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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 08-04-2020, 09:16 AM   #1
Matt Willis Bagpiper
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Default Kirk of the Highlands - works as harmony for Highland Cathedral!

This tune is both a lovely air on its own, but perhaps more importantly, works perfectly as two parts of harmony for the classic “Highland Cathedral”. This recording is in B♭, so pick up your practice chanter (assuming it’s not in A=440!) and play “Highland Cathedral” along to my air “Kirk of the Highlands”! Free PDF & MP3 of the tune in the description. Cheers!

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Old 08-07-2020, 08:35 AM   #2
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Kirk of the Highlands - works as harmony for Highland Cathedral!

I think that's the coolest thing, and very difficult to do well, to write a descant/counter-melody that can stand on its own, be perceived by the listener as a tune in its own right.

As you probably know it's an extremely effective arranging thing to have a pipe band play the counter-melody, then on the repeat have a harmony piper come in playing the original tune. The coolness of it is when people recognise that the "harmony line" is a familiar tune.

There's a touch of that in the commonly heard bass line for Start Spangled Banner when the tuba comes in playing the first phrase of The First Noel.

I came up with a descant for Amazing Grace that's just tuneful enough to work in the sort of arrangement I was talking about. (sorry it's blurry)

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Old 08-07-2020, 12:42 PM   #3
Matt Willis Bagpiper
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Default Re: Kirk of the Highlands - works as harmony for Highland Cathedral!

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Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
I think that's the coolest thing, and very difficult to do well, to write a descant/counter-melody that can stand on its own, be perceived by the listener as a tune in its own right.
I appreciate that! There was more than a bit of trial and error in getting this to work, and I ended up changing the chord structure the tune normally used in its harmony.

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Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
As you probably know it's an extremely effective arranging thing to have a pipe band play the counter-melody, then on the repeat have a harmony piper come in playing the original tune. The coolness of it is when people recognise that the "harmony line" is a familiar tune.
I hadn't considered doing that with this tune, but it's a brilliant idea.

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I came up with a descant for Amazing Grace that's just tuneful enough to work in the sort of arrangement I was talking about.
That is very nice! And I can imagine starting with this descant and then surprising the audience when they hear "Amazing Grace" come through in the repeat.
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:10 PM   #4
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Kirk of the Highlands - works as harmony for Highland Cathedral!

Thanks!

What I have above there is different than the band (or duo) arrangement I have written out. The one posted above has both parts going the whole time which isn't right.

In the actual arrangement the harmony piper doesn't come in until the 3rd beat of Bar 8, and then plays a truncated version of Amazing Grace.

Due to the Amazing Grace piper being the harmony piper, the harmony part doesn't end on D but has a little flourish.



I'll post a video of me playing in with the sheet music on Youtube.
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Old 08-09-2020, 08:04 AM   #5
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Default Re: Kirk of the Highlands - works as harmony for Highland Cathedral!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Willis Bagpiper View Post
This tune is both a lovely air on its own, but perhaps more importantly, works perfectly as two parts of harmony for the classic “Highland Cathedral”. This recording is in B♭, so pick up your practice chanter (assuming it’s not in A=440!) and play “Highland Cathedral”
Interesting. The only question is why I'd ever want to play "Highland Cathedral"?
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Old 08-11-2020, 06:16 AM   #6
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Kirk of the Highlands - works as harmony for Highland Cathedral!

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The only question is why I'd ever want to play "Highland Cathedral"?
Because somebody is paying me $300 to play it...
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Old 08-11-2020, 08:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: Kirk of the Highlands - works as harmony for Highland Cathedral!

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Because somebody is paying me $300 to play it...
That, my friends, is the correct answer!
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Old 08-11-2020, 08:01 AM   #8
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Kirk of the Highlands - works as harmony for Highland Cathedral!

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Because somebody is paying me $300 to play it...
Ha, ha! Good reason and response!! Brilliant!
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