Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

I’m looking for suggestions for unusual, lovely 4/4s. For example, the Freeland Barbour tune "MacPhail of Bunessan" is a fine, but uncommon, 4/4.

Anyone have any favorites that are not Flett From Flotta, STB, Battle of Waterloo, etc.?

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Most Scottish Marches are in 2/4, but there are also 3/4, 6/8 or 9/8 ones as well. I’ve managed to find the following in 4/4, though they are rare:
The Black Bear (though some list it as 2/4)
The Rowan Tree (also available in 2/4)
Highland Cathedral (All in 4/4 !)
Going Home (for Funerals)
Bonaparte’s Retreat (some versions, though I suspect these may be mis-barred 2/4’s)
Will Ye No Come Back Again (though this isn’t really "Lesser Known")
Balmoral Highlanders (most versions)
Road to The Isles (does this count, as it’s so well known?)
Bluebells of Scotland
The Bonnie Lass of Fyvie

Any help? I just used jolly old Google, with JC’s Tune finder to check the time signatures.

Chris B.

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Chris, I think Pipes and Fiddle is referring to a particular rhythm of march like, say, The Headlands, rather than marches that happen to have been notated in 4/4. If I’m correct then they are marches you would use for a Gay Gordons dance.
One that I really like is the Fair Isle School Centenary:
GFE|D2FG A3A|B2dB A2de|f2f3/g/ afed|e2e3/f/ eGFE|
D2FG A3A|B2dB A2de|f3/g/af egfe|d2d3/e/ d:|
|:efg|a2fg a2fe|dB/B/Bc d2de|f2f3/g afed|e2e3/f/ eGFE|
D2FG A3A|B2dB A2de|f3/g/af egfe| d2d3/e/ d:|

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Thanks for the link, Steve: that is some resource!

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

I’ve been aware of, and using, ceolsean for several years now. Great resource. As to marches, though,navigation is not easy, as the tunes are simply labeled "march". Also, the collections are on the older side.

I’m a 30-year piper, so I’m pretty familiar with the standard pipe collections. I’m really looking, in my OP, for hidden gems, personal favorites, etc. that you may already play or be familiar with.

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Airthrey Castle by Tom Anderson
Dr James Donaldson by Ronnie Cooper
Dr Morrison’s Seven Thistles by J S Skinner
Duntroon Castle by D MacPhedran
Flett from Flotta by Donald MacLeod
Glencoe Village Hall by Dan R MacDonald
Kitchener’s Army by G S MacLennan
Mount Stewart House
The Paps of Glencoe by Willie Lawrie
John Carmichael’s Farewell to Scotland by Andrew Rankin
Horsburgh Castle by Ian Hardie (a cracker!)

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Nigel -

Thanks. I’ll take a look at these. Hamish taught Horsburgh Castle over 20 years ago at the Vermont School, and it became, and remains, a Vermont school anthem. Brilliant, brilliant tune.

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Phil Cunningham’s Blackwell Court played as a march

P/M Willie Grey’s Farewell to the Glasgow Police (great backstory on this one)

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Ah well P & F I’m not going to be much help then as I fall into the camp of Scottish music outcasts who ( and I almost dare not say this ) can’t stand marches. There I did it. I feel like I should be at a 12 step meeting, not typing on a forum but I guess any outing is a step to recovery!
Love a 2/4 "march" played as a quick step once in a while though. You’ve probably seen this, it gets relevant abot 3mins 6…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcgBFrqqq5c

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

My own personal favourite is The Meeting of the Waters (4 parts in the Scots Guards Collection). I also really like Lochanside by PM John McLellan and the Highland Brigade at Magersfontein.

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

I think Magersfontien and Lochanside are both 3/4 retreats, not 4/4 marches.

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Yes a number of the tunes listed aren’t considered "4/4 marches" which as someone above pointed out are a distinct category (at least in the Highland piping world).

There are marches that are seen notated both in 4/4 and 2/4, and marches usually notated in 2/4 that sound to me like they ought to be notated in 4/4. These 2/4 marches (and 4/4 marches) are quite different in feel from competition 2/4 marches. (For example I have an old piping book that has Scotland The Brave notated in 2/4, indeed collections that have no 4/4 march category.)

I just now looked through around 20 older piping collections and I note the paucity of 4/4 marches; typical is a collection having a load of 6/8 marches and 2/4 marches and several retreats but only one 4/4 march, or none (take a look at the famous Ross Collection).

Anyhow some of my favourite 4/4 marches:

The City Of Hastings Highland Pipe Band (William Barrie)
Muir of Ord (GS MacLennan)
Cabar Feidh (traditional)
Peter MacKenzie Warren (Tom Muirhead)
Wings (traditional/unknown)
Lt Col D J S Murray (in B minor) (John Allan)
Jack’s Welcome Home (R MacNeil)
The Crags of Tumbledown (James Riddell)
Flett from Flotta (Donald MacLeod)

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Caber Feidh is a 6/8 in the Seaforth book, it’s a 4/4 or some such when played as a reel or strathspey. Going Home ( mentioned above) is a beautiful tune that you’d be doing absolutely no favours to by playing in 4/4, that’s a 6/8 too.

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

"Cabar Feidh" is a regimental tune of the "Queen’s Own Highlanders", and is listed as a 4/4 march in their collection of tunes Book 1. It is also listed as a 4/4 march in 3 other collections according to "Bain’s Directory Of Bagpipe Tunes" [ 1983 ].

One particular favourite of mine, which I learned from guitar player Tony Cuffe [ RIP ], was "Peter MacKenzie Warren".

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Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Live and learn, there is at least one 4/4 march I like then, is the tide turning?

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

"Live and learn, there is at least one 4/4 march I like then, is the tide turning?"

There are a handful out there, which is why I posted. Looking for the few gems.

So, Steve, I’m surprised you posted the video of Allan, Angus, Fin and Angus. All of them playing high-end H. Moore smallpipes. Surely they should have saved their money and bought plastic pipes that sound exactly the same? :)

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Yes Cabar Feidh (aka Rakish Paddy) shows up in Highland piping as a 6/8 march, 4/4 march, 2/4 march, strathspey, reel, jig, and hornpipe. (There’s probably a slow air and retreat somewhere…)
I’ve heard it played as an MSR many times, and also as a HJ.

The other tune like that is Cutting Bracken, heard as an air, march, strathspey, reel, jig, and hornpipe.

There’s a very attractive 4/4 making the rounds in pipe bands nowadays, I just can’t think of the title.

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Never heard any of them, Richard, even by pipe bands. You’ll hardly ever hear any 4/4 march in a session in Scotland today apart from "Flett From Flotta" and "The Battle Of Waterloo" - at least in my experience.
PS - apologies, Richard - I hadn’t noticed you had included "Peter MacKenzie Warren" before I did above.

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Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

We play Piper’s Ceilidh and Essan Cottage, amongst others.
Not a pipe 4/4, but hear Gairsay (notated incorrectly here: https://thesession.org/tunes/14774) now and again.

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Thanks for the suggestions, folks. Most the tunes I was already familiar with, but I particularly enjoyed discovering John Carmichael’s Farewell to Scotland and Peter Warren MacKenzie. Cracker tunes, those.

Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

Richard, are you thinking of At Long Last?

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Re: Lesser Known Scottish 4/4 Marches

"Jenny’s Bawbee"
"The High Road To Gairloch"
"Wee Highland Laddie"
"The Shores / Sands Of Loch Bee"

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