“Doctor MacLeod of Alnwick” ~ a march by Pipe Major “Alec” Alexander Ross
Here you are nathan and the rest of yez who might be interested. Yeah, I know, it is notated by some as 2/4, but I think that is in the past and should stay there. This is clearer in 4/4… Yes, there can be swing and snap in it. This will have a decided Cape Breton influence in it, as that’s the only place I’ve heard it and known it. I haven’t the ‘by-the-book’ notation, Willie Ross, or I’d be able to offer something from there for comparision, minus all the piper’s twiddly bits. This tune is also, as I understand it, played in Northumberland, where Alnwick is, situated somewhere in the middle… I may have a recording of it in that style, on small pipes, but not here where I can get at it, unfortunately.
Alnwick / Alnick ~
Here’s some tourism information for those of you who like countryside and walks and castles and stuff. Supposedly the district of Alnwick is one of the most sparsely populated areas of this island and extends from "The Northumberland National Park" to the area’s "Heritage Coast"…
"Alnwick is in the heart of Northumberland, famous for its unspoilt beauty, and is one of the most picturesque areas of countryside in the whole of England - with long sandy beaches, quiet friendly villages, the Simonside and Cheviot hills, well preserved medieval Castles, and gardens (Alnwick Garden should come top of your list!). There are numerous Stately Homes in the area including the fantastic Alnwick Castle ~ " ~ http://www.alnwickcastle.com/
“Doctor MacLeod of Alnwick / Alnick” ~ just a few other choices
These are some other possibilities with the C & D parts of the tune, the first four bars:
C.) |: (3agf |
ecAc ecAe | ceAc e2 (3gfe | d2 GB dBGd | Bd (3GAB d2 af | ~
D.) |: (3Bcd |
ea^ga eAc<f | ea^g<a (3efe (3edc | Bgfg d<GB<e | d<gfg (3ded cd | ~
Nicholas, not nathan, but he can feel included too ~
Not ‘nathan’, I guess I didn’t get enough sleep, I had meant nicholas ~ and the Maryland Highlander of course ~ and a few other fellow nut cases on site here… Oh yeah, musn’t forget Kenny… ;-)
One of my sisters lives there. Yes, it’s a handsome little town, and the Castle is well worth a visit, being inhabited, with lots of interesting furnishings, paintings etc. (The nation recently paid the Duke of Northumberland a considerable sum to stop him flogging a Raphael abroad). But my sister thinks the new - look Castle Gardens are in rather naff taste. (Bamburgh, some way to the North, is also worth visiting for the same reasons.)
The beaches were, at any rate, famously empty because they and the sea were simply too bloody cold all the year round, but now global warming has affected even Northumberland, they might now be more frequented.
The Tourist Board are unlikely to tell you that there is (or at any rate has been) no co-ordination between local bus times and those of trains stopping at Alnmouth, four miles or so away. If you disembark there, a bus will take you to Alnwick - eventually. Eventually can be a pretty long time on a chilly platform in the middle of nowhere.I prefer to get a direct bus there from Newcastle.
Alnwick has its own District but is in the Constituency of Berwick - Upon - Tweed, a traditional Liberal seat. I’ve yet to discover why the (old) Liberals hung on in these curious fey recondite places, like Shetland, Cornwall, Mid - Wales, the Highlands - and Berwick.
Dr. McLeod Of Alnwick
…Back to the tune - it was played by Billy Pigg on his album "The Border Minstrel".
All I can vaguely remember is that Billy Pigg had a different take on it, but that’s easily said, he had a different take on anything he played… :-/
…was my place of birth.
Damn, I forgot to mention ol’ man Nox…the boullion cube… Hey Nox, are you Vegetable, Chicken, Lamb or Beef boullion?
Oxtail! ~ that’s it… :-)
I’ll look out for the blue plaque next time I’m up there.
It’s a different sort of plaque, it is a triangle and has a red background and a white stick figure prone and with its arms and legs akimbo and a thunderbolt through it ~ which I take as some kind of WARNING!!!
Oh yeah, by the way nicholas, one of Santa’s demented dwarves, the one in question, may come you way soon, in the New Year… Nox, or Knox, or the everlasting boullion is due in your neighbourhood sometimes soon… So put out the poisoned port and left-over mouldy mince pies… Or should it be warm curlded milk and broken biscuits?
I’m sure glad ‘Nox’ returned to the alias of ‘Dow’, especially now that we know his heritage, his place of conception and birth… I just couldn’t shake the notion of Nox being Knox and the extension to Knoxville and The Grand Ol’ Oprey and beef, deer and boar jerky and the processing down of waste products into boullion cubes… (You’d have had to have been there…) :-/
The tune is a good one and I it sticks in my ears like boiled hooves to the bottom of the pot.
I’m glad you like it… :-)
Alnwick is in the heart of Northumberland and I have no doubt that the tune orignates from the town as there is a very long tradition of the tradional musician associated with the Gathering writing tunes for each other. However, the tune is stylisticly Scottish. If you played this in a Northumbrian session people would wonder what you had done with your kilt. Still a good tune though. I have a mind to include in a march, Strathspey and reel set as we need one for Burns Night.
Angels of the North
Angels of the North
I was born in and have lived in Alnwick all my life, as have my parents and their parents and so on. I also play in local folk bands within the large folk community here and can tell you I’ve never heard this tune before! MacLeod isn’t a Northumbrian name, I suggest you look at Nova Scotia or Cape Breton? And the gardens here aren’t naff, I’d also suggest you visit them before visiting the overated castle : P
Good one Caly, I think we have it though, that it is ‘Scottish’, and that it was written by the person it is attributed to, as a respect to someone. You don’t have to be Northumbrian to live thereabouts do you? I know it might help, but those damned Scots got everywhere. I can’t think of a place I’ve been on this planet where they hadn’t been there first… McLeods included… ;-)
And ‘doctors’ especially…
I was born there too, in Hillcrest Hospital.
Like I said back in 2006 :-)
Maybe calyoung came across this because of my list. I mustn’t have been on the ball when I added it b/c I implied it was a Northumbrian barndance, when obviously it’s a Scottish pipe march - just named after some dude from Alnwick. Sorry for the confusion there.
Yeah, well get it right next time and stop fuffin’ about will yuh… ‘Phrygian’, I mean, why not, eh? 8-)
Traditional Liberal seat
Nicholas, the MP for Berwick before Alan Beith was a Tory Grandee - Lord Lambton of "caught in bed with prostitutes " fame.
That’s what I like, a little history to give things flavour… ;-)
Absolutely! Yes I did happen to be looking for Northumbrian tunes but this was the only thing I found that was new. You don’t need to be Northumbrian no, just so long as your not Scotch! Where are you now then ceolachan?
This worthy gentleman was my dad’s doctor in Alnwick. . The tune I think you may find was written by a Scot, "A. Ross", to whom the tune is attributed. Certainly, it was among the repertoire of local bands. 2/4 or 4/4 depended on the dance it was needed for, surely? The good bands could take any tune and play it as a reel, jig, hornpipe , waltz, whatever they needed it to fit. It was the theme of the tune that counted.
Doctor MacLeod Of Alnwick - Billy Pigg version
I just found the thread here, looking for that tune that I know played by Billy Pigg (on the small pipes, for sure ! :-D).
I’d still written the abc for myself, so I put it here ;-)
- It’s written as played in G mix for the small pipes (I would play it in Amix on uilleann pipes or whistle) : the standard modern Northumbrian small pipes have an ionian scale in F (they were in G in the old 415 pitch, so old sets are in F# in the todays 440 pitch, like Billy Pigg’s set), and because of the cylindric bore of the chanter there’s no E flat (7th minor) ; so only additional keys allow an extended scale, up and down the 8 holes of the chanter , from low C to high A (almost 2 octaves) ; there are 2 other keys in the middle of the chanter which give a B natural and a C# ; but oldest sets had no keys at all, so the main part of the repertoire is in F major and G minor, and not so often in D minor and C major scales which need to be played with keys (drones can be set in F,G, C and D).
But the B natural key allows to play in G mixolydian which the scottish bag pipes’ scale … and so the ability to play the scottish repertoire …
- Actually, I’ve written with pointed eighth notes and semiquavers in the 3 first parts, but B. Pigg doesn’t play so strickly stressed, that’s why I did’nt wrote the 4th part the same manner.
X: 4 = X: 3 transposed up a step from G Mix to A Mix
Thanks for the transcription G.Ryckeboer, appreciated. I’d intended to but had forgotten to chase up and do a transcription of Billy Pigg’s way with this tune.
Does anyone have a short bio of the composer P/M Alexander Ross?