Hymn for St Magnus

Something a little different this week – an extremely old hymn from Orkney in the Lydian mode. This mode is similar to a major scale but has a raised 4th, it’s quite an unusual mode but very beautiful! We tried harmonising with minim F-G patterns in the first half and minim C-D in the second half, as demonstrated in the second video (you could actually play C-D all the way through). We added single cuts in between repeated notes and turns in places where the melody descended by one or two steps.

Here are the dots, with a PDF beneath:

Here is a video for a plain version and one with ornamentation, and a video of the tune and harmony together:

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

Here is the tune from the last week of term (with one week owed and to be made up by me this coming term), The Wind that Shakes the Barley. This is a fantastic Irish reel and follows on well from The Witch in the Glen. Here is a video with a slow and faster version:

Here are the dots, with some suggested bowing/phrasing patterns.

Here is a PDF:

Hector the Hero

Monday 28th’s tune is Hector the Hero by James Scott Skinner. Written in 1903, the tune was composed as a tribute to Major General Sir Hector MacDonald (1857-1903), a celebrated and decorated military officer who died of suicide following public accusations of homosexuality. Scott Skinner’s tune has remained popular since it’s composition.

Here is a video of the tune, with a slow and plain version followed by a faster and more decorated version of the tune.

Here is the download of this tune, and a second version with suggestions of bowing, variation and ornamentation.

Gille-Callum (continued)

Here is the B section of last week’s tune Gille-Callum, with further ideas on how to practise these rhythms:

Here’s a video of the B section and some practise methods:

Here a video of the whole tune played slowly:

Finally a PDF of the whole tune and chords:

and as a little extra, here’s the E5 chord for the ukulele players!

Finally, I’ve done a simplified version of the tune here, essentially removing a few (but not all of) of the trickier rhythms, for anyone who would like it:

Gille-Callum

Here is the A part of Monday 17th’s tune, Gille-Callum, aka Gillie Callum, The Cutty Spoon or The Lad Malcolm amongst other names. It’s a Scottish strathspey that dates back to the mid-1700s, a strathspey being a slow dance in 4/4, with the tune named for the dance form and normally containing characteristic Scottish ‘snap’rhythms. This is quite a challenging tune type, so give yourself time to get used to the rhythms and the techniques for producing them.

Here are the dots, with a notation of how we divided the rhythm in order to learn it:

Here is a demo of the A section with a suggestion of how to practise this rhythm:

Here is a video for the fiddle players on how to achieve the Scottish ‘snap’ rhythms, with some bow exercises to help:

PDF of the chords (a PDF of the full tune will follow when we’ve learned the whole thing):

The High Road to Linton

Here is Monday 10th’s tune, The High Road to Linton. This tune is in Scottish, Irish, north eastern English and Canadian traditions, and was first published in 1794. It’s also known as Cuddle in a Boasie, Leinster High Road and Quadrille du Bucherons as well as various other titles including the word Linton, such as Jenny’s Gone to Linton.

There are various towns and villages across the British Isles called Linton – given the areas in which the tune was collected and published, I’m going to guess that the Linton in question is either the one near Morpeth or the one near Jedburgh, either way around the Scottish/English border.

It has four parts, of which we’ve learned three so far – I have included all four parts here but don’t feel obliged to learn the fourth part, we will cover it next week! Here is a video with the single cuts and double cuts, and the rhythmic emphasis we discussed. There is a PDF beneath with some examples of bowing available too.

Here are the dots:

Jock’s Bear Dance (development)

Our last tune of the year, Jock’s Bear Dance, with an added harmony and rhythmic accompaniment. The purpose of the accompaniment is drive the tune, making it feel lively even though it’s not that fast. Here are the dots (with apologies to the whistle players for the low notes! The video below shows a couple of ways the tune, harmony and rhythmic accompaniment can be played to make an arrangement.

We’re finished for this term now, I hope everyone has a great Christmas and New Year. We’ll return on January 10th – whether this is in person or online remains to be seen, we’ll see what the regulations and recommendations are in the new year.