A Question

A Question

I’m trying to play the instrumental piece that follows “Rolling Home” by Old Blind Dogs. It is a question of rhythm because playing along with them I’m spot on, but when I play it by myself I am off. Is it a reel? Or something different? Thanks for any help.
Lowhistle

Re: A Question

Which recording is it on ?

Posted by .

Re: A Question

It’s a well known Scottish strathspey called Susan MacLeod, but they play it in a quite different rhythm from the normal style. What’s they’re actually doing is bouncing around from swing to straight timing to hard swing in an unpredictable way that’s quite difficult to copy note for note.

https://thesession.org/tunes/7521

There isn’t actually a setting in the key of A which is the usual key, so I’ll add that. JackB’s settings look sound enough though.

Posted by .

Re: A Question

On The Gab o Mey, Kenny

Posted by .

Re: A Question

It’s a well known Scottish strathspey called Susan MacLeod, but they play it in a quite different rhythm from the normal style. What’s they’re actually doing is bouncing around from swing to straight timing to hard swing in an unpredictable way that’s quite difficult to copy note for note.

https://thesession.org/tunes/7521

There isn’t actually a setting in the key of A which is the usual key, so I’ll add that. JackB’s settings look sound enough though.

Posted by .

Re: A Question

This helps, but I am not familiar with strathspeys. What is it how is it defined?

Re: A Question

> What is it how is it defined?

For learning the tune the way you want to play it, it doesn’t matter - take the setting I’ve posted and read it while you listen to the tune - it should be fairly obvious what’s going on.

To answer the question, a strathspey is a genre of tune in common time having one long note in each beat and all the other notes cut as short as possible, and evenly, and with a fairly fast tempo, say 120-130bpm. There are various styles of strathspey playing, and it does help to have a teacher to make sense of it.

Posted by .

Re: A Question

I would define a Strathspey as a stately dance idiom, the tunes originally derived from reels.

For the dancer a Strathspey is considerably slower than a reel. You do the same steps as you would for a reel, but in slow motion, more or less. Yes a Strathspey has a faster tempo than a reel if you have the metronome beat to all four quarternotes in each bar, and the reel only every other quarternote. You get the true relationship if you beat both the Strathspey and the Reel four beats per bar.

Originally, and even now, the Strathspey is a certain way of performing a reel, rather than a different tune type. Any reel and be played as a Strathspey and any Strathspey as a reel- the tunes are the same, the Strathspey is just a slower and more "pointed" method of playing.

By "pointing" pipers mean how long the dotted notes are held and how short the cut notes are cut. One piper who is also a good jazz musician told me that the relationship was around 7 to 1, whereas mathematically dot-to-cut is 3 to 1.

Anyhow the 3rd part of Susan MacLeod is specifically composed to highlight piobaireachd ornaments, and the full effect is lost on instruments other than the Highland pipes, though playing triplets comes close enough in my opinion.

In the video of Willie McCallum there (one of the world’s top pipers) the 3rd part starts at around 0:29

Re: A Question

BTW he’s playing it at 114 beats per minute.

Re: A Question

To understand you have to see it danced.

Here, first the Strathspey at 108BPM then at 1:32 the dancer claps her hands telling the piper to switch into reel time, which he does. He plays the reel at 120BPM.

It’s the same tune for both the Strathspey and the Reel, Ghillie Callum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyzoZO6meQg

Re: A Question

First, let me say thank you for all the information in regards to my question. I think I now know what I have been doing wrong while playing that tune. The correction I needed to make was subtle, but I knew I was doing something wrong intuitively. I can correct that, so again, thanks for the advice.

By the way this is a great tool. The Session offers so much information in many different ways. Thank you.

Lowhistle