Mudcat Café message #2085896 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #102784   Message #2085896
Posted By: Jack Campin
24-Jun-07 - 05:45 PM
Thread Name: bagpipe music question
Subject: RE: bagpipe music question
What instrument are you trying to play the tunes on?

On the pipes, the key signature is really two sharps (D major, A mixolydian, or B minor). But the basic pitch of pipes has drifted upwards relative to most other instruments, so they will really be playing in E flat, B flat mixolydian, or C minor. This is only an issue if you are trying to play along with bagpipes. When these tunes are played by other instruments, you assume normal concert pitch.

The rather flat C sharp can be ignored. It doesn't affect the essential character of the tune and if you're playing with other people you certainly *don't* want to reproduce it.

Look at the modes tutorial on my website for more (a lot more) on this sort of stuff.

The other thing you need to know is what to do with the gracenotes. You can't play them directly on anything but a bagpipe, but you can try to get a similar effect. Generally the more gracenotes you have in front of a melody note, the sharper the attack - they're almost like drumstrokes. This is the exact opposite to the way gracenotes work in Irish session music, where they tend to blur the beat. Brian Finnegan gets a near-equivalent for the heavier groups of gracenotes in his (untypical) Irish flute style by combining a first-finger gracenote with savagely aggressive tonguing. On the fiddle you may sometimes want to use a double stop.