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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.

 

footwork

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Since most highland pipers play standing up, the role in their performance played by their feet has been largely restricted to ambulation. The only exception to this has been in Cape Breton where pipers playing for dancing frequently do so sitting down. One advantage of this practice is that it liberates the feet for other roles,and this has become a feature of Cape Breton piping, a feature that has, of late years, been adopted by a number of bellows pipers.
The question arises then, does this technique have anything to do with 18th century Lowland piping? My answer has to be, If you mean did 18th century pipers employ similar footwork then no, it seems to me highly unlikely, and there is no evidence that I know of to the contrary. If your question however is along the lines of ‘does this technique have any relevance to the way we play Lowland music today, then my answer is very firmly, yes.

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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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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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Gracings and fingerings continued

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The following is a quote from the 'entry in the Encyclopedia Perthensis' published in Perth, Scotland, between 1796 and 1806, under 'Bagpipes' 

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Gracings, fingerings and other contentious issues

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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.

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