Shetland music

Shetland music

We play at least two tunes from the Shetland Islands. Spootiskerry & Willafjord. Always fun!
Are there other good tunes played at Shetland sessions?

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Re: Shetland music

(Slows) The Slockit Light
Mangaster Voe
Leaving Lerwick

(Jigs) Da Shaalds O’Foula / Garster’s Dream / Da Brig

(reels) Da Galley Watch
Da Lerwick Lasses
Da Scalloway Lasses
Da Underhill

(My Favorite is posted, but look in the comments as the posted tune is trash)
The Headlands March

Anything by Ronnie Cooper or Tom Anderson

Tom Anderson (1910-1991) ~ Shetland fiddler, teacher & composer

"Haand Me Doon Da Fiddle"
Book and Cassette
Tom Anderson & Pam Swing
Department of Continuing Education,
University of Stirling, 1979, 2nd edition, 1981
ISBN: 0-901636-25-8

"Da Mirrie Dancers"
Tom Anderson & Tom Georgeson
Shetland Folk Society,
2nd edition, 1985
ISBN: 0-948276-02-9

"Ringing Strings: Traditional Shetland Music and Dance"
Tom Anderson
Shetland Times Ltd, 1983
ISBN: 0-900662-40-9

"Gie’s An A: Shetland Fiddle Tunes"
Tom Anderson and Shetland’s Young Heritage
Shetland Times Ltd, 1995
ISBN: 189885209X

"The Tom Anderson Collection Volumes 1"
Tom Anderson
The Hardie Press, 1995
ISBN: 0946868182
ISBN13: 9780946868186

"The Tom Anderson Collection Volume 2"
Tom Anderson
The Hardie Press, 2004
ISBN: 094686828X
ISBN13: 9780946868285

Re: Shetland music

Barrowburn (reel) is a Shetland tune that has been picked up by other traditions. I believe the Full-Rigged Ship and the New-Rigged Ship are also quite widely known. There’s also Auchdon House, which is a Shetland wedding march that was introduced into the Irish tradition as a barndance by Joe Ryan and spread a bit wider by Cherish the Ladies under the name "Joe Ryan’s".

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Willafjord
Christmas Day Ida Moarnin

Soldier’s Joy ;-)

Unst Bridal March
Da Bride’s a Boannie Ting

Da Auld Resting Chair

Seven Step Polka
Hamnavoe Polka

Da Lerwick Lasses
Da Scallowa Lasses

~ just a few from "haand me doon da fiddle"

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"The Fiddle Traditions of the Shetland Isles"
by Peter Cooke
Cambridge Studies in Ethnomusicology
Cambridge University Press, 1986
ISBN: 0-521-26855-9

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"The Barrowburn Reel was written by the late Addie Harper, most closely associated with Wick, GaryAMartin, so it’s not strictly a Shetland Reel by origin or style."

See https://thesession.org/discussions/1957/comments#comment35339

But there’s a lot of musical cross-pollenisation between Shetland and mainland Scotland - and probably has been ever since Shetland was handed over to Scotland in C15th. I’ve only ever been to one session in Shetland - in which a number of Scottish and Irish tunes got played (and Swedish, courtesy of a family visiting from Sweden). But all the shetlanders I have played with (all fiddlers, needless to say) have had quite a broad tune base, taking in Scots, Irish and a little Scandinavian, as well as their own tunes.

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…Consequently, it’s not uncommon for tunes to get branded as ‘Shetland tunes’ just because thy are popular in Shetland. Another example is MacArthur Road, composed by Dave Richardson (a Northumbrian) https://thesession.org/tunes/2221 , which was recorded by Four Men and a Dog, and got labelled ‘Unnamed Shetland Reel’. A fine tune it may be. But Shetland tunes, for all the Scottish influence they may have undergone over the centuries, still have their own distinct character and it’s a shame people don’t recognise it.

Sorry - I never meant this to be a rant (they’re from the Borders, anyway).

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Some good stuff here. One old thread mentioned Far From Home. Shetlands are up there a ways.
We play Da Slockit Light. Doesn’t everyone?
One of my favourite airs, Mrs. Jamieson’s, was in one thread.
Found Saxaford attributed to Tom Anderson.
https://thesession.org/tunes/3808
Found a Ronnie Cooper tune. Mickie Ainsworth - does not look like it is posted. I will add it if I cannot find it on TheSession under another title. So many tunes!

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Re: Shetland music

Until then … it goes something like this:

X: 1
T:Mickie Ainsworth
C:Ronald Cooper
R:reel
M:4/4
L:1/8
K:D
FG|ABAF Adcd|B2BA BdcB|ABde fedf|e2E2 E2FG|
|ABAF Adcd|Bggf gBdg|fAdf eAce|d2d2 d2:|
|:cd|ea^ga e=gfe|d2fd adfd|gfeg f2df|efed B2dB|
|ABAF Adcd|Bggf gBdg|fAdf eAce|d2d2 d2:|

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Re: Shetland music

When I visited Shetland in 1985, sessions in The Lounge - Lerwick’s trad bar of long standing, sessions ritualistically ended with a playing of Kate Dalrymple - a lowland Scottish standard. Otherwise, I remember star fiddler Debbie Scott playing jazz violin to "Peerie Willie" Johnson’s famous swing backing - on guitar, or piano, or both. I can’t name the Shetland tunes played; Irish tunes featured, for the good reason there was an Irish player there.

There were lots of fiddlers and guitarists up there. According to Aly Bain (in an on-line interview text) Shetland styles had varied greatly from person to person, never mind region; then Tom Anderson had taught large numbers of people to play the fiddle, but homogenised the music somewhat in the process. Well, it’s good enough for me.

Re: Shetland music

Donal Blue
Jack Broke The Prison Door
The Burn Of Weindalittle (or something like that…)
The Road To Houll

- and lots and lots more reels.

There used to be far fewer jigs, though I imagine many have been composed there in recent times. An intriguing older one is The Greenland Man’s Tune.

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miss susan cooper (i think by ronnie cooper?)
jenna reid of quarff (by kevin henderson; fiddlers bid and boys of the lough)
andy broon’s (by aly bain)
hamnataing (chris stout of fiiddler’s bid)

btw fiona driver from orkney is about to release a book of recent tunes from the islands.. out next week. but will post seperately about that)

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They say there’s no such thing as a stupid question, if you really want to know the answer….

So—is the reel called "Shetland Reel" or "Shetland Fiddler" anything like actual Shetland tunes? Yes, I have read that it is a version of a hornpipe by James Hill, a Scotsman (see
https://thesession.org/tunes/3146)
But does it have any resemblance to real Shetland music?

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I’ll echo geoffwright, anything by Ronnie Cooper.

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There’s my two all time favourites, Da Day Dawn and Da Trowie Burn..

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Mickray - The story I heard behind The Shetland Fiddler is that a certain donegal fiddler made a trip to shetland and, at the time, James Hill’s ‘The Hawk’ https://thesession.org/tunes/3146 was the height of fashion among Shetland players. He returned home to Donegal with the tune resounding his head and so, ‘composed’ a reel based upon it, honouring in the title the place it reminded him of.

Then again, in the comments to The Shetland Fiddler, Nigel Gatherer (a man who knows his stuff) merely states that it is a ‘pipe version’ of The Hawk.

Nobody seems to have mentioned Sleep Soond i da Moarnin yet - one I’ve heard a few times in sessions in London, although perhaps not one that’s quite passed into the irish tradition. I recently read something somwhere (probably here on TheSession) casting doubt on the Shetland origins of Far From Home - backed up in part by its appearance in O’Neill’s, implying that it was in the repertoire of Chicago Irish musicians at the turn of C20th.

Incidentally, I second very strongly Ceolachan’s two listening recommendations. The first one for good, clean playing and the second one for some good, dirty playing (There’s some pretty slick playing on there as well, but it’s all field recordings, so you get to hear the fiddlers without their ‘performer’ hats on.

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And Violet Tulloch is one of the most underrated backers.

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How about New Rigged ship and Full Rigged ship?

Very appropriate today.

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GaryAMartin: "I believe the Full-Rigged Ship and the New-Rigged Ship are also quite widely known."

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Very sad actually, John.

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I realise that but I hadn’t intended my comment to be flippant. Sorry if it came over that way.

There’s a tune by that name too which I’ve just submitted.

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No worries. Big landmark round these parts, though. Kind of "flagship" (ho ho) for Greenwich.

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Built on The Clyde though.

Lots of Scottish things down your way…ships, flute players, and Prime Ministers.

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Any guess about when Shetland music would have arrived in Chicago? If not in O’Neill’s time.

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Re: Shetland music

It’s popular in Northumberland: some (not all) Shetland reels mesh very naturally with Northumbrian rant tunes and rhythms - although, apart from personal and musical contacts, there is no obvious social or economic link between these areas.

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"Any guess about when Shetland music would have arrived in Chicago? If not in O’Neill’s time."

I’ve never heard of there being a *community* of Shetlanders in Chicago - there probably aren’t enough Shetlanders in the world to constitute a ‘diaspora’. There might have been the odd Shetland fiddler in Chicago in O’Neill’s time. Perhaps, not having had a community of their own to share tunes with, they would have been drawn to the Irish community, in which, broadly speaking, similar music was played (there are, of course, tunes, perhaps Scots in origin, that have travelled northward to Shetland and westward to Ireland, so that there are Irish and Shetland variants of the same tune - Lord McDonald’s Reel, for example).

Re: Shetlanders and Northumbrians
What they have in common is: 1. They are both almost Scots, but not quite; and 2. They are both almost Scandinavian, but not quite.

Re: Shetland music

Shetlanders travelled widely because, being very used to the sea, many worked on ships or joined the Navy. (Sometimes the latter was perforce: fishermen in open boats often far out at sea sometimes got lifted by the press-gang.)