Johann Georg Christoph Schetky (arr.)
(1740 - 1824)

The Keel Row
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THE KEEL ROW a German Air with Variations for the Piano Forte BY J.G.C. Schetky. Pr 1/.
Edinr. Printed and Sold by N. & M. Stewart Parliament Square and No. 40 South Bridge
Where may be had Lord Alexr. Gordon's Reel, and Duncan Davidson, made into Rondos.

Dated c.1790, this is the earliest version of the tune that I have been able to find in print. The statement that the tune is German will surprise folklorists, who tend to attribute it to Tyneside, about twenty years earlier.

Schetky was undoubtedly German. He commenced his career as cellist in the Darmstadt court orchestra, but was contracted by the publisher Robert Bremner to play in the St Cecilia's Hall (Edinburgh) concerts in 1772. He spent the rest of his life in that city, becoming a pillar of the musical establishment.