Here is today’s tune, the first half of a fantastic tune by whistle player extraordinaire Brian Finnegan. Brian is a member of the band Flook – check out their live performance of this tune below! Their music can be found on Apple Music and Spotify, but if you enjoy their work then please consider supporting them by buying a CD or download.
Here are the dots to the first half of the tune – we will work on this next week and learn the second section. I’ve also included the groove rhythms with the 7/8 counting, complete with numbers and silly words (and no offence to any supermarkets reading these!).
We are now finishing up the idea of creating a new tune based on an old one – we took Balance the Straw (Fieldtown) and first turned it from major to minor. We then identified some small melodic shapes and tried substituting one for another. This is a method you can use to create melodic variation, as well as using it to transform a tune. Everyone in the class volunteered a element of variation and I stitched them together to create a new tune. I referenced the dotted rhythm that was put into the B section in the A section to unify the two sections. The dots below show the original transposition, examples of the substitutions and the tweaked tune that is the final result (subject to class approval!).
Here is the development of Uncle Bernard’s, transposing the tune down a minor third to the relative minor of E minor. Since the tune starts and finishes on the tonic (G in G major or E in E minor) and moves mostly in small intervals, we were able to move it down without making very many changes – we only tweaked bar 30 (middle of the B section), bringing the melody down to an E rather than sticking on the G. In the video below I have included the version notated and then a version without the adjustment.
This new version can be played as a complete tune in its own right, or added to the end of the major version as C and/or D sections.
Here are the videos and dots from Monday’s class – a remake/recycling of a Playford tune called Jamaica, that has been christened Remaica (thanks to Bob for that little bit of punning gold!). The idea of re-imagining a tune is something we’re going to look into over the next few weeks. This version is in D Dorian mode – the original can be found at the bottom of the post for comparison!
Here are the dots:
Here is a PDF of Remaica, and another of the original tune Jamaica:
Here is the rest of our March tune, The Witch of the Glen. We’ll cover the last section on March 14th. Here are the dots with a PDF and a video. The bowing/phrasing are just a suggestion but they indicate the groove that we’ll be using on Monday. We’ll also talk about ornamentation, applying the ornament variation that we looked at last week and trying out a few other options too.
Here is the first section of our new tune The Witch of the Glen, aka The Green Fields of Rossbeigh. This video goes through the first two phrases with ornamentation ideas:
Here are the dots so far! No PDF yet, I’ll put that up when we’re further through the tune, along with a chord chart. Again, I strongly recommend as always that you work from recordings rather than dots.
Here is the tune from November 8th, The Lilting Banshee. This is an Irish tune, with a few places to put our specific ornaments in: look for the ‘fidget’ shapes (example highlighted in blue) to add a roll, and for repeated notes in between main beats (example highlighted in red) for single cuts. These are fully notated in the PDF version.
Here is a tune that goes by many titles: Rainbow Schottische, Stephen Baldwin’s Schottische and Midnight Schottische. It appears in Kerr’s Merry Melodies book of 1870 and appears to have remained popular ever since in England, Scotland, Ireland and North America.
We added some turns and/ore triplets in places where the melody moves by step but otherwise kept ornamentation and variation to a minimum.
Here is a video with slower and faster versions of the tune:
This beautiful Scottish tune is somewhat of a curiosity – I first knew this tune from the Robin Williamson Fiddle Tunes book, pretty much as it’s written here, however this version appears to be a rewritten version of an jig by Pipe Major Alexander McKellar (1824-1895). Our version doesn’t show up in any tune books until the 1970s, and it’s not clear who is responsible for this rewriting! The title is also interesting: Williamson suggests that it refers to the English defeat of the Jacobite forces in the mid 1700s – it may be true that it does refer to this time but the tune is certainly not that old.
This tune works well as a march, or slower as an air.
We experimented with adding turns in places where the tune moves by step, and double cuts on the stronger beats of the bar (beat one and beat three).
Here is a video of a slow version (missing a B part I think, apologies!) and a faster version: