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Charlie Butterworth

Scottish 2/4 march on Anglo?

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I play some great 2/4 march on the highland pipes as well as strathspeys and reels. I always thought it’d be fun to play them on the concertina.

 

I have an old Bastari Anglo.

 

so just wondering if attempting this would be a recipe for disaster as it seems that English concertinas are more typically used for Scottish music.

 

If, it is not a risk to my sanity, where would I begin? Presumably, get the melody into the correct key first!

 

I am beginning to think that maybe I need to invest in a used melodeon such as a Double Ray or Erica.

 

charlie

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On ‎9‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 3:52 PM, Charlie Butterworth said:

(1) I play some great 2/4 march on the highland pipes...

 

(2) so just wondering if attempting this would be a recipe for disaster as it seems that English concertinas are more typically used for Scottish music.

 

(3) If, it is not a risk to my sanity, where would I begin? Presumably, get the melody into the correct key first!

 

(4) I am beginning to think that maybe I need to invest in a used melodeon such as a Double Ray or Erica.

 

(1) Satisfy my curiosity - which marches?

 

(2) I have (so far) taken two tunes scored for pipes and 'played' them on an Anglo. One of the tunes is not strictly a pipe tune,

t'other is actually for Uillean pipes (from the Brendan Voyage), but both are 'playable' (by me, badly, but I'm a lousy player 🙁).

This exercise serves as 'proof of concept', though? [I also added drones to the ABC to make the MIDI playback sound a little like the pipes - this

was surprisingly (to me) effective.]

 

(3) When I automatically transposed one of these tunes using EasyABC (by 7 semi-tones IIRC), I found that K:Hp was magically

transformed to K:Gmaj, so that shouldn't present too much of a problem? T'other tune, although a (Uillean) pipe tune was already

scored in Dmaj. As far as my sanity is concerned, I couldn't possibly comment...😎

 

(4) Nah, stick to the concertina and give it a go - it's fun, if nothing else. I did it 'just for ducks'...🙂

 

 

Edited by lachenal74693

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There may be a few more players of Scottish music on the English than on the Anglo but it's by no means impossible, nor should it send your brain into contortions.   I play a G/D anglo in the "along the rows" (and crossing when I have to) style.  On a C/G, you might need to adopt the Irish technique of Anglo playing to get the fluency in the tunes. 2/4 marches, 3/4 marches, 6/8 marches - all are possible

 

Alex West

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I meant to add - in terms of the "correct key", I wonder if there is one?  If the tune was composed for and played on the Highland pipes, then it would probably be in something close to Eb or Bb.  (See this article for some explanation http://www.leodpypz.com/skmqa019.htm). If it was for the small pipes, then, depending on the chanter, the tune might be played in one of the sharp keys.  If it's been written or adapted by a modern fiddler, then A or D is common

 

If you're playing by yourself for your own amusement, you can play in whatever key you like and can adopt whichever technique suits you.  The same applies if you're introducing the tune to a session and nobody already plays it.

 

In a more established session, there are two opinions in typical Scottish sessions;

1. The tune was written in this key, contains these notes, grace notes and variations and can be played no other way.  If you don't know the tune and can't play it exactly as written, then leave your instrument in its box and don't join in until you've learnt it properly.

2. The correct key for the tune is whichever key the starter of the tune plays it in. Whichever way the lead player takes the tune is the "right" way. Everyone who wants to join in should play in that key and adapt their plaing to suit the "lead" player (or play a non-clashing accompaniment - a "second box" approach).

 

I've played in and enjoyed both types of session but it's important to know which company you're in to preserve dignity!  My own view as an "ear" player is that everyone learns the tunes in a different way and from different sources so regional and personal variations are possible so I prefer the second approach

 

I hope that helps; the Anglo concertina and the pipes go very well together so there's no reason that tunes written for one shouldn't be played on the other - go ahead and enjoy playing

 

Alex West

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I have a few strathspeys in my repertoire. No idea if I'm doing them 'properly', in the correct key etc and living about as far as it's possible to get from Scotland in the UK I probably won't have the opportunity to find out for a while, but I find them fun to play! Miss Drummond of Perth is one of my favourite tunes to play and can be done entirely on the G row of an Anglo.

 

The only time I've ever been to a Scottish session was because I was staying nearby and a taxi driver told me about it, and it sounded like a laugh so I took my guitar along with the view that if it was one of the two types of session mentioned above I'd probably just sit and watch instead, but when I found out that one of the guys running it was from Leeds I realised it probably wouldn't be 'that' traditional so I joined in and had a great time!

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5 hours ago, lachenal74693 said:

(3) When I automatically transposed one of these tunes using EasyABC, I found that K:Hp was magically transformed to K:Gmaj,

so that shouldn't present too much of a problem? As far as my sanity is concerned, I couldn't possibly comment...😎

 

 

 

 

There are 2 ways to enter that text: with or without a capital 'P'

 

Quote:

Highland Bagpipe notation is also catered for :

K:HP puts no key signature on the music but implies the bagpipe scale, while
K:Hp puts F sharp, C sharp and G natural.

From the ABC tutorial written by Steve Mansfield.

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Thanks for the positive comments. Maybe I’ll start with the classic march Arthur Bignold as it has great swing to it.

 

It has C and F, which closely approximate sharps on the HP scale. I suppose that would put it in D maj directly from the music. While I’d like to see what the strathspey Maggie Cameron sounds like on the Anglo, I will hold off and avoid taking to big a bite of this.

 

I’ll report back.

 

thanks,

Charlie

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3 hours ago, John Wild said:

...There are 2 ways to enter that text: with or without a capital 'P'...

 

Aye, I remembered that after I'd posted! I'm pretty sure it was Hp, but I'm still hunting through my dusty old ABC

files from two years ago ('cos that's when I did this) to try and find the relevant file - so far without success. When

(if) I find the damn thing, I'll correct my OP. Meantime I'll leave it ASIS as  monument to failing memory... 🙁 

Edited by lachenal74693

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15 hours ago, lachenal74693 said:

 

(1) Satisfy my curiosity - which marches?

 

Well, there are a few that I can play and many that are stunning IMO. Amongst marches that I have/do play that would be fun to try on the concertina are:

 

Donald MacLean’s Farewell to Oban

Donald MacLellan of Rothesay

Major Manson at Clachantrushal

Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque

Mrs Mary Anderson of Lochranza

 

to me, these marches are full of character.

charlie

 

15 hours ago, lachenal74693 said:

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Charlie Butterworth said:

Donald MacLean’s Farewell to Oban

Donald MacLellan of Rothesay

Major Manson at Clachantrushal

Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque

Mrs Mary Anderson of Lochranza

 

Aaah! Thanks! I already have ABC code for some of these - I will lookat/listen to them 

shortly...

 

Incidentally, of the two tunes to which I referred in my OP, one was actually scored K:Hp (as I remembered).

T'other (a Uillean pipe tune from 'The Brendan Voyage') was actually scored K:Dmaj (which I think is a close

approximation to K:Hp?).

Edited by lachenal74693

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Posted (edited)

I play anglo and I live in Edinburgh. There are also some good anglo players in Glasgow. Playing pipe marches means that you may khave to learn to play in the key of A. As far as I know none of the modern tutors give any help on this but you can work it out. Most pipe marches contain a flattened 7th (G natural) because the pipe scale does not contain a G#. On instruments such as the fiddle, pipe tunes are sometimes played with a G#. It is up to you. If you play the tune with a G natural it effectively ends up in the key of D which fits well on the anglo.

Edited by Simon Cooper
Spelling mistake

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Charlie

 

If you look for the Red Star Brigade on Youtube, you'll find videos of a session I used to go to just outside Aberdeeen.  The videos concentrate on a couple of the accordion players, Jim Halcrow from Shetland and Charlie Lawie but I'm there to the left of the screen, playing anglo.  I played a GD anglo for most of these sessions but there were a limited number of tunes which fitted better (for me) on a CG

 

Alex

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Thanks for the info on Red Star Brigade, Skene.

 

When playing with the melodeon in the video, I assume that when you play the C/G Anglo, you’re playing across the rows.

 

I can transpose music to fit my concertina. I also jumped and have a second-hand Double Ray arriving today, which will play in key of D,  or it’s variants, which is pretty much what my pipe versions of the tunes are written in anyway.

 

With any luck, I’ll feel confident enough to post links to a couple of marches on the Anglo in order to get feedback from experienced players.

 

charlie

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I play a couple of pipe marches on the concertina, though Crane duet rather than English or Anglo. I don't see why it shouldn't work on an Anglo.

 

One observation I'd make. On the highland pipe the thirds and sevenths are flatter than in most other tuning systems. This means on a fixed pitch instrument you have to choose whether to play the major or minor third/seventh. In fact on the two tunes I play, which I learnt by ear, both are employed at different points in the tune. For the tune attached I have the notes as transcribed for fiddle and these are consistent with what I learnt by ear: in the B music the first time the seventh note occurs it is minor but everywhere else it is major.

 

I'm playing this in G (equivalent to pipes in D) but since recording this I've changed to C (pipes in G) so that it and the tune I've paired it with (Miss Elspeth Campbell) use the same range of notes (even though, musically, the latter is in G). I can't see it matters what key you use. (Pipers don't worry about it when the adapt non-piping tunes!)

 

LJ

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On 9/26/2019 at 3:52 PM, Charlie Butterworth said:

I play some great 2/4 march on the highland pipes as well as strathspeys and reels. I always thought it’d be fun to play them on the concertina.

...I am beginning to think that maybe I need to invest in a used melodeon such as a Double Ray or Erica.

Further to my earlier remarks here, I now, purely by chance, find myself 'data-mining' an old ABC file of 'Scottish'(*)

tunes. It includes some 2/4 'Pipe marches', plus marches in other time signatures. Interestingly (?) some of these

tunes are given in K:Hp and 'another' key. Would it be of any interest if I posted the ABC for some of these tunes here?

'Twill take a  day or so as this is a very old file with some 'odd' ABC in it, so I am cleaning it up a little and reformatting

to conform to my own ABC SOPs... 

 

(*)Some of these Scottish 'gems' are a little suspect eg: 'The Aaardvark Man'? No aardvarks in Scotland - not when I

lived there, anyway...

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I'm surely interested in your ABC file.

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Little John,

 

i really enjoyed your video playing the 2/4. You gave the march really nice lift.

 

presumably, when talking about thirds and sevenths, you’re referring to how you play the accompaniment?

 

so far, I have been working on the march Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque. I have a feel for the right hand (melody) and given my ineptitude on concertina, it is taking a while to get it under the fingers. I have also been trying it in D on a Double Ray melodeon too. Either way, what little I have done sounds good and considering that a six week hiatus of piping left me knackered when I played my pipes on Sunday, playing on the Concertina or Melodeon feels very pleasurable.

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