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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.

 

Highland Laddie

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This is the Tune of the Month for the LBPS and the NSP

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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}

1 2 3 continued

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An intruiging demonstration of the matter of performing 3-time tunes from the early 18th century was suggested to me by a post on the tradtunes email list; it involves a discussion of the difference between two dance forms, the 'muineira' and the 'Jota'

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Easy as 1 2 3

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The terms 'Jig' and 'Reel' have been part of Scottish pipe music since at least 1760. Pipers are familiar with the time signatures of 6/8 and 9/8, and can be fairly confident about how to interpret them. However, anyone who have looked at 17th century manuscripts, or perhaps at Playford's 'Dancing Master' publications, will be aware that these time signatures do not appear until late in the 17th century, and their use was not common until the 18th.

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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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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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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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hornpipe and diddle

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I've been planning to say something about the hornpipe, but till now haven't been able to figure out where to start.

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