The Bloody Fields Of Flanders waltz

Also known as Freedom Come All Ye, The Freedom-come-all-ye.

There are 8 recordings of this tune.

The Bloody Fields Of Flanders has been added to 1 tune set.

The Bloody Fields Of Flanders has been added to 30 tunebooks.

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Two settings

1
X: 1
T: The Bloody Fields Of Flanders
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
e3/c/ A2 A3/B/|ce f2 e2|f/g/a e2 de|cA cd/c/ B2|
e3/c/ A2 A3/B/|ce f2 e2|f/g/a e2 e/c/A/B/|cB A4:|
fg a2 ae|fa e2 c2|f/g/a e2 de|cA cd/c/ B2|
e3/c/ A2 A3/B/|ce f2 e2|f/g/a e2 e/c/A/B/|cB A4:|
2
X: 2
T: The Bloody Fields Of Flanders
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
|:e3/c/ A2 A3/B/|ce f2 e2|fg/a/ e2 de|cA cd/>c/ B2|
e3/c/ A2 A3/B/|ce f2 e2|fg/a/ e2 e/>f/A/>B/|c3/B/ A2 A2:|
|:f3/g/ a2 ae|fa e2 c2|fg/a/ e2 de|cA cd/>c/ B2|
f3/g/ a2 ae|fa e2 c2|fg/a/ e2 e/>f/A/>B/|c3/B/ A2 A2:|

Twelve comments

The Bloody Fields Of Flanders

This is a retreat march (and, therefore, not a waltz) by John MacLellan and was requested by a member here, christy taylor.
With retreat marches each beat gets the same emphasis so, traditionally, any anacrusis is written as the first beat of the bar.
The tune was used by Hamish Henderson for his song "Freedom Come All Ye".

And, needless-to-say, if this wasn’t being played on the pipes then all the Gs would be played as G#s.

bloody fields o’ flanders

thanks a lot DonaldK - I’m surprised it wasnt there before, for such a well known tune and song.
no it wont be played on pipes - fiddle and button accordion……………

this would be entirely unconnected our gig this Saturday, then, when the pipes will of course play G#, and the piper will know where the first beat of the bar is? 🙂>

Ah Matt, trust you. But no, this is not connected (but, nevertheless, very coincidental) to our gig on Saturday.
The transcription is based on a version by Aonghas Grant that I adapted for electronic pipes for Forman Folk (a wee community music group where I act as facilitator) who wanted to play the tune (and sing the associated song).

Re: The Bloody Fields Of Flanders

should this not be in the key of amajor with a g#?

Re: The Bloody Fields Of Flanders

No jan, John MacLellan (Dunoon), was a player of the Great Highland Bagpipes. There are no G#s on that instrument. A lot of pipe tunes will fake A major by not playing G notes or by using their G notes as passing notes.

I agree it has the feel of A major and if you were playing it on the fiddle you might well play the Gs sharp (note my second comment above, from November 24th 2015). If I were singing "Freedom Come All Ye" I probably wouldn’t sing any G notes at all, but would accompany it in A major.

It’s out of respect for the pipes that I put it in A mix.

Re: The Bloody Fields Of Flanders

Hi Donald,

Thanks for posting this important tune.

I started playing this tune as you set it above with the local Pipe Major last night (distanced and in a garden). He explained that I was playing the second part wrong. Pipers play it as sixteen bars;
Bars 1 and 2 of the second part are repeated as bars 5 and 6, as is common in pipe tunes.

For confirmation, there are examples of pipe bands on YouTube. You may care to edit your setting.

Best Wishes

Re: The Bloody Fields Of Flanders

Hi Philip,
If you were playing setting 1 with Aonghas Grant you’d be playing it right, except it would be in the wrong key (he plays it "on D").
I took my setting from Aonghas, changed the root and made it Mixolydian to fit the pipe scale.
You are quite correct about the pipe setting, though note, in the original, the four semitones in bar 7 are efAB rather than ecAB (and probably even more correctly, e>fA>B). I’ll add the pipe setting later, if that suits, (so it’ll still be G naturals).

The Bloody Fields Of Flanders - as played by pipe bands

Donald,

Thanks. That is interesting, if the second setting of yours above is the composer’s original version.

A quick listen to pipe bands and individual pipers on YouTube reveals a complete preference for the 16 bar second part with the last 4 bars identical to the last 4 bars of the first part. This is a common format for pipe tunes, and one that I personally prefer for this tune. This must come from playing with pipers across Zoom for so many months!

Re: The Bloody Fields Of Flanders

It’s a common format for lots of tunes, not just pipe tunes. It’s given that way in Scots Guards II of "standard settings" (they also change the quaver and two semiquavers at the start of bar 3 to a triplet of quavers).
But that’s not how John McLellan wrote it. As far as I know, through the family of John McLellan, Dale Brown (who compiled the definitive volume of the compositions of JMcL) had access to a lot of the original manuscripts. The Scots Guards do their own thing - look how they murder The Road to the Isles (originally The Bens of Jura) in the very first line.