A Retreat March
This is a Scottish Pipe march. Retreat marches are all in 3/4 this is not played like a Waltz. It is best to listen to it first before playing it. If you notice where the swung beats lie you should be fine.
This tune was written by P/M John McLellan who lived before the days of copyrights and this tune is public domain.
I learned this version from the Old Blind Dogs album "The Gab O’ Mey."
ALL? ~ Hmmm? ~ I’ve a retreat march somewhere in 6/8… I’ll see if I can remember which one and where and dig it out…
Lochanside, thanks for the pleasant interlude and memory…
I hope I can find the transcription mentioned above. I think it might have been from ‘The Welsh National Library’ in Aberystwyth. It could be that it is really 3/4 and mis-transcribed…?
Cracking tune it was written about a small loch called Loch Loskin which is within walking distance of the Cowal Games field.
I haven’t heard Old Blind Dogs playing this but a quick look at the music shows me that there’s some notational differences compared to the original i’m not sure if this is intentional or not but it certainly sounds off.
“Lochanside” by Pipe Major John MacLellan ~ is this what you mean?
K: D Major
A2 |: d>e f2 fa | ge f2 d2 | a>f d2 d>e | f>d f2 e2 |
e>d c2 ca | ge d2 A2 | e>f g2 gB | cA d2 d2:|
d>f a2 a>g | f>g a2 f2 | dA B2 g>f | ed f2 e2 |
e>d c2 ca | ge d2 A2 | e>f g2 gB | cA d2 d2 :|
c>B A2 Ac | eg f2 d2 | c>B A2 Ac | e<a f2 eA |
d>f a2 fa | g/>f/e/>d/ c2 B2 | e>f g2 gB | cA d2 d2 :|
“The Lochanside Retreat March” ~ from “Ceol na Fidhle Volume 1”
A collection compiled by Christine Martin
Taigh na Teud Music Publishers, 1991
page 49 ~
“The retreat march is not necessarily a march time tune which would be marched to,” explains Stuart Eydmann; rather, “as often as not it was played as part of the evening ritual in military camps as day duties gave way to night ones. It was not linked to the military manoeuvre of retreating in or from battle but was linked to the idea of refuge and safety in the camp.” ~ Christine Martin
Lovely tune. One of the first Scottish tunes I ever learned by ear, from "Johnny’s Big Set" on Celtic Fiddle Festival’s album Encore.
I suspect Stuart Eydmann is right on this one. The tune has a nice relaxed feel and a bit of lilt that would suit the image given in the quote.
Tempo and Such
To be honest I just transcribed what I heard from the recording. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is slightly different. I used to like this tune when I played GHBs but I never learned it until now. This should be played with a nice lilt and not too fast, slower than a waltz. Think about how each beat has to be marched then you should get the right tempo.
Ceolachan, all jigs are in 6/8, all reels are 4/4 or cut time depending on who you talk to, and all polkas are in 2/4. Why can’t all retreat marches be in 3/4? Although, it is possible to write them as such and I am sure that it has been done.
Because I’ve seen at least two ‘retreats’ that were in 6/8… Old transcriptions, but maybe they got it wrong. It’s mine to say, I wasn’t there… ;-)
On this tune and your transcription your bars were off in the third part. I can’t imagine that was a mistake on the recording, or a choice the musicians made, but maybe it was? Again, I wasn’t there and I haven’t got the recording. I learned this march ages ago as well, not from a recording…but I’ve seen other transcriptions of it and they tend to be along the lines of how I’ve given it above.
Most of what I gave, since a lot of it is repeats, only offers expected variations. Here’s the bit in the 3rd part that doesn’t jibe with your transcription, just to be clear:
K: D Major
Yours & mine, side-by-side ~
~| eg fg/f/ e2 | A2 d>f a2 | af g/>f/e/>d/ c2 | B2 e>f g2 | gB cA d2 :|
~ | e<a f2 eA | d>f a2 fa | g/>f/e/>d/ c2 B2 | e>f g2 gB | cA d2 d2 :|
In the third part only, bars 4 - 8, yours is one beat out of synch with the actual melody…
That should have read ~ "It’s ‘not’ mine to say." :-/
If you need more proof, check out the 8th measure of all three parts…
There should be pick-ups at the beginning of each part, I wrote it that way. This happens at times. I will fix the ABCs.
Retreats for the GHB tend to be written in 3/4 and 9/8 time signatures. There’s a fair bit wrong with this setting.
1st part bar 6 F should be high G
bar 8 low A should be D
2nd part bar6 F should be high G
bar 8 low A should be D
3rd part bar 4 + 5 these need to be re written completely
Sorry i can’t write abc
If ceolachan has correctly transcribed from Ceol na Fidhle (i’ve lent mine out so can’t check) then it is more than likely correct.
No, I transcribed it from a recording, but I did check it against "Ceol na Fidhle" and one other source and also Unseen122’s transcription, just to be sure… You’ll see the ‘g’s are there, etc…
The recording was raw piping and as usual I left out any ornamentation…
When I’ve done my penance and have contributed enough Irish tunes I’ll look up at least one of those 6/8 retreats and consider working it up as a transcription to offer on site here. I’d love to hear what those more in the know about these things have to say about it, and what better way to get contructive response than offering up the thing in question for all to see… ;-)
Just looked at your transcription ceolachan and it looks ok.
I really should pay more attention before jumping in and really must learn to write abc.
& read it too ‘iain beag’ ~ it’s a kick, really. Some folks have the same block to ABCs as to the dots, but curiously there seem to be a lot of folks stuck on the dots that just refuse to take on ABCs… You don’t want them ruling over you, but as a tool and a basic guide to memory, they are great. The joy of ABCs is that you can fit at least four complete tunes on a beer coaster, or more if you just need the first couple of measures for a memory jog. It is also a quick way to share music too…
There are some good basic introductions on the Internet. A great way to get to grips with it is to force yourself to learn a tune or two from just the ABCs. I suspect you have enough of time behind you that you’ll be able to fill in the blanks… Iike the dots, the ABCs are just a guide, a skeleton. It takes a musician to flesh a tune out and bring it to life, make it dance…
“The Meirionethshire Retreat March” ~ 18th Century & 6/8
Key signature: Gmajor
Submitted on December 9th 2006 by ceolachan.
The Proof that not all retreats are in 3/4…
“The Rakes Of Kildare” ~ one of the finest, but little known except as a jig
Key signature: A Dorian
Submitted on May 25th 2001 by Jeremy.
Though better known as a jig this is a beauty played as a march, slowand stately with rhythmic play, a ‘retreat march’. It is also a great early tune, to learn as a march and later more up tempo as a jig… I love it both ways…
‘early tune’ referring to teaching it to learners…
Lochanside ABC and dots
Have the ABC and sheet music been corrected, then?
Nope! ~ I don’t think ‘Unseen122’ accepts that he has the last bit wrong… Not just different, wrong… That isn’t something I like saying, but for the last few bars it is off a full beat in the original transcription, and that is obvious to the ears and the eyes. That mistake to date is still in the ABCs and will remain in the sheetmusic, by current practice, possibly forever?
I accepted that it was wrong, although it seemed fine when I played it. I changed the ABCs and the sheet music may or may not get changed depending on whether Jeremy reads this or not.
Sadly, the sheetmusic is an artifact of our mistakes. I know, there are a few regrets scattered on site here I wish I could see accept the corrections made in the ABCs… I have to admit I was surprised you didn’t feel the off beat in those last measures, but I’ve been in a simlar fix before, where something looks right ~ and then a few days later I find my brain finally catching up with the obvious…
I still am glad you put this old friend on the site and made me reacquaint myself with it. I am guilty of great neglect and need to be prodded… But don’t use one of those electric prods… Again, thanks for this ‘Unseen122’, much appreciated…
As ceolachan states, not ALL retreats are written in 3/4; "The Battle of the Somme" https://thesession.org/tunes/2923 is in 9/8, while if you look in the Scots Gurads Standard Settings (London 1954) you will see "The Meeting of the Waters" labelled as a retreat and in 4/4 time!
damn, can’t find scots gurads ANYwhere!