When arranging Maggie Lauder for Border pipes we begin with a clean slate, in that no Border pipe setting is known, but with much to draw on from settings for fiddle and for other bagpipes. We also have, via Tennant and Johnman, the justification that the tune’s first outing in the human world was in the hands of Robert Scott, a Border piper from Hounam, so we can be confident that we are restoring it to its rightful place in the repertoire. If Tennant and Johnman made things up, so can we; and if they had help from the fairies, perhaps previously unheard strains may be whispered into our ear.

Like the Highland pipe arrangers we must work within a limited range, but our range is not quite so limited, as the availability of high B means that bars 4 and 5 of strains 1 and 2, and other similar passages, require no surgery. (For guidance on playing high B see p. 24 of More Power to your Elbow, LBPS, 2003.)

The problem area lies in bar 7:

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The melody descends to low E in the simple vocal versions (ex. 1), and low D in the more elaborate instrumental versions (ex. 2). There are two solutions already available which fit the tune’s traditional harmonic pattern, McLachlan’s first strain (ex. 3), and the alternative notes in the Joyful Widower setting in the Museum (ex. 4). A third solution is to take the standard instrumental version (ex. 2) and partially transpose it up an octave (ex. 5). This is a simple graft rather than major surgery, and has three advantages: it is melodically satisfying, consistent with the harmonic pattern and compatible with another instrument playing the standard version (ex. 6). Apart from strain 1, which borrows from McLachlan, this was used as the default bar 7 in developing the present set, but it never appears exactly as in the example because in each case it has been affected to a greater or lesser degree by the variation material.

We will write with the longer note values which give William Dixon’s tunes their uncluttered visual clarity, and will use the D-low A ending which Border pipe tunes traditionally use where a fiddle setting might have D-low D. Strain 3 is modelled on strain 3 of most of the traditional versions, but with the low opening notes raised an octave (see also strain 7 of McGibbon and Colclough), and strain 4 develops the motif from the Clough setting.

There is other traditional material which we could use, and more that we cannot, but from strain 5 we will follow the tune as it makes its way as a 21st century Border pipe tune. In strains 5-7 the underlying harmony of bar 2 (bars 3-4 as written here) morphs to

| Em / / / |

a substitution which follows the procedure, common in pipe music, of building tunes on two chords one tone apart (harmonic proportion). The C naturals in strains 6-8 imply a D7 or Am7-D7 harmony, strengthening the drive towards the following G major chord (harmonic direction). The rhythmic displacement of strain 7 is carried further in strain 8, where the syncopation - unless one is used to reading syncopation - does not sound the way it looks on the score, and is not easy to play - but might just be the way Tom and Madam Puck, and Rob the Ranter, would play it today.

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1.Intro . 2.Songs . 3.Anster Fair . 4.Fiddle . 5.Irish Pipes . 6.Highland Pipes . 7.Northumbrian Smallpipes . 8.Border Pipes . 9.Conclusion

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