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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 01-18-2010, 02:32 PM   #1
Airborne92
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Default Flowers of the Forest facts and myths

OK, I'm going to throw this out for confirmation. I've been going back and forth with this guy on youtube regarding playing/practicing Flowers of the Forest. As you can see below, he claims as a Scots Guard to have never played the tune on the pipes except at a funeral. Anyone?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLSlEna0rlI

Enferushostis hat auf deinen Kommentar zu The Flowers Of The Forest (Bagpipes) geantwortet: @colonelk I have also played the pipes all my life. I have also had a long career as a piper in the Scots Guards and I can assure you "Flowers of the forest" is not practised on the pipes. It is practised only on the practice chanter. It has nothing to do with curses or any other nonsense. It is simply to ensure the tune remains solumn and special. It is played ONLY at funerals

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Old 01-18-2010, 03:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: Flowers of the Forest facts and myths

My father served in the Scots Guards 1945-46, and told me years ago that this was true. A piper playing Floo'rs O' The Forest on the pipes would be sardonically asked "where's the body"? For whatever reason it just wasn't done (at least not at that time).

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Old 01-19-2010, 12:13 AM   #3
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Default Re: Flowers of the Forest facts and myths

Yip.........spot on ..never played as practice on the instrument....My Old friend Pipe Major David Black...Ulster Scottish...Royal Artillery was ,I remember asked to play this at a Wedding , a request from the Bride..David as a gentleman....refused in a gentleman like manner.........!!.
We were always told the eve of the Battle a ghostly like apparition appeared at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh and read out all the names of those who were to fall.........a "bad" day for Scotland....

Last edited by the old marshal; 01-19-2010 at 12:14 AM. Reason: cannae spell
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:15 AM   #4
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Default Re: Flowers of the Forest facts and myths

Second that. Tempting fate to play it or Lochaber No More on the pipes. I like both tunes, but never practice them except for a funeral. Actually, was listening to Donald MacLeod's New York recordings last week and skipped over Lochaber No More for the same reason! Seems wrong to listen to it.
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: Flowers of the Forest facts and myths

I have to agree that Flowers of the Forest does seem to have this consistent code/superstition about it.
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Flowers of the Forest facts and myths

As a young lad learning the pipes I had an instructor that was a Gordon Highlander during WW1. In additon to what has been already said, the tune was NEVER to be played indoors. To play this inside would be to invite bad luck to the household.
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Flowers of the Forest facts and myths

I hold to that belief, I never play the tune except at the actual funeral service.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:13 AM   #8
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Default Re: Flowers of the Forest facts and myths

Quote:
Originally Posted by pipesofdoom View Post
Second that. Tempting fate to play it or Lochaber No More on the pipes. I like both tunes, but never practice them except for a funeral. Actually, was listening to Donald MacLeod's New York recordings last week and skipped over Lochaber No More for the same reason! Seems wrong to listen to it.
Flowers of the forest AND Lochaber no More? How deep does this superstition run? Perhaps if they were arranged as a jig..... Seriously, I was not aware of such an opinion surrounding Lochaber
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: Flowers of the Forest facts and myths

so my question has to be.......why?
who wrote the tune and what was the influence for writing the tune/history.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:16 AM   #10
Bill Urquhart
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Default Re: Flowers of the Forest facts and myths

The tune itself is older than the hills, and has always been called Flowers of the Forest. But today's lyrics were added to it in 1756 by Jean Elliot in remembrance of the Scots that died in 1513 at Flodden Field (in terms of timeline, it would be like someone today writing a song to remember those who died in the American Revolutionary War, to the tune of some old folk song). The original words are either lost or didn't exist before that, and others have written words for it since then.

But for the real "why," I think you just have to listen to it.

Last edited by Bill Urquhart; 01-19-2010 at 10:18 AM.
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