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Crunluath Breabach - Donald Macleod

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  • Crunluath Breabach - Donald Macleod

    I've listened to quite a few of the Donald MacLeod tutorials and I've noticed something interesting. On many of the Breabach tunes he will explain how he prefers a 6 pulse braebach and even describe it as similar to a waltz (1 2 3, 1 2 3, etc). The theme note getting 3 full pulses, the E after the crunluath getting a pulse, and the two connecting notes getting a pulse. When he sings the demonstration he sings it like this, but when he actually plays it he clearly reverts to the 5 pulse method giving the theme note only 2 pulses. This is consistent across many different tunes in his tutorial series.

    Has anyone else ever noticed this? I wonder why there is this discrepancy. I've been taught both ways and usually will play the 5 pulse method, but depending on the tune, sometimes will play the 6 if it "feels" better.

    On a broader note, I would be interested to hear everyone's take on the crunluath breabach, the different ways of playing it, which you prefer, and why. Also, when did the method of playing it either "up" or "down" start phasing out and the "even" style start being the only common way of playing it?


  • #2
    People talk about 6-count and 5-count breabachs, but plenty of people play somewhere in between. I play a roughly 5.5-count breabach in Corrienessan's Salute.


    • #3
      John, I was taught by a student of Donald MacLeod. I vaguely recall being taught to count this out, but what I remember most was being reminded to hold the theme note (or pulse it) in all crunluath variations but especially in breabach variations. In retrospect, this was probably more because I tended to rush to the technique. That said, when I hold it (and count it), it swings and has a beautiful flavor to it. (So, thanks for this thread--I've been revisiting breabach tunes in my practices because of it.)

      When it changed generally, I have no idea. I do know that when I listen to old recordings (and that might be from the 30's-70's), generally all the variations seem to be more lively.

      Chris Knife