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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > General Discussion > History, Tradition, Heritage
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History, Tradition, Heritage As related to the subjects of piping, drumming and pipe bands.

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Old 12-21-2017, 03:28 AM   #11
CalumII
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

Fairly scratching my head at some of the assertions made on thon site. I would be cautious.

Re trumpet playing, it's maybe been conflated with an account on Wikipedia which describes it being played on bugle during the Indian Mutiny, an account which must be either factually incorrect or simply fabricated.
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Old 12-21-2017, 10:10 AM   #12
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks



Leong,

What a truly marvelous resource!! :)

Many... many... Thanks!!


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Old 12-29-2017, 05:57 PM   #13
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
Given that trumpets were quite limited in what they could play in those days, I find this last bit somewhat spurious ( which may be why it's unsubstantiated)
Where's Keith Sanger when we need him?

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Old 12-30-2017, 05:02 AM   #14
K Sanger
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

Quote:
Originally Posted by moderntraditional View Post
Where's Keith Sanger when we need him?

Trying to keep his head down as these sort of questions are never simple to answer as I will demonstrate at tedious length.

Where to start, well lets take the little drummer boy. Following the formation of 'rifle regiments' circa 1802 and the following roll out of rifles to all troops the more mobile warfare it allowed meant that the previous rigidly controlled organised firing of weapons although still having a place meant that the drum signals used as part of that process became obsolete and the more mobile troop movements required a more agile form of signalling. Hence drummers also became buglers, so the little drummer boy could have played a bugle which he would also have carried at that time.

So having got that out of the way lets turn to the tune 'Cock o' the North'. Here we start with the name itself which had from the 16th century used as a nickname for successive earls of Huntly. For some reason that family attracted nicknames another being the 'Guidman o the Bog' referring to their castle at Bog of Gight also known as Gordon Castle.

The actual tune entitled 'the Cock o the North' surfaces around the time of the formation of the Gordon Highlanders Regiment by the Duke of Gordon at the start of the Napoleonic wars. Apart from patronizing the fiddler William Marshall the Duke was no stranger to bagpipes since while he was attending Harrow School in London in 1756 his accounts show that he had a bagpipe with him. He also appeared at a number of the early Piping Competitions where on one occasion the newspaper report noted that he had entered the Judges Box but that it was thought that he had not taken any part in the judging.

So far so good but now we move onto more contentious territory where the fact that little of what is in modern terms thought of as the repertoire of 'Highland Piping' bears little real connection to the original ethnic highland pipers nor for that matter is often not even of sure Scottish origin. The tune now known as 'The Cock o the North' was formerly known under a number of names mostly variations on 'Jumping Joan' (or Jumping John). It was known under that name by the English diarist Pepys in 1667, it appears in Playfords Dancing Master work and Oswald in 1758.

As far as any connection to Mary Queen of Scots is concerned then we can take that back as far as an exhibition on the Queen held in Glasgow in 1888 where the description of a Dutch painting showing the execution of Queen Mary among the exhibits said that the tune 'Jumping Joan' was played at the time. No mention of trumpets though.

Keith
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Old 01-04-2018, 01:04 AM   #15
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

Quote:
Originally Posted by K Sanger View Post
Trying to keep his head down as these sort of questions are never simple to answer as I will demonstrate at tedious length.

Where to start, well lets take the little drummer boy. Following the formation of 'rifle regiments' circa 1802 and the following roll out of rifles to all troops the more mobile warfare it allowed meant that the previous rigidly controlled organised firing of weapons although still having a place meant that the drum signals used as part of that process became obsolete and the more mobile troop movements required a more agile form of signalling. Hence drummers also became buglers, so the little drummer boy could have played a bugle which he would also have carried at that time.

So having got that out of the way lets turn to the tune 'Cock o' the North'. Here we start with the name itself which had from the 16th century used as a nickname for successive earls of Huntly. For some reason that family attracted nicknames another being the 'Guidman o the Bog' referring to their castle at Bog of Gight also known as Gordon Castle.

The actual tune entitled 'the Cock o the North' surfaces around the time of the formation of the Gordon Highlanders Regiment by the Duke of Gordon at the start of the Napoleonic wars. Apart from patronizing the fiddler William Marshall the Duke was no stranger to bagpipes since while he was attending Harrow School in London in 1756 his accounts show that he had a bagpipe with him. He also appeared at a number of the early Piping Competitions where on one occasion the newspaper report noted that he had entered the Judges Box but that it was thought that he had not taken any part in the judging.

So far so good but now we move onto more contentious territory where the fact that little of what is in modern terms thought of as the repertoire of 'Highland Piping' bears little real connection to the original ethnic highland pipers nor for that matter is often not even of sure Scottish origin. The tune now known as 'The Cock o the North' was formerly known under a number of names mostly variations on 'Jumping Joan' (or Jumping John). It was known under that name by the English diarist Pepys in 1667, it appears in Playfords Dancing Master work and Oswald in 1758.

As far as any connection to Mary Queen of Scots is concerned then we can take that back as far as an exhibition on the Queen held in Glasgow in 1888 where the description of a Dutch painting showing the execution of Queen Mary among the exhibits said that the tune 'Jumping Joan' was played at the time. No mention of trumpets though.

Keith
Brilliant, Keith. What would we do without your knowledge and insight?
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:52 PM   #16
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g., Farewell to the Creeks

Very interesting; thank you gentlemen.

The only remaining question is when did the canary show up?

Best regards,
Kevin
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:48 PM   #17
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

Quote:
Originally Posted by K Sanger View Post



So far so good but now we move onto more contentious territory where the fact that little of what is in modern terms thought of as the repertoire of 'Highland Piping' bears little real connection to the original ethnic highland pipers nor for that matter is often not even of sure Scottish origin.

This is a fascinating statement, one well worth ruminating upon. We have this idea that we are carrying on a “Highland tradition”. What we are probably doing is mostly carrying on an English idea of a Highland tradition. Like “clan tartans”. And much of what passes for Pibroch performance today.

Thank you, Keith. You always bring such important facts and perspectives into these discussions.

-David
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Old 01-14-2018, 03:49 AM   #18
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Shaw View Post
From the Gordon Highlanders Pipe Music Collection volume 2-

Farewell to the Creeks Pipe Major James Robertson, Gordon Highlanders
And there are words...
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Old 01-14-2018, 04:09 AM   #19
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

Quote:
Originally Posted by K Sanger View Post
The tune now known as 'The Cock o the North' was formerly known under a number of names mostly variations on 'Jumping Joan' (or Jumping John). It was known under that name by the English diarist Pepys in 1667, it appears in Playfords Dancing Master work and Oswald in 1758.
I'm glad you shed light on that.

We're so used to, today, people writing words and tunes together. In the old days it usually wasn't like that, rather old tunes were re-used over and over, re-worked into various tempi and metres and used for various dance idioms and serving numerable song-texts.

And these old tunes travelled around and were used in England, Scotland, Ireland, America, and probably many other places.

Tomas O Canainn in Tradtional Music in Ireland discusses this at length with numerous examples, starting:

"The process of composition and transmission within the tradition makes an interesting study. In the past, and even yet, original composition as such is not the norm. One finds old material being reworked to provide the setting for a quite new song, perhaps...
One can trace foreign influences in the Irish tradition... the influence of Scotland and England has been of considerable importance and it is possible to find material common to all three countries. It is often difficult to establish ownership of a particular tune, though one can discover where the tune was first published.

(For example) the tune Tweedside was first published in the Orpheus Caledonian Collection in 1733. It was taken into the Irish tradition and combined with a text in Irish in praise of the river Lee to give the well-known Abha na Laoi. This tune is new better known as Ar Eirinn ni Neosfainn Ce Hi."

He gives several examples of song-airs and dance tunes sharing melodies.
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:23 AM   #20
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
(For example) the tune Tweedside was first published in the Orpheus Caledonian Collection in 1733. It was taken into the Irish tradition and combined with a text in Irish in praise of the river Lee to give the well-known Abha na Laoi. This tune is new better known as Ar Eirinn ni Neosfainn Ce Hi."
Tweedside is indeed a good example of a 'wandering' tune. It was also used by the 18th Century Scottish Gaelic poet Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair for his song/poem 'Oran a' Gheamhraidh'.

For a very good background to that tunes various meanderings see Cynthia Cathcart's online study here

http://www.wirestrungharp.com/music/tweedside.html

Keith
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