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George Greig introduces the new, revised version of ‘The Pink Book’, as the Society’s tune collection has become known.

THE ORIGINAL tutor written by Gordon Mooney has now been supplanted by More Power to Your Elbow, edited by Jock Agnew. However, it contained some fine tunes and these were reproduced in what came to be known as “the

Pink Book”. In the latter part of last year, this was due for a reprint and the opportunity was taken to produce it in what has become the preferred Society format (A5 landscape), so that it would be a companion volume to the Session Book and the Duets Book.

Being a new addition to the LBPS committee, I naively thought it a good idea to augment it with a few more tunes - predictably, it fell to me to do something about that. The logic behind my suggestion - and this is the sales pitch - was that this would make it attractive to members who already had an old copy which was probably well past its sell-by date. The only constraints were that the new tunes should be Lowland tunes in a style simi- lar to those in the original book and that they should not appear in the Society’s other publi- cations.

That meant that Rona wouldn’t let me include Fill the Stoup, because a version ap- peared in More Power to Your Elbow. That, however, didn’t stop me playing it at Edinburgh in the competition, just to let people hear what they were missing. The fact that it has an alternative title of Greig’s Pipes is, of course, irrelevant.

So, no real problems about avoiding any duplications. But what about Lowland or Border tunes? What constitutes a Lowland tune? That is not so easy and, in the face of so much expertise in this Society, I can only admit to a pragmatic solution. I asked Pete Stew- art “what constitutes a Lowland or Border tune?” and he said “What indeed?”. My approach fell far short of the scholarship which Pete or Matt Seattle display but, I think, has resulted in the inclusion of some good tunes which I hope that people will enjoy playing.

My starting point was to consult the excellent collections preserved by FARNE (Folk Archive North East). If you don't know this particular archive, I can’t recommend it too highly (http://www. asaplive. com/archive/ browse_by_collection.asp), and in it you will find collections by William Vickers, Henry Atkinson and many others. I decided that if pipe


tunes were in these collections, they were at least in general currency and that would serve my purpose - a pretty weak definition, I know, but mine own. The majority of the tunes were found in this way.

I then went to the old collections such as those of Angus MacKay, Donald MacDonald, John McLachlan, etc. and chose settings which were being played 150-200 years ago. As an aside, while these all sound very “Highland”, you will see from Matt Seattle’s article on McLachlan (see Page 4-11) that they were familiar with what we all accept to be Lowland tunes. I even wonder if they saw any such distinction. I would like to think that they just published what they thought were good tunes.

One of the subjects which can be guaranteed to raise the temperature in any Society meet- ing is whether gracing should be included or not. In this instance, it is included because the

49 tunes of the original tutor were embellished and only errors have been corrected, otherwise Gordon Mooney’s settings have been retained. In a few cases, 1 took it upon myself to modify the gracing of the newly included tunes to make the style more consistent with that of the tutor. An obvious example is to be found in Maggie Lauder, which is fairly heavily embellished, and sometimes with embellishments which are no longer in fashion - see Matt’s article for the McLachlan version.

All that said, it is stressed in the foreword that we offer these settings as no more than a guide, and that in the LBPS world, such matters should be “at the pleasure of the per- former”.

The provenance of some of the other tunes was less direct. I’ll deal with just one, but in some ways it is one of my favourites, The Wood of Fyvie. And for those of you who don’t know, Fyvie and its wonderful castle lie to the north of Aberdeen - you could say that “Lowland” stretches a long way but it is not “Highland”. I first heard this tune on Matt Seattle’s CD Out of the Flames and picked it up by ear. It comes from the MacFarlane Manuscript written by David Young. Pete Stewart kindly went into the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh and copied it out for me, and it is my arrangement of this version which appears in the new Pink Book. Subsequently, Matt provided me with a copy of another Young manuscript which also contains this tune. What is interesting is that the two versions are different and that both of them have lots of Dixon-style variations. Maybe there is a case for a further publication.

All I can say is that some of us played it in the bar at Melrose and it went very well - more importantly, it was great fun to play along with some of the other rants.

Curiously, while the previous volume was entitled Fifty Lowland and Border Tunes, it in fact contained only 49 tunes! This has been rectified by the inclusion of a further 22 tunes. I do hope that you enjoy playing them. At the ridiculously low price of £5 per copy, or £4 for members, you can hardly go wrong.