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.
- Created on Thursday, 19 January 2012 17:24
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The question of ornamentation in Lowland music is probably the most confusing for pipers. Most come from a background of highland piping and have put a great deal of effort and time into acquiring the necessary repertoire of gracings that form the distinctive character of highland pipe music. They are also familiar with the inclusion of these gracings in any notated source. However, when it comes to lowland music, whilst indications of ornamentation do appear in some sources, they are uncommon, and where they do appear we have no direct information about how they are to be interpreted.
- Created on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 12:41
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The question of tempo is crucial in arriving at an appropriate dird for many of these tunes. Pipers with a background in playing for dancing may well understand how certain tunes seem to lay down their own tempo. For those without this background, and for those tunes in the repertoire which do not conform to the more familiar rhythms, we need some other guide.
- Created on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 12:25
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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.
- Created on Monday, 16 January 2012 16:43
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- Created on Saturday, 14 January 2012 16:07
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According to the Orkney fiddler Dany Rosie, only three things are needed for playing for dancing, 'Time, Sound and dird'. Since the word 'dird' is not common usage these days, I'm going to attempt to describe what I understand by it, and how it applies to playing Lowland music, particularly on the pipes.