One piper's exploration of the music of the Scottish Lowlands, its history and its performance. It's a diary of discovery, not a series of essays. You're invited to make your own contributions using the comments option on most pages.


pushing the envelope

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Just a quick post here since there's been a rather extended gap. I've spent the last couple of weeks tuning the fiddle up again, for the first time for quite a while, preparing for an extraordinary weekend playing with Callum Armstrong, culminating in a performance at last Saturday's Annual Collogue in Edinburgh. Callum and I spent a day at Julian Goodacre's house in Peebles working on three tunes, two from William Dixon's manuscript and one of Callum's own tunes. The Dixon tunes were 'My Love Comes Passing By Me' and 'Gingling Geordie' [a tune which appears in several other collectins, including Playford's 'Original Scots Tunes']. However, Callum is such an inventive and adventurous [as well as exemely talented] musician that things were never going to be that simple. Some of the results will soon be available elsewhere on the site, but I have to say that there were moments during our day of practice where things happened that were unlikely to happen again, hence my remark on Saturday that 'you should have been here lastg night'. To sit down with a player like Callum [he is a student of baroque recorder at Trinity College, London] with only an outline plan for how the performance might proceed, and the knowledge that anything might happen in the next few bars, is likely sometimes to produce spectacular resutls, but is also just as likely to prove less than successful; either way it was a trully exciting experience for me; I hope it was, at least some of the time, for those in the audience on Saturday.

Piping LIve!

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There's been a bit of an interruption in this blog, due entirely to the invitation I received from Hamish Moore to play at the LBPS evening at the Festival Club during Glasgow's Piping Live! week [that leads up to the World Pipe Band Championships]. I've spent the past several weeks working pretty determinedly on several sets of tunes, chosen in an attempt to cover as many of the various tune-forme and rhythms that form the foundation of the Lowland piping repertoire. The plan now is to cover these forms and review how that intensive practice period developed my understnding. Meanwhile, here's the only record I have of that event:

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An introduction

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Lowland Amusement is one piper's contribution to the furtherance of the music of the Scottish lowland and border regions.


Highland Laddie

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This is the Tune of the Month for the LBPS and the NSP


Lowland Amusement - the Tune

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It seems appropriate to start with this tune. It was published in the LBPS 'pink book' collection; I have not as yet traced the source for that version, which is more or less what I've based this attempt on. However, it appears in William Gunn's 1848 collection in a version that closely resembles mine:
this version has the alternative title 'Captain Keeler'.
David Glen, however, has a tune in book 4 of his Collection titled 'Captain Keiller', which has 'Lowland Amusement' as the alternative title, and it is slightly different: http://www.ceolsean.net/content/DGlen/Book04/Book04%204.pdf
Glen's version, which I have only just discovered, looks more like a lowland version to me. I base this on the 2nd strain which instead of the repeated notes it has runs of four quavers; I'll try and get a performance of this version uploaded; in the meantime, my current performance is HERE{jcomments on}