SCD to Mouth Music

Anselm Lingnau

Message 3479 · 30 Jan 1996 10:16:27 · Variable-width font · Whole thread

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Joe Shelby <xxxxxxx@xxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxx.xxx> writes:

> i meant, because SCD was being standardized at a time
> when interest in Highland "culture" (stressed to differentiate it
> from the inventions of the Victorian age) was at an all-time low,
> the "other" aspects of Highland Scottish music and culture were
> being ignored in the "new" SCD.

If you consider the history of Scottish Country dancing, you will find
that, at first, country dancing in Scotland used to be much more of a
Lowland kind of thing (coming as it did from the stylish places in
England). In fact, it took SCD a hundred years or so (well into the 19th
c. at any rate) to make any noticeable impact in the Highlands relative
to the `Highland' social dances, most notably the Foursome Reel. Therefore
it is not too surprising that Highland music styles like puirt a' beul
or instruments like the Highland bagpipes don't play a big role in SCD
today.

> and the fiddle being the most promenant instrument in the arraingment,
> both relatively unheard of in the recordings throughout the 70's.
> nowadays, many arraingments and SCD bands favor the fiddle rather
> strongly, seeking a more justified balance between it and the
> accordians that dominated the (recent) past.

I think the dominance of the accordion has nothing to do with low
interest in `Highland Scottish music' but everything to do with the
accordion being a convenient and flexible instrument that sounds nice
(albeit different from the fiddle). Actually I'm told that the late
Dr Milligan by far preferred the fiddle to the accordion. In my opinion,
it is good to have both accordion-centred and fiddle-centred recordings
or even (gasp) ones that combine both.

> (now if we can just get more groups to record/play w/ the pipes,
> things would be cookin! small-pipes or uillean pipes acceptable :)

Woops. If I had my say I'd rather see a renaissance of the flute (well,
we do get to hear one every once in a while) and the 'cello. These used to
be an almost-obligatory part of SCD bands before `the box' was invented.
How about the bassoon?

I don't have anything against the Highland pipes but IMHO they aren't
really an instrument in the SCD `tradition', if only because there isn't
much room for ensemble playing unless *everybody* has a set of pipes or
a drum to make himself heard at all (this is less of an issue in the age
of electronic amplifiers). It would also depend a lot on the dance --
the pipes should be fine for a Foursome but less so for, say, Seann
Truibhas Willichan (sp?). Smallpipes, maybe. I've never heard them on
a SCD recording, though, but they might be really nice.

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau ......................... xxxxxxx@xx.xxxxxxxxxx.xxx-xxxxxxxxx.xx
We don't need to clone dinosaurs; we have enough of them in the Federal
Goverment. --- Doug Mohney

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