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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 12-11-2019, 05:55 AM   #1
Barry Shears
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Default Lament at funerals

Hello Friends,
I have recently been thinking about the whole "Lament at funerals" thing and I was wondering what views about the music pipers on the forum may have. I am seeking answers to questions such as:
Do you have favourite Lament? Why?
When did The Flowers of the Forest become popular as a funeral lament?
Is The Flowers of the Forest more a military funeral tune the civilian one?
How often does the family request the actual tune?
Are tunes like Amazing Grace requested often or do you find the musical selection is left to the piper?
Any interesting funeral experiences out there?

Post or send me a private email
Bye fr now, and merry Christmas everyone
Barry
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Old 12-11-2019, 05:59 AM   #2
DamhCabrachPiping
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Default Re: Lament at funerals

The 'rules' as they were stated to me are as follows:

Flowers of the forest is a military lament, exclusively, and should only be played as such.

A lament for a civilian funeral could be anything you want. Ṕobaireachd, a slow aire, slow March- just make sure it fits the occasion.


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Old 12-11-2019, 06:45 AM   #3
Lochie
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Default Re: Lament at funerals

I too was taught the same as above, but find that the family often requests Amazing Grace. I guess it's become synonymous with funerals, lamentably....
I once played at a funeral for a piper I never knew. When I asked the family what they wanted me to play, they said "anything other than Amazing Grace".
The deceased had clearly made his wishes clear, and I was happy to oblige.
I often use Mist Covered Mountains, because I personally like it very much, and I find it a very haunting tune when played at the right tempo.
For below zero Nov 11 parades, I'll switch to Going Home. Much easier to play when you can't feel your fingers let alone the holes on the chanter...
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Old 12-11-2019, 07:34 AM   #4
rpeitzsch
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Default Re: Lament at funerals

My mother requested that Black Bear be played at my Dad's funeral as it was one of his favourite tunes. Ok, not really a lament....
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Old 12-11-2019, 07:34 AM   #5
BaggyMcPipes
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Default Re: Lament at funerals

I like to play, "The Terror Time," whenever I can. Funeral or otherwise, I just like that tune. But I do also like to play Going Home, Skye Boat Song, Flowers of the Forest, etc. I would say Amazing Grace is definitely the most requested, though. Usually no matter what else I play, I finish by playing a round of Amazing Grace next to the grave and then continuing to play as I walk away.

I've had a few requests that we interesting - Red River Valley worked well for a cowboy, My Wild Irish Rose for a woman named Rose...

Best/worst request was for, "Memory". I was like, "from the Broadway show, Cats?" They were like, "no, by Barry Manilow." (It's the same song,) so I was like, "it might not sound great with the drones... I could stop the drones, but it might still not sound great..." they were like, "no we really want you to play that one," I was like, "I will, you bet, it's just..."

Then I made a quick recording and sent it to them. After a few minutes they responded, "yeah... Maybe just do Amazing Grace".


I think I still have the file of the recording, let's see if I can attach it...
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Old 12-11-2019, 07:36 AM   #6
BaggyMcPipes
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Default Re: Lament at funerals

There, I think I got it to work. I present: Memoryhttp://cloud.tapatalk.com/s/5df0f987...y-Bagpipes.mp3
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:49 AM   #7
Texas Gael
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Default Re: Lament at funerals

Do you have favourite Lament? Why?

I prefer either Cha Till Mac Crumein or Hector the Hero (Cape Breton setting). My preference is for Gaelic tunes. I am the direct descendant on both sides of my family of Scottish Gaels who were cleared and made their way to the United States, and I got into piping for the cultural aspect, not the "tunes of glory". In addition to Flowers of the Forest and Lochaber No More, if the deceased is a woman I like An Eala Bhan. Also like Fagailte Rubha Bhatarnais, the point being the last glimpse of Scotland that Gaels saw when immigrating from the Western Highlands.

When did The Flowers of the Forest become popular as a funeral lament?


As a Texan, I can only say that it is requested by native born Scots who hire me, and there are quite a few in the greater Austin area. Most Americans are not familiar with the tune.

Is The Flowers of the Forest more a military funeral tune the civilian one?

My guess is that it since it was played by various regiments for funerals in the British Army, it may have become popular in Scotland in the wake of the two World Wars given the number of men and women serving.

How often does the family request the actual tune?

In the US never unless the family are native born Scots. And there is a lot of GHB ignorance even among the native Scots I've encountered.

Are tunes like Amazing Grace requested often or do you find the musical selection is left to the piper?

About 50/50 for me. Most Americans have no knowledge of the GHB other than what they see and hear in popular media. I love it when given "free reign".

Any interesting funeral experiences out there?

Too many to recount here, I guess you could say "I've seen it all".

Cheers -

Wes
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:02 AM   #8
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Lament at funerals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Shears View Post
Hello Friends,
I have recently been thinking about the whole "Lament at funerals" thing and I was wondering what views about the music pipers on the forum may have. I am seeking answers to questions such as:
Do you have favourite Lament? Why?
Depending on the wishes and ethnic background of the family, My fabvorites are Chi mi na mor-bheanna and She Moved Through The Fair
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Shears View Post
When did The Flowers of the Forest become popular as a funeral lament?
Is The Flowers of the Forest more a military funeral tune the civilian one?
How often does the family request the actual tune?
in my experience, more half of the time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Shears View Post
Are tunes like Amazing Grace requested often or do you find the musical selection is left to the piper?
Amazing Grace is the most often requested tune for funerals in my experience, and Danny Boy* the next most often, but about half of the people who book me leave the rest of the list up to me. I'll often play hymns such as "Abide With Me", "Softly And Tenderly", "Here I am Lord, "Nearer, My God To Thee", "Breathe On Me, O Breath of God" and others, including the appropriate military theme and/or "Eternal Father, Strong To Save" for a veteran's service.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Shears View Post
Any interesting funeral experiences out there?
My favorite funeral story: I got a request from a lady in Florida to play for a funeral in Dorchester. Her Grandmother died while on a visit to see her and her mother, and was being sent back up to the Boston ares for the funeral and burial. I asked if she had any particular music in mind. She did: "Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead" !! It turned out her gran was a big fan of "The Wizzard of Oz", used to wear ruby slippers and a witch-on-a broom broach. I played the tune standing by the door at the reception after the service ( in case I needed to make a run for it).
The Family loved it.
Merry Christmas, Barry and all.
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:09 AM   #9
Barry Shears
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Default Re: Lament at funerals

Thanks everyone, for the great response. A fellow piper here had a t-shirt made which featured a piper and the slogan Put the Fun back in Funeral. Regrettably on his first wearing he bumped into the wife of some he just played the lament for.
I never cared for The Flowers of the Forest, probably because it was unfamiliar to me and IMHO there are prettier tunes out there. I have played Going Home a few times, Braes of Locheil , Amazing Grace, but the standout tune and the one that draws the tears is Hector The Hero.
Barry
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Old 12-11-2019, 02:26 PM   #10
TwitchyFingers
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Default Re: Lament at funerals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Shears View Post
Thanks everyone, for the great response. A fellow piper here had a t-shirt made which featured a piper and the slogan Put the Fun back in Funeral. Regrettably on his first wearing he bumped into the wife of some he just played the lament for.
I never cared for The Flowers of the Forest, probably because it was unfamiliar to me and IMHO there are prettier tunes out there. I have played Going Home a few times, Braes of Locheil , Amazing Grace, but the standout tune and the one that draws the tears is Hector The Hero.
Barry
I was going to ask your advice, recently, Barry. I had to play a funeral for someone from Nova Scotia and was wondering if there are any tunes/laments particular or more appreciated by people from there.
I occasionally get requests for Flowers of The Forest, although it is not usually regarded solely as a military tune in my area.
I am usually requested to play Amazing Grace.
Favorites to play: Sleep Dearie Sleep, I will Go Home To Kintail, Bonny Portmore, The Dark Isle, Lord Lovat's Lament(slow) The Minstrel Boy(slow/stately), Going Home.
Most interesting request: Isn't It Grand Boys, When You're Bloody Well Dead?
Lots of interesting stories, but no time to type them out.
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