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Guitar chords for massed band type tunes

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  • Guitar chords for massed band type tunes

    I have a set of pipes tuned to low-A = 440. I'm looking for guitar chords for some simple tunes that I can play. I'm playing with a good guitarist, but he only likes to play things if I can hand him chords.We mostly play other kinds of music, but we're wanting to incorporate some pipe tunes.

    If anyone else is looking, Mairi's Wedding is: G G C D (one chord per bar--repeat until finished).

  • #2
    If you look up the tunes on The Session, you might find some with chords noted.
    Slainte Leibh/ Slan Leat, Bob Cameron

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    • #3
      Originally posted by bob864 View Post
      If anyone else is looking, Mairi's Wedding is: G G C D (one chord per bar--repeat until finished).
      Yikes, no, it definitely isn't; someone along the way has got confused about keys. You could do D D G A which is the same I I IV V pattern but in the correct key, but the third bar of the first and third lines is clearly an Em, I think.

      The book "Celtic Backup for all Instrumentalists" by Chris Smith, despite having a slightly offputting title, is often cited as being a good guide to how to get started accompanying traditional music.
      http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
      -- Formerly known as CalumII

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      • #4
        I really enjoy figuring out the guitar chords to pipe tunes.

        Of course there's no single "correct" way, but a basic knowledge of music theory, and an ear that tells you what works and what doesn't, helps.

        About Mairi's Wedding, the usual bagpipe version, for no apparent reason, starts on G, when the song AND the fiddle version AND the accordion version all start on A, it's a AAA to start not GAA.

        It's one of several Scottish tunes (Skye Boat Song, Scots Wha Hae) that feel like they're in the key of D Major though beginning and ending on A.

        Playing the guitar along with pipe tunes really spoils you- you really start expecting the chord change, but in a Pipe Band it never happens, and the drones keep playing A no matter what.

        Anyhow I'm perfectly willing to write out chord charts for any tunes you want.

        BTW I write chord charts out in a way that I learned from a couple guitarist friends, I hope that method makes sense to your guitarist friend.
        proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

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        • #5
          It's usual to hear dance bands play A>A AB de f2, but it's quite common to hear singers do F>A AB de f2, which I presume is what that low G is trying to communicate. It's a surprisingly common fudge; I've heard it done for tunes like Fear A' Bhata, and of course the Jig Runrig should be a low F#, though it works well enough as a melody with the G.
          http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
          -- Formerly known as CalumII

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          • #6
            As a former Scottish Country Dancer I'm just so used to the non-GHB version. It's the "right" version to me, and that's how I play it on the pipes.

            Not only does it start AAA (there's an E pickup BEFORE the beginning of Bar 1) but also it doesn't hang on a long F#, but goes F# High A

            E2 | LA LA LA B | D E F#2 | E D B D | F# E F# HA |

            Like this

            (52) Mairis Wedding Royal Scottish Country Dance Society - YouTube

            Notice they switch into other tunes of similar rhythm, starting with Cutting Bracken.

            It's customary to return to the "name tune" but here the band doesn't.
            Last edited by pancelticpiper; 05-01-2021, 03:43 PM.
            proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

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            • #7
              Originally posted by bob864 View Post
              ...I'm looking for guitar chords for some simple tunes that I can play. I'm playing with a good guitarist, but he only likes to play things if I can hand him chords.
              The Lowland and Border's Piping Society book "suggested Session Tunes" is what you're looking for.

              https://lbps.net/j3site/index.php/lb...-session-tunes

              Not all the books the lbps publish have chords, but this one does.
              "What we play is life." - Louis Armstrong

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              • #8
                Yep, the LBPS Suggested Session Tunes book (The Orange Book) is a great little collection of common tunes. FWIW, the chords for Mairi's Wedding in that book are D G D G A (two bars each except the last two, which are one bar each) in the first part and D G A D G A (two bars each except the G and A which are one bar each) in the second part. The tune also starts with three low As and includes the F# to high A as described by Richard above.

                Hope this helps,
                Kevin

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