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LOWLAND AMUSEMENT

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.

 

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:
http://www.ceolsean.net/content/Gunn/Book02/Book02%206.pdf
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}

Blanche of Middlebie III

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Robert Riddells' setting of this tune looks so much like a pipe setting, and sits so well on the pipes, it is easy to forget that his collection is described as for violin, hautboy or german flute. This is important because it contains indications of ornaments which we have to assume are references to fiddle technique, not to piping. These ornaments come in the form of 'tr' [trill] added to the crotchets [and to the first quaver of bar 3] in the first strain. George Greig pointed out to me that the use of the 'tr' sign is not unusual in early highland pipe collections [Mackay and Maclachaln both use it and MacLachlan writes out its interpretation]

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an' A' That

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One consequence of allowing yourself 'flexibility' in any performance is, as you may have noticed in my previous recording, that you're running the risk of making mistakes.

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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:

{jcomments on}

Blanche of Middlebie II

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My two recent posts on gracings are particularly relevant to the interpretation of this tune, but before going on to look more closely at that question I wanted to ask a question which follows directly from Robert Riddell's story

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For A' That

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I had a vague plan to post here my haggis-piping yesterday - but, perhaps fortunately, the video is 'a' weed awa''. However, playing through 'A Man's A Man for A' That' in preparation, a thought occurred to me that has survived.

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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.

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The Lowland Jig - an introduction

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Tunes in compound times are far less common in lowland sources than those in simples time - for instance, of the 48 tunes in Daviid Young's Collection of Coutnry Dances from 1740, 9 are in 6/8 and 4 in 9/8; the other 36 are in 'cut-time'. Nevertheless, amongst these and those from other sources there seems to be a variety of 'dirds' and in some cases more than one of these dirds can be applied to the same tune.

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Blanche of Middlebie

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Yesterday I spent the afternoon [some of it] getting to grips with 'Weel Bobit Blanche of Middlebie'

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