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TOPIC: Border pipe music

Border pipe music 2 years 6 months ago #292

  • Tunni
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Hi Folks

5 months into my border pipe experience I'm starting to get steady enough to wonder about repetoire. I'm not at all hung up on playing music that is 'traditional' to the instrument in fact I'm completely indiferent to when and where a tune was written if it's a good piece of music and I can get my fingers around it. I'd play Kylie if I could and thought it would sound ok.

Currently most of my set is Scottish and Irish jigs and reels all written for or transposed to GHB. Which means the standard pipe scale and none of those lovely incidentals which are one of the primary reasons I decided to favour this instrument over the smallpipe. So, preamble over, who knows any good tunes that exploit the superior range of the border pipes and if you do play, using the extended range, what tune books or sources do you draw on?
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Re: Border pipe music 2 years 5 months ago #293

  • DrBlow
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Well, there are quite a few tunes written or adapted by Gordon Duncan which use accidentals, as a starting point. I've recently acquired the collection by Timothy Cummings "An Ift of Efts". There are a lot of tunes (many duets) in there which also call for accidentals. If you take a look into Northumbrian repertoire there will be more there.
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Re: Border pipe music 2 years 5 months ago #294

  • peterpiper
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one of the most ubiquitous notes the 'border' pipe chanter has is the high G#. A lot of tunes in A actually need this note, and standard pipe settings have suubstituted the Gnatural to porr effect. Loo at The Ale Wife and Her Barrels [in the LBPS Blue Book available online on this site]. The 2nd strain should have g# throughout, except, and this is the fun part, the 7th note in bars 2 & 6 [of strain 2].
Another tune in this collection that really gains from having the high g# is The Wood of Fyvie. I play all the high G's as sharp.
The version of 'Dei'l Stick the Minister' in the LBPS 'Pink' book is an attempt to arrange the original modality of this tune to the pipe chanter; it uses C natural throughout. There are a number of other tunes in that collection that benefit from high G# in places. The trick with these 'double tonic' tunes in A and G is to use the high g# when the tune is in the A 'tonic' and the G natural in the g 'tonic'. Most of the 18th fiddle settings of these tunes do this, even those that remain within the pipe range.
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing, they say
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Re: Border pipe music 2 years 5 months ago #295

  • Tunni
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Back online again and thanks to both for your tips. Gordon Duncan's 'Blow My Chanter' is the first tune I have really got to grips with using the C natural and certainly I will try and do homage to a few more of his. I absoloutely love his style of piping. I don't know what it is exactly but even with the incredible acuracy of his playing he managed to avoid sounding mechanical like many of the other top GHB players do, to my ears.

Certainly I will be revisting the blue book too armed with your tips as well Pete. I think one of the major differences for me, bellows technique aside, in learning the border pipe is the increased musical awareness that is required. I'm a former GHB player I have never had to think much about key signatures and such. My finger technique and timing was everything it is weird being exposed as so lacking in a basic musical education after so many years of playing an instrument! That said I am exceptionally gratefull to the training in formal fingering techniques that are transferable.

Right I'm off to google Timothy Cummings, that will probably shatter that last illussion too...
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Re: Border pipe music 2 years 5 months ago #296

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Pete reading your post again has raised a question. Can you enlighten me on how to distinguish these double tonic tunes and the difference between one in A and another in G please? Is it as simple as reading the key signature from the notation or slightly more esoteric? Like I say I'm back of the class when it comes to music theory.
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Re: Border pipe music 2 years 5 months ago #297

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I'm going on because I'm loving it, those couple of changes to 'Ale wife' have made all the difference in turning what was on the face of it another boring little 12 bar tune into something far more interesting ( and challenging). Fantastic, thanks Pete.
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