Posts Tagged ‘hand’
I think of Celtic music as having four main branches: the dance tunes played on the fiddle, whistle, accordion, and other melody instruments, the harping tradition, songs, and the music of the Highland pipes. Although fingerstyle guitarists have drawn extensively from these first three categories in creating arrangements, the ancient and powerful bagpipes have been largely overlooked as a source for fresh music. In the course of adapting over 250 Celtic tunes for solo guitar, I’ve come across a way to make the six-string actually sound like a set of pipes. So for this issue’s solo, I’d like to offer you a bagpipe arrangement, tell you how I worked it out, and briefly describe the Highland pipe tradition itself. Read the rest of this entry »
Going home after the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s sold-out all-Haydn programme at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London last night, I heard the unmistakable drone and skirl of a bagpiper busking at the bottom of the escalator on the way to the Northern Line in Waterloo. An elderly woman flurried past me in a purple headscarf and a lot of makeup, quickening her pace as she tried to get out of earshot of the pipes. “That’s the last thing I want to hear,” she said to me, “I’ve just been to a Haydn concert”, as if Haydn symphonies and bagpipes belonged to different worlds of human experience, the one rowdy and folkloric, the other rarefied and refined. Read the rest of this entry »
There are many varieties of instruments known as bagpipes throughout Europe and in parts of Asia, but in the Celtic world of the British Isles, there are two main types, The Irish (Uillean or Elbow) and the Scottish (Great Highland or Small Border). How do we distinguish between them?
The Great Highland (Bagpipe) is probably the most prolific bagpipe worldwide today, due in no small part to the vast extent of the British Empire in the 19th century. The English military appropriated the ancient Scots use of the bagpipe as a tool of intimidation and inspiration in war, and developed military marching bands which accompanied their troops throughout ‘the colonies’. Hence, the playing of the Highland Pipes is very widespread today from New Zealand and Australia, India and Pakistan, through to Canada and the United States. Read the rest of this entry »