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 Post subject: Pibroch on whistle
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:12 pm 
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One of the first questions I asked here was of playing music not traditionally intended for tin and/or low whistle on the whistle, in particular pibroch or ceol mor. For whatever reason that music continues to fascinate me but for a multitude of reasons I won't go into, I don't see myself learning the GHB. Hearing fiddle pibroch by musicians like Bonnie Rideout or learning that ceol mor (or at least its antecedent) used to be played on harp made me realize that theoretically it can be played on different instruments, so why not give it a whirl on low whistle and see how it goes? I realize I won't have a drone but perhaps it could work?

So I ask for those who have knowledge of piobaireachd, can this work if only for my own pleasure? More importantly, how should one go about learning some of the basics of pibroch (fingering, grace notes, etc.) on ones own, any good resources out there? Similarly does anyone know what are some of the easiest pieces to learn?

In short, for those who are familiar with the topic, where should I begin?

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Pibroch on whistle
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:23 pm 
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Amergin wrote:
I realize I won't have a drone but perhaps it could work?

I just can't really see it working as such at all. You could legitimately play the urlar of a pibroch in whistle style as a whistle air and make musical/aesthetic sense of it, but any attempt to replicate the pipes-specific chains of grace notes from the variations on another instrument seems somewhere between misguided and doomed. If you really want to do it, I'd suggest totally reimagining these in idiomatic whistle terms rather than trying to copy, and say this as someone who loves both pibroch and whistle playing.

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 Post subject: Re: Pibroch on whistle
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:51 pm 
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Yes the way ceol mor is played on the Highland pipes is Highland pipe-specific. I don't think it's possible or desirable to mimic the Highland pipe rendition on another sort of instrument.

But ceol mor is music, beautiful music, and the music itself sounds wonderful sung, or on harp, or fiddle, or pipes. It will sound beautiful on whistle too. It's just a matter of finding the right feel, the right interpretation.

Here's a taste of it sung. (You have to watch to the end! You won't regret it.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ojD3_QKFTg

Indeed I've long felt that ceol mor sounds better sung than on the pipes. It's more expressive sung. When pipers teach ceol mor through canntaireachd they do vibrato (oftentimes only on High A) and bend notes and other things they wouldn't do on the Highland pipes. Indeed I was taught through canntaireachd and I can sing the tunes I play- pipers are still sometimes taught this way. I feel it's the best way. (I should note that pipers, when they sing piobaireachd, are often not sticking to strict canntaireachd per se, which is a formal system of music notation.)

Here's some canntaireachd.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCHRQuITwWs

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1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


Last edited by pancelticpiper on Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Pibroch on whistle
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:00 pm 
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Well perhaps I asked my question incorrectly since as I am imagining it I would be taking the music itself and hopefully reimagining in whistle terms as you put it. For example, there is this piece which I enjoy:

Piping version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN7EQwCqwL4

Fiddle version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQfmghKirOw

My concern is whether it would be possible to theoretically play such a piece on the whistle (especially low whistle) and make it sound aesthetically pleasing. As noted I figure if it can be sung, played on harp and fiddle, then why not, especially since there is a "pipe-like" nature to whistle/low whistle (hence why imagine many pipers also play low whistle, such as Paddy Keenan, John McSherry, Fred Morrison, Gordon Duncan, etc.)

My problem is again I am not really sure where to begin, such as easiest/beginner pibrochs, where to find the sheet music/notation, etc. Any pointers much appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Pibroch on whistle
PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:38 am 
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Amergin wrote:
Well perhaps I asked my question incorrectly

It was your reference to 'fingering, grace notes, etc.'

Quote:
My concern is whether it would be possible to theoretically play such a piece on the whistle (especially low whistle) and make it sound aesthetically pleasing.

Yes.

Quote:
My problem is again I am not really sure where to begin, such as easiest/beginner pibrochs, where to find the sheet music/notation, etc. Any pointers much appreciated.

Not sure 'easiest/beginner pibrochs' necessarily translates to whistle, so I'd just pick something you like and try that, but be guided by good recorded performances because the notation (as ever) isn't the full story and idiomatic timing's likely to stretch and compress the written beat. The first place that occurred to me when you said 'sheet music' was Ceol Sean, and there are certainly useful published collections and manuscripts there:

https://ceolsean.net/library.html

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 Post subject: Re: Pibroch on whistle
PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:35 am 
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Amergin wrote:
I am not really sure where to begin


I would start here, master source players both playing the tunes on the pipes and singing them

https://www.musicinscotland.com/acatalo ... eachd.html

Amergin wrote:
easiest/beginner pibrochs


Yes in Highland pipe pedagogy there are tunes considered beginner tunes, but I don't know if I would worry too much about that. I would start with one that has an Urlar you really like. Some pibrochs have lovely attractive melodic Urlars, some sound almost random.

I was started on Lament For The Old Sword.

My current favourite to play is Lament For Captain MacDougall which has a lovely urlar and some nice tuneful variations.

As you listen to ceol mor you'll note that there are various modes used and these of course give different feels.

Some have a straight A Major feel, loads of lovely Major 3rds, tuneful, pretty, and harmonious.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH78VQ-v4AQ&t=25s

There are many in various gap scales, pentatonic scales, such as the common Highland pipe A pentatonic scale A B D E G, which gives an archaic haunting sound.

A very nice tune in that mode is Lament For MacSwan Of Roaig.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHmStEFguik

There are a few pibrochs which have the feel of being in B minor for example Salute On The Birth Of Rory Mor MacLeod.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUubpVzRso0

There are tunes in the key of G, which have an odd sound over the A drones. Lacking the note C, tunes like The Earl Of Seaforth's Salute can be thought of as being in G Major.

Introduce the note C, which is C# on the pipes, and tunes in the key of G are in the Lydian mode. This is possibly the oddest-sounding mode of the pipes. An example is Lady Margaret MacDonald's Salute.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbBJQRoVgHY&t=56s

Amergin wrote:
where to find the sheet music


The Highland piping world is heavily involved with sheet music and a vast number of pibrochs are in print.

For the serious students there's the Piobaireachd Society, the main authority/source

http://www.piobaireachd.co.uk/

A very handy collection is the Kilberry Book, which was our text-book at piping school.

https://www.thepipershut.com/product-p/kilberry.htm

But really I don't know if you need to get the sheet music. For many generations pipers learned by ear, and the only way pibrochs were notated was in canntaireachd. We have many pibrochs that only survive in canntaireachd. BTW the timing of the notes in written ceol mor doesn't usually capture the way the tunes are played.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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