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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.

 

How fast does it go?

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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.

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Digging the Dird II

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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.

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The Notes in their place

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The challenge for me with all these tunes is to get the notes in exactly the right place;

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Through the Debateable Lands

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I see the last entry here was in March. It has been a very eventful year, starting around that time, with workshopd and presentations, festival shows, two issues of Common Stock, a trip to the USA to give workshops on both sides of the country and back for lexctures at the Ntionl Piping Centre, and ending with the collapse of my hard-drive last wednesday.

Another fascinating weekend i spent at new Lanark, four days of workhops on composition organized by Distil.

The result of this has been the beginnings of an extended compostion for smallpipes/harp and string quintet. The working title 'Throug the Debateable Lands' is taken from Norman MacCaig's poem 'Crossing the Border'. The basic concept is to evoke the border lands as they were in the eraly years of James VI, using as thematic materilal a few tunes from the area/era, esdpecially the original border air of 'The Twa Corbies'. More about this soon I hope, as well as news of a pilot one-day workshop in Edinburgh in early April next year...

Distractions, distractions

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Just in case you thought this blog was completed deceased I thought I'd better add a post, just to say I am yet again distracted, first by updgrading the website, then by upcoming presentations , to the International Bagpipe Conference on March 9th and then a workshop at the Bagpipe Society Blowout at the end of May, not to metnion the LBPS competitin. However, I have been listening again to some recordings I made a while back of tunes from Henry Atkinson's fiddle manuscript and from William Dixon's book. Hopefully I will get a moment to post about these soon...