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strathspey@strathspey.org:45417

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  • GOSS9@telefonica.net

    GOSS9@telefonica.net May 28, 2006, 10:42 p.m. (Message 45417)

    Re: Reels and Hornpipes

    Triple time music either 3 (as in a typical waltz), or 6 (as in a 
    typical minuet) notes to the bar has been around long before the term 
    "waltz". The word "Waltz" is associated with the turn or rotation of 
    the couple in the style of dance and does not apply to the 3/4 beat 
    necessarily. For example in Spanish country dances, the word "Valse" is 
    the name for the figure we associate with the non progressive pousette 
    (our 8 bar progression, is a Milliganism) as indicated by the dancers 
    positions (Petronella - already progressed), or musical notation (4, 
    instead of 8 bars).
    
    The use of "hornpipe" in translation to refer to a bagpipe fits in 
    that many mediterranian pipes I have seen, specificly from Calabria and 
    Sardinia recently have wooden drones, but animal horns for the one or 
    two chanters. Possibly the syncopation is related to the need to use 
    non melodic passing tones when moving up and down the scale without the 
    ability of tonguing as one would use a flute or oboe, or the little 
    "plunger" on some types of Irish pipes.
    
    Having a reed mouth piece has nothing to do with the difference 
    between a mouth blown or sack blown instrument. Here in Mallorca, the 
    president´s band (dressed as one would for an original reenactment of 
    the Watermusic Suite), uses ancient instruments, including a "xeremia" 
    (Mallorcan bagpipe), basic difference is that the drones (bordons, 1, 
    2, or 3) hang down in front. Its leader, "pipe major" if you will often 
    plays as one would expect, however some renaissance music is not 
    correct with passing tones. In this case, he simply unplugs the chanter 
    (grai) from the bag which he drapes over his shoulder, and plays it 
    like a simple oboe, which it is (the air in the lungs substituting for 
    that in the bag, the pressure of the cheeks substitution for that of 
    the arm on the bag. The grai, an ancient folk instrument of Catalunya, 
    now may have keys attached to increase its musical possibilities, but 
    in its simplest form, still used, has an indentation for string or cork 
    for plugging it into a bag.
    
    In both the 3/2 and 2/4 hornpipes, there is the sense of syncopation. 
    As I mentioned before the "dum dum dum" at the phrase or half phrase 
    seems to be more modern.
    
    One should be careful when using old music texts to justify such 
    traditions as the syuncopated (dot and flag) rhythms. Using language as 
    a parallel, no alphabet perfectly fits its language as spoken when 
    considering dialects and exceptions, no matter how phonetic. The same 
    goes for music. When working with the School of Scottish Studies in the 
    late 70´s to early 80´s, I was involved with transcribing traditional 
    music from field recordings, and reconciling these with printed 
    sources. This was very difficult for several reasons.
    1. In the same recordings, folk musicians would float from single jig 
    to hornpipe, without changing the tempo of the two basic beats (only 
    the ration from 2:1 to 3:1 when all four notes were analyzed). Because 
    most of us "know" the difference between a jig and a hornpipe, it is 
    very difficult to deal with music played by musicians who learned by 
    ear and play it as they heard it, as opposed to how it "should" be 
    played.
    2. Many tunes were transcribed quickly, or from memory and simply are 
    lacking in the more sophisticate rhymic notations, such as the "dot and 
    flag" pattern. As a result the written tunes are simply an aid to the 
    melody, not as actually played. You can find this by analyzing 
    classical solo musicians as compared to the scores from which they are 
    playing.
    3. Many historic transcriptions are only strings of notes without bar 
    lines or length indicated. In some cases, even the pitch is indicated 
    as up or down without indicating how far. To see evidence of this even 
    in tutored modern times one has only to compare the notation in 
    Playford I, with that in Playford XVIII.  
    
    As far as "Strathspey" is concerned, from a music history, this is not 
    relevant, though it is in RSCDS dance history. A strathspey is a duple 
    style associated with a particular region in Scotland, and considered 
    "Scotch" by many outside that region, to the extent that its 
    distinctive rhythmic patterns were incorporated into later music 
    considered Scottish. The hornpipe pattern is one of these patterns.
    
     
    Thus a trend to play the tune even slower than a regular hornpipe 
    (no  
    metronome nearby, but strathspey tempo is close). At this speed, 
    BTW,  
    the dotted nature of the tune is even more important for it to stay  
    interesting, so the musician slightly exaggerates that character.
          

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