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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 05-17-2004, 08:11 AM   #1
Jürgen Rech
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Default 3/4 Marches

Hallo,

this is a move from the "music" forum:

every now and then there appears the question about the weird notation of retreat marches: the pick-up notes are very regularily put behind the barline which is obviously wrong according to the rules of writing music. The answer is: "it's tradition".

Who can put light on this secret where and when and by whome and of what explicit reason this habit has been created?

Jurgen
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Old 05-25-2004, 03:49 PM   #2
The Pipe Guy
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Default Re: 3/4 Marches

Nor does marching to 3/4 time make any sense. When did all this begin and why?
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Old 05-26-2004, 05:24 AM   #3
HepcatBob
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Default Re: 3/4 Marches

Quote:
Originally posted by Rick G:
When did all this begin and why?
See PiperD's response in the "B Gracenote" thread.
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Old 05-26-2004, 06:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: 3/4 Marches

Why does marching to a 3/4 not make any sense? Because you keep switching back and forth on the lead foot? 9/8s do that too, no big deal. I don't get the problem.

What I do find a wee bit odd is having a couple of 4 pace rolls intro-ing something that's based on a 3... Count to 4 to play in 3. That's just weird.

As to those pick-up notes - I've heard from older folks that the English military are responsible for this occuring. I can't remember the details, but I seem to recall a man saying to me that the English moved some (but not all) 3/4 marches over the barline, thus removing the pick-up notes in such tunes as Green Hills.

But again, why?

Could have something to do with making the words for the tunes incoherent (just try to sing "There was a soldier, a Scottish soldier" and move the pick-up of "there was" to being a strong down beat - it's hard). And knowing the English had this thing about the Scottish and their tunes...

One thing it does do is add an interesting pulse to the music against the drum score, remembering that a lot of this is about marching around, and I guess it's easier to make the pipers change something than get all the drummers to change something It becomes more of a march, and less of a waltz, and you haven't done anything extraordinary, really.

The Meeting of the Waters setting in the SG1, which most people do think of as a blunderous mistake, might be a clue though. I've heard a lot of (non-competition) bands call the tune and when they do the guys kind of all look at each other and say something like "Remember, this tune starts really quickly on the right foot..."

So... Maybe the English regiments were having a little problem with their strike-in's on tunes with pick-up notes, and since every 3/4 has a pick-up note they just moved the tune down the bar a bit to get a better, cleaner strike-in?

Simple enough, and you know, it works for me.


Scott
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Old 05-26-2004, 11:03 AM   #5
Dryburgh
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Default Re: 3/4 Marches

English Military, English Bands ??

I thought all pipe bands in the British Army were / are Scottish or Irish ?



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Old 05-26-2004, 12:43 PM   #6
Don't engage Daegan with Hypocrisy
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Default Re: 3/4 Marches

Aliens... Always blame it on aliens.

Pyramids... Aliens built 'em.
How that plastic thing in a can of Guinness works... Alien technology.
Why there is a different number of hotdogs in a pack compaired to the number of buns in a bag... Alien mathematics.
How Spike Lee keeps getting to make films... Aliens run Hollywood.
Who told the drunk-monks who developed music notation as we know it today that the location of the pick-up note in tunes should be before the bar... Their alien crack suppliers.

Aliens, man... Aliens!
Daegan
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Old 05-26-2004, 01:39 PM   #7
The Pipe Guy
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Default Re: 3/4 Marches

Quote:
Originally posted by Chariman Mao: Why does marching to a 3/4 not make any sense? Because you keep switching back and forth on the lead foot? 9/8s do that too, no big deal. I don't get the problem.
I seriously doubt that any military unit could drill in cadence to 3/4 time.
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Old 05-26-2004, 06:31 PM   #8
Iain Sherwood
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Default Re: 3/4 Marches

Remember that retreat marches were played to get tired men off the parade ground after drill...

No, actually a 4/4 would make more sense. I guess it really IS aliens at work!
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Old 05-27-2004, 12:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: 3/4 Marches

Maybe it was aliens with three feet. Now that would work.

On the serious side. Would it be incorrect to assume that all 3/4 marches are retreats and that they were not meant for marching, historically speaking?
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Old 05-27-2004, 01:02 PM   #10
Les Matheson
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Default Re: 3/4 Marches

If you think of them as 6/4 marches, all the first beats of the measure fall on the left foot.
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