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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.

 

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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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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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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Digging the Dird I

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Here's the presentation I gave to the 2011 LBPS Collogue; it contains my current thoughts on the nature of 'the Lowland Reel' in the early 18th century, as well as some thoughts on the history of dance in the Lowlands. [Click the image]
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