15th May 1824
Tombea, Loch Lubnaig, Scotland
Alexander Campbell was a Scottish musician and miscellaneous writer.
Campbell was born in 1764 at Tombea, Loch Lubnaig, and first educated at the grammar school, Callander, was the second son of a carpenter who, falling into straitened circumstances, removed to Edinburgh, where he died when Alexander was eleven years old. The family was supported by John, the eldest son, afterwards a well-known Edinburgh character (John Campbell died 1795, was precentor at the Canongate church, and a friend of Burns; his picture appears thrice in Kay's 'Portraits'). The two brothers were pupils of Tenducci, then a music teacher in Edinburgh, who helped to establish them both in his own profession. Campbell was appointed organist to an 'episcopalian chapel in the neighbourhood of Nicholson Street.' He also gave lessons in singing. Among his pupils were the Scotts. But the lads had no taste for the subject; the master had no patience. The result was that 'our neighbour, Lady Cunningham, sent to beg the boys might not all be flogged precisely at the same hour, as, though she had no doubt the punishment was deserved, the noise of the concord was really dreadful' (Notes to Scott's Autobiography, in chap. i. of LOCKHART'S Life). While a teacher he published 'Twelve Songs set to Music' (1785?) About the time he became engaged in quarrel with Kay, whom he ridiculed in a sketch. This procured him a place in Kay's 'Portraits,' where he is represented turning a hand organ while asses bray, a dog howls, a bagpipe is blown, and a saw sharpened as an accompaniment.