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History, Tradition, Heritage As related to the subjects of piping, drumming and pipe bands.

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Old 12-03-2017, 08:36 AM   #1
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Default History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

Hello piping world,

I am searching for websites on which the history behind piping tunes is reflected. I would like to know the history behind e.g. "Farewell to the Creeks" or "Cock of the North".

Who can help me?

Best regards from freezing cold Switzerland

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Old 12-03-2017, 09:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

I think Peter Heineman has written some books on the stories behind bagpipe tunes.
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:29 AM   #3
Aaron Shaw
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

From the Gordon Highlanders Pipe Music Collection volume 2-

Farewell to the Creeks Pipe Major James Robertson, Gordon Highlanders

"The title is based on the creeks and inlets of the Banff-Portsoy coastline in Banffshire where the composer came from. This famous march was written in Limerick in 1919 when Pipe Major Robertson had just rejoined the 1st Battalion after his experiences as a prisoner of war from 1914-1918."
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

From the Wikipedia entry for "Cock of the North": "The title comes from the nickname of Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon, who in 1794 raised the 92nd Regiment of Foot, which later became the Gordon Highlanders."

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Old 12-03-2017, 05:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

Greetings, SwissPiper,

It is always... and for us all... a good thing... to know as
much as possible... about the music that we play... and
its history... its antecedents... and its variations.

And the same holds equally true... for out kit and gear. :)
(Might as well know what we are doing... and why. :)

And the grand thing about this place... the Forum... is that
there is an abundance of piping knowledge... to be found
in its members... scattered about our globe...

Jump right in... and ask anything... because that is the only
way that any of us... ever learned...



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

Last edited by Pip01; 12-03-2017 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: History behind the tunes - e.g. Farewell to the Creeks

An excerpt from Heineman:

"[The 4th Duke of Gordon] was an enthusiastic supporter and patron of the music of William Marshall (1748-1833), a Scottish fiddler and composer, and famous for his many strathspeys, who acted as steward of the Gordon household. The tune, Cock of the North, may be one of William Marshall’s compositions. The Duke died suddenly at Mount Street, Berkeley Square, on 17 June 1827 and was buried in Elgin Cathedral.

The dance and ballad air was assumed into martial repertory, the obvious connection being with the Gordon Highlanders, whose military bands play it as the regimental march past in quick time. It has been recorded that the melody helped win Gordon Highlander Piper George Findlater the Victoria Cross in 1897. It seems that while leading the charge storming Dargai Heights with other pipers, he was shot through both legs; "undaunted, he propped himself against a boulder, and continued to play" the stirring air to encourage the successful action. Another military story relates of its earlier use in the siege of Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The British were initially hard pressed and were for some time besieged in various locations in the city by native Indians. Signals had been regularly sent between the forces defending parts of the besieged town, and those under attack in the Residency quarters. A drummer boy named Ross, after the signaling was over, climbed to the high dome from which signals were sent and despite harassing fire from the Sepoys he sounded "Cock o' the North" in defiance, rallying the English with his bravery (though being a drummer, exactly how he 'sounded' the tune remains a mystery.)

The tune was used by the Scots poet Robert Burns for his song "Her Daddie Forbad and Her Minnie Forbad." In America, it was given to Bayard that there was an obscene New England song to the tune called "Chase Me, Charlie," but he did not hear it. It has been asserted that a trumpet version of the tune was played at the execution of Mary Queen of Scots in 1587 although this cannot be substantiated."
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