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Music Discuss specific tunes, the writing of tunes, other questions, concerns, etc. related specifically to the music or music books.

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Old 03-23-2020, 12:47 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Glengarry County ON
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Default Story behind "Greenwood Side"


As you probably can tell, I'm the UBI guy for a local band and am collecting the story behind tunes our P/Maj has put together for a possible future trip to Scotland.

Somewhere I heard that knowing the story behind a tune helps remember it. Not sure if it works, but during the world wide self isolation/social distancing, the search for that story fills time.

Greenwood Side. This tune seems to be attributed to a number of sources. David Glen has Donald Mackenzie, the Holyrood Collection says John MacKenzie and Jim McGillivray has it as traditional.

Scots Guards used it as one of their regimental tunes

I've found a ballad that goes by a similar name. My ear doesn't put the two tunes together.

Is there a story behind the march Greenwood Side?
Not too old to rock & roll; Pipe on!
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:10 PM   #2
Tom MacKenzie
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,449
Default Re: Story behind "Greenwood Side"

AKA The Cruel Mother.

You can google the Behind the Tunes Manual for this story. However it essentially summarizes the lyrics. Another story about the bagpipe tune is here.

As for the composer, it is listed as Donald MacKenzie in the sources.

Bill Livingstone Jr. actually sings this tune on his Northern Man cd.

I agree that the pipe tune and the folk tune melodies are not the same. There is an interesting discussion of this on the Forums.


Last edited by Tom MacKenzie; 03-23-2020 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: Story behind "Greenwood Side"


The Old Tradition... from which I first came...
was song... and with pipe tunes... if... there
are lyrics... and/or tales... stories.. or yarns...
with or behind them... then for me... just so
much... the better!! :)

And in the playing... and whether band or
solo... oft times the words...swirl 'round in
my mind... as the fingers find the chanter.

Again... to me... it just seems to give... or
lend... a fuller expression... to the tune. :)

But as to any of that... being any sort of
aid to memorization?? Hmm... I haven't
the foggiest. :)

But and again... for me... however... I do
find that... knowing more about any tune...
greatly increases... my enjoyment of it.



My friends all know,
With what a brave carouse...

Last edited by Pip01; 03-23-2020 at 09:55 PM.
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