Reel
8. St.Bernard's Waltz
9. Canadian Barn Dance

Second Batch:

10. Rory O'More
11. Foursome or Eightsome Reel
12. Lassie Valse
13. Haymaker's Jig
14. Draps o' Brandy
15. Highland Schottische
16. Eightsome Reel (Inver Lasses)
17. Blaze Away - March & Two Step
18. Gaelic Waltz - Chi mi ma Morbheanna

Purchases can be made from,
www.musicinscotland.com


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