Another Scottish tune for Burn’s night, and a strathspey this time: this is Stumpie. It seems to be related to the tune Buttered Peas, with versions played in Northumbria and the east coast of Canada, specifically Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island.
With Burns night approaching, it seemed appropriate to learn a Scottish tune; this tune dates back to at least the early 1700s, remaining popular for quite some time as it was used in several ballad operas in the 18th century as well as being used as a retreat march by the British military, specifically by the 37th Regiment. It was printed in many books across Scotland as well as making its way into a few English books too.
The PDF can be found here. We used two basic accompanying rhythms for the drums and guitars:
Here’s Black Nag, also from January 13th, a tune from the Playford collection (1657 edition). We learned the tune and then created a variation in the B section by substituting different melodic shapes for the argeggios in the original.
A delayed post from January 13th: Bacca Pipes is a tune and dance from the Cotswold Morris tradition and is danced over two crossed tobacco pipes, making it a form of sword dance of the kind found across Europe. It’s related to the tune Greensleeves and was collected by Cecil Sharp on August 30th 1909 from musician Thomas Delaney in Sevenhampton, Wiltshire.
Monday 6th January was our first week back and we covered a range of tunes, starting with the Plane Tree jig and its possibly original 4/4 counterpartSchottishe a Bethanie (video link to the fabulous Mel Biggs of Morai and ‘Pick Up and Play’ fame). We used this tune as inspiration and the second half of the night was taken up with Kit White’s no.2, which we recapped and then collectively turned from a polka into a jig.
I’ve roughly notated the various stage we went through to reach the end product; at stage one we played even quavers in 6/8 to fill out the bars, at stage two we simplified the rhythm and at stage three we replaced key patterns with ‘hill’, ‘ditch’, ‘zig zag’ or scale shapes. Each replacement was selected from two or three options presented by me and voted on by the group – the title refers to the idea that a camel is a horse designed by committee!