Monthly Archives: May 2012

Incorrect timing in MacLeod tunes and Sgt. MacKenzie

Playing the Gellaitry’s today. Blowing in a Husk chanter reed for this pipe so steadiness is a bit of an issue as is tuning with this set of recordings. Alas, at band practice we whipped out Flett from Flotta by Donald MacLeod and I had to remind everyone that both high As at the end of each part are quarter notes. Often, the second high A is played as a dotted eighth instead of a quarter, with the remainder going to the E followed by a C which is then given the quarter note value instead of the high A. Everyone does this, I’ve heard Gold Medalists do this. Donald probably isn’t rolling in this grave but come on, it’s not that hard. So I was listening to Scottish Power rock their medley at the Scottish Championships (YouTube, not live) and what did they start their medley with? Flett from Flotta. No, just kidding. They started with the Battle of Waterloo, and they got the pick-up notes wrong. Okay, so Donald probably still isn’t rolling over in his grave. The pick-up notes in this tune all start on E, an eighth note, followed by a couple of sixteenth notes. Invariably, everybody plays the E as a sixteenth along with the next note, placing the eighth note value on the 3rd note in the pick-up series instead of the first note, the E. So, I figured somebody needs to shout to the world, “Look at your music!” Without further ado:

Flett from Flotta, Battle of Waterloo, Roderick MacDonald’s Favorite, and Balmoral Castle

Then I decided I’d suck at some 6/8’s I never play.

Bonawe Highlanders and Frank Thomson

I got a request this week for the sheets to Sgt. MacKenzie. The Pekaar Index didn’t come up with anything so I googled it and found out it is a song by Joe Kilna MacKenzie. There’s audio files of the tune everywhere and while the piping wasn’t the most consistent (mine certainly isn’t) I wrote the tune down from the recording and figured I’d play it here. Its claim to fame is the movie We Were Soldiers. I threw in a hornpipe at the end as that seems to be the most common solo pipe medley out there, play something slow then something fast. Go figure.

Sgt. Mackenzie and PM Calum Campbell’s Caprice

Then I felt bad for calling Chris Armstrong out on the whole Battle of Waterloo thing (he’s the PM of Scottish Power) so I played a tune he wrote that I was learning at one time to play with a band headed to the World’s (though I didn’t even make it to one practice – grad/med school between me and wife and 2 kids, I don’t know how I thought that was ever going to happen, hey, I got my Ph.D. a couple days before that band played at the World’s, fair trade I guess). Anyways, the first tune is Chris’:

Mr. F. Octave Anno, The Snuff Wife, and Rakes of Kildare

I substituted another taorlauth for a GDE on BAA but it’s messing up the G grace note to B following so I gotta work on that in Rakes of Kildare. Then I was like, I haven’t sucked enough at jigs today.

Pipe Major Jimmy MacGregor and Thief of Lochaber

So, I’ve got 2 of my Colin Kyo chanters going with Husk reeds now. So, I think I can safely say I won’t have to worry about getting reeds from Gilmour anymore. Yay! Cause those things are scarce!

I played the Henderson’s, the other pipe with the Husk/CK combo, the other day for 1.5 hours and the last tune I recorded was my first competition 2/4 march, which probably hasn’t been played since the first and last time I used it in competition. Since I haven’t sucked enough yet in this blog post, I figured I’d post what I sounded like sight reading a tune I haven’t played in 12 years at the end of 95 minutes of straight sight reeding every tune from Scots Guards between pages 106-156. Enjoy!

79th’s Farewell to Gibralter

Ze bag, ze drone reeds, and da tunes

I bought a second set of Kinnaird’s to go in my MacPherson pipes so they sound real good now. Definitely get the low pitch bass model if you like the bottom joint on the bass drone down low as I do if you’re putting them in MacPherson pipes. They played out of the box, no problems, as expected.

My spare bag which ended up on the MacPherson’s is a small, grommeted Gannaway. I don’t like it. It doesn’t fit very well. It really cramps my top hand’s style. I’ve conditioned and seasoned it (well, I think I conditioned it, my memory sucks) and I noticed it was still a bit damp after not being played a while and there are these little cube crystals in there which I thought was odd. So, gonna let that dry out a bit and maybe re-season. Moisture was a bit of an issue tonight so I might have to get a tube trap for this set too. I much prefer the fit of my tied-in medium Gannaway that is on the Gellaitry’s.

If you don’t have the CD, I recently acquired the 2009 Silver Cap competition album and it is a must have solo album. It is mucho awesome-o. The format is a MSR-SA-HJ, that’s a slow air there in the middle. What’s neat is in addition to the world class players are some really cool tunes. The MSRs are all pretty traditional, the slow airs musical, but the hornpipe jig sets are fairly radical as far as tune selection goes. Were it just a straight up HJ competition at Glenfiddich, you wouldn’t have heard half these tunes. One of them was PM Calum Campbell’s Caprice which I thought was a cool tune, played by Niall Stewart, so I sat down for a few minutes the other night and transcribed the tune from the recording, if you have any corrections they would be appreciated. Pity, I’m about sick of it now though. The moisture in the bag was putting my chanter pitch everywhere and so it took a while to get a decent recording tone and finger wise, especially since I’m sight reading but it finally came together I think, after I played the tune like 10 times. In the same vein of practice I play Rakes of Kildare (out of Seumas MacNeill’s first book) a few times through until it didn’t royally suck (also sight read), so you’ll get to hear that like 3 times. I’ll get these two tunes down eventually. This certainly isn’t a wussy version of Rakes of Kildare, none of that whole bar of nothing but high G taps on high A in the 4th part, no sir. Drone volume might be a bit much in the recording but I’m back in the closet with the wife on night float so I don’t wake the kids and trust me, you don’t want me facing the mic. Just say no to solo bombards. Cheerios!

PM Calum Campbell’s Caprice (Joe Wilson) and Rakes of Kildare (arr. Donald MacLean, London)