One-part tunes

One-part tunes

Hi.
Inspired by listening to this set:
https://youtu.be/95nKiu01GE4

where it sounds like the middle tune, the strathspey, is only a one-part tune.
I know that tunes can go on and on and have lots of parts. I was wondering if there are any other one-part tunes and, if so, what are they? I haven’t really come across them before.
Thanks!

Re: One-part tunes

It’s listed here as a polka, but Alan Kelly teaches it as a march for beginners. It’s actually the air to a song. If it had a B part I would be sorely tempted to play it out.

Oro Se do Bheatha Bhaile
https://thesession.org/tunes/7480

Here is Sinead O’Connor with a rather fierce version of the song over a reggae beat…
https://youtu.be/4Sje2VYw99A

Re: One-part tunes

Interesting, thanks! I’ll give that a listen!

Re: One-part tunes

the middle tune isnt really a strathspey, though its played like one, its the air to another Robbie Burns‘ song, ’Ca‘ the Yowes tae the Knowes’. Burns usually used existing tunes for his songs so he might well have used the the 1st part of a strathspey for his lyrics and discarded the 2nd part.

Re: One-part tunes

There are a small number of them in the Goodman collection, also song airs I guess

Re: One-part tunes

Can’t do the link, but I suggest you check out Darach Ó Cathain’s interpretation of that song.

Re: One-part tunes

Oro is a fine example of the musical drift of this music: I remember playing it with the band I am in and them flooring me when they said “its the same as what shall we do with the drunken sailor”. And I was full of the “but Padraig Pearse wrote it”. Then you look and see it was probably a Jacobite song to welcome back Bonnie Prince Charlie that was later used in Ireland to welcome the new wife into her new home, then picked up by sailors hauling ropes, then patriots who mixed in pirate queens with national “destiny”. Still a great tune to throw in here and there.

Re: One-part tunes

All well and good, but it’s not the tune being played by Ron Gonella.
It’s, as Christy says, “Ca The Ewes Tae The Knowes”: https://thesession.org/tunes/9039

Re: One-part tunes

Yes, the middle tune in Strathspey mode is “Ca’ the Yowes” (or ewes); when it is used as a song, it usually has the “snaps” ironed out of it and is moved into 3/4 time. And that is all there is of it: same tune for verse and chorus.
Other tunes used for Burns’ songs started life as strathspeys but were then converted into less jumpy melodies to make them more singable, e.g. Green Grow the Rashes, Ruffian’s Rant, and Miss Admiral Gordon’s Strathspey (O’ A’ the Airts).
The third tune (yes, third, the middle tune being VERY short, so are we all talking about the same thing?!) is not the same as Oro Se Do Bheatha Bhaile, though has some similarities. It is the tune used for the song “Johnny Cope” which is about the Jacobites and the Battle of Prestonpans.
And, as a by the way, the first tune that Ron plays so beautifully is the older tune to “My love is like a Red Red Rose”, i.e. Major Graham of Inchbrakie by Niel Gow (also originally played as a strathspey, tho not in this recording).
Apologies if I’ve gone beyond what Whimbrel asked for!

Re: One-part tunes

It helps to have time stamps, if we’re talking about the OP’s video

2:08 Ca’ the Ewes
2:26 Johnny Cope

There’s a very nice traditional Highland reel named Ca’ the Ewes which doesn’t seem to be related to the air of the same name.

Johnny Cope is used as Reveille in the Highland regiments and in The Scots Guards.

It appears as both a three-part and four-part tune in a variety of settings.

The Scots Guards Collection says “Named after Sir John Cope who served in the Regiment 1710-1712.”

Re: One-part tunes

> The Scots Guards Collection says "Named after Sir John Cope who served in the Regiment 1710-1712

I’ve often laughed at the very careful phrasing of that statement, and wondered what cheeky piper was first brave enough to play that tune in Cope’s own regiment. Taking a risk at a time when whipping was still a punishment regularly handed out to errant soldiery.

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Re: One-part tunes

Thanks for all the responses. That’s really interesting about Burns creating songs based on older strathspeys. Although I had heard of Major Graham of Inchbrakie as another name for that first tune because of the Whistlebinkies, I didn’t know that it actually came from Niel Gow.

Re: One-part tunes

“Green Bushes” is an English/Scottish tune with just one part. It is featured in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Folk Song Suite”. I play it at sessions in E dorian.

Re: One-part tunes

Further to Calum’s comments on Johnny Cope, I wonder if it may have been the other way round. That is, the tune was so popular that the regiment had to come up with an explanation why its pipers were keen on playing a Jacobite and anti-Hanoverian tune!

Re: One-part tunes

To be pedantic, tune Burns set to the words in the 18th century is rather different, and probably better. Simpler tune usually carries on and the original is lost in the mists of time, Whimbrel… Ditto, Auld Lang Syne, Burns’ tune is v. lovely, similar to old warhorse but better. I learnt it on piano in Kirkwall.

Re: One-part tunes

Yes we have to keep in mind that Burns was a poet, not a composer.

His words were married to existing tunes.

Many years ago I was talking to a Gaelic scholar who hated Burns! According to him Burns was responsible for the marginalisation and/or extinction of a vast number of tradtional Scottish songs.

Re: One-part tunes

Wow, that’s really interesting. To each their own, I guess, but that’s quite a strong feeling!

Re: One-part tunes

What do u mean? All tunes are one-part tunes (unless they have harmonies…).

Re: One-part tunes

Susan K, the parts are referring to the sort of thing where the first part is 8 bars/measures (possibly repeated) & then a 2nd part (or B part). It’s not about harmonies or voices in this discussion.

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Re: One-part tunes

Apologies, AB. I didn’t look at previous comments (rather lazily).

Re: One-part tunes

No problem, Susan.

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Ca the Yowes, a second strain by Matt Seattle

Single strain songs rarely make satisfying instrumental tunes. Songs with a chorus can and often do as in the case of Johnny Cope.

The solution is to compose a second strain, as Matt Seattle has done for Ca the Yowes. He goes on to play the tune as a hornpipe, jig and finally as a reel.
Quite remarkable!
See the link I’ve added to the page for this tune.

Re: One-part tunes

Thanks for the video. Yes, quite remarkable!