Andy Renwick’s Ferret
We had a rather desperate plea for sheet music on this tune, so here’s the abc and Jeremy will do his magic to make the dots and sound file appear.
I’ve heard this on Nomos’s cd I Won’t Be Afraid Anymore. I can’t promise I got all the notes exactly right, and the triplets I’ve written are what I would do on fiddle to get the gist of it. Not likely a tune I would often play….but there you have it.
This tune is a composition of GORDON DUNCAN of Pitlochry, Perthshire, who is one of Scotland’s greatest players of the Highland bagpipe. He has composed many other great tunes,which are nowadays common both inside and outside of the piping repertoire. There is a story behind the tune, but I can’t really go into that in any detail!
Sure you can, Kenny, that’s what this forum is for! (Unless of course it’s an embarassing, deeply personal story…)
Exchanging ferret stories?
The ferret set
Old Blind Dogs does a kick-ass version of this tune on their "New Tricks" album. It is part of the track called "The Ferret Set". That starts with a nice version of "Dinky’s" - I learned dinky’s from this, ask me how hard that was 🙂, into something they have as "shetland tune" in the liner notes, presumably this is a tune from shetland that they don’t know the name of, then into the ferret, back to a faster version of dinky’s, then into 2 other tunes that I can’t remember the name of right now. All in all, I really like that track and have been trying to figure out the ferret from the cd, slow going. Now, thanks to this tune posting from you, Will, I should be able to figure out their version. Getting it up to speed is another problem altogether! When I have the cd here, I’ll post it to the recordings section.
I posted the Old Blind Dogs album with the recording of this tune but it is not showing up as a link in the recordings list (for this tune). I’m not sure if this is because they spelled Andy’s last name as Rennick which is how I entered it or because I messed up something else. I changed the spelling for it (and for Dinkies, Dinky’s in the tunes database) but that hasn’t fixed the problem. I’ll check with Jeremy to find out how to fix it.
This tune also appears on Dublin piper Martin Nolan’s solo album, "Travel’n’style".
Notable as it has c naturals throughout. Not a ‘traditional’ note on the Highland pipe?
Tunes like this are why they arm judges at piping competitions.
(But it is a kick-ass tune.)
Tune to go with Andy Renwick’s Ferret
I just finished learning "Andy Renwick’s Ferret" (awesome tune, by the way) and need a tune to go with it. Leahy does it with the Westburne Reel, but I can’t seem to pick it up by ear. At the end, I want to throw in "The Boys of Malin" somewhere, so this new tune would go in the middle. Any ideas?
It does not have C naturals throughout, in fact one of the things that makes the tune so cool is the juxtaposition of C naturals and the pipe’s usual C sharps. Gordon Duncan died at a rather young age not long ago. His long-awaited tunebook collection debuted last Wednesday in Glasgow and is now available from the Piping Centre, Glasgow.
By the way the version given on this site has quite a few errors. Now that Gordon Duncan’s book is available, I hope that people become exposed to the actual tune as he wrote it.
A little bit similar to Charlie McKerron’s Islay Rant https://thesession.org/tunes/1688
Follow up tunes
have seen the tongadale reel follow this one
Transcription in Gordon’s Book
Interestingly enough the book transcription (page 38) is in Am not Ador. Thus the tune should be using Fnaturals rather than sharps.
Despite being able to read music I cannot make head nor tail of the oddly placed 1st/2nd time notation on the first 2 sections. Anyone able to explain to me what Im supposed to make of the extreme non-standard use of 1st/2nd time markers? At the moment the best I can come up with is to ignore them - which seems to make more sense.
The book has 6 parts rather than the 4 here.
More on Gordon’s Book
Just a thought here…
Bagpipe notation…is there an ‘assumed key’?
I’m curious why the transcription in the book uses no key signature, yet naturalises many Cs…..but leaves some untouched - given the discussions above that implies that the key sig should have a C sharp…which would also mean an F sharp…and therefore a Key of Amix?
Curious. Very curious.
Barry, the reason Highland pipe music is written that way is because it is based on one 9 note scale. Pipes never used to be concert pitch Bb no the actual notes written down were not important. Pipers call the notes A,B,C etc even though they are nearer to Bb, C,C# etc. On the pipes all you had was a straight mix so there was no need to show sharps or flats. Modern chanters can play a couple of flat notes by cross fingering but the music is written as it has been for year. So pipe music is written as it it’s to keep things simple. I even have a very old collection written on 3 lines rather than 5 though I have to admit I find that pretty strange.
Help With Chords
I am arranging several reels and jigs for concert band to accompany several fiddlers. I have the sheetmusic, but need to know the correct chord progressions. I could guess at them, but would rather be accurate. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
hey thanks for posting this tune Will. i just learned it and i love it 🙂
I like the inbuilt ‘swagger’ in it. 🙂
Introductory bars of parts 1 and 2 strongly reminiscent of the Congress reel:
"Follow up tunes
have seen the tongadale reel follow this one"
If anyone can follow this reel (at full-speed) with another one, hats off to them!
Just uploaded a version I’ve transcribed from the Battlefield Band, which is also the way I’ve heard it played at sessions…
Transcription of Andy Renwick’s Ferret for bagpipe
I heard the rogues play the gravel walk along with Andy renwick’s ferret and thought it was a really good sounding tune. I wanted to know if there is any sheet music available that have the grace notes included.