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  1. #1
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    The stories behind Pipe tunes

    I thought it would be interesting to have a thread on the history or story behind pipe tunes. Some of the titles just beg you find out more. One that comes to mind is "All the old men paid rent except Rory", but the more simply titled "79th's farewell to Gibraltar" or "Leaving Rhu Vaternish" might have equally interesting stories behind them. No tune is beyond explanation, so if you're one whose love of history has collided with a love of music and you know an interesting story behind a Celtic tune, educate the rabble!
    (I would start but I don't of any, hence the thread.)
    "The Scots have a transportable culture, you don't stop bein a Scot just because you live in America or Australia or anywhere else."

    Colin G. Calloway

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  3. #2
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    79th's is pretty easy, it was composed as the Cameron Highlanders were leaving Gibraltar after a 3 year stint on the rock and heading to Canada.

  4. #3
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    During which engagement? I must admit there's a gap in my history knowledge there
    "The Scots have a transportable culture, you don't stop bein a Scot just because you live in America or Australia or anywhere else."

    Colin G. Calloway

  5. #4
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    'The 79th’s Farewell to Gibraltar’ was one of the early quicksteps written for troops on the march. It was composed by Pipe Major John Macdonald of the 79th Cameron Highlanders in June of 1848 when his regiment left Gibraltar for Canada. The 79th was originally supposed to have gone to the West Indies, a post notorious for its unhealthy climate and the inordinate amount of casualties due to fever, but at the last minute the regiment was posted to Canada due to the fortuitous intervention of the Secretary of State (who happened to be the commanding officer’s brother).

    For three years, that regiment had been part of the garrison stationed on the strategic (but small) Rock of Gibraltar, located at the far southern part of Spain. The regiment was delighted to get off "the Rock," to go somewhere else.



    This is the reason the Pipe Major composed “The 79th Farewell to Gibraltar” and decided to teach it to the pipers on the crossing. But the tune’s title may have been somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as the transport lay off Gibraltar for some days, delayed by contrary winds.

    After having crossed the Atlantic Ocean without incident, the fog on the St. Lawrence seaway presented a serious hazard. The captain was greatly concerned about a possible collision and asked the Pipe Major to take the pipe band up on deck to play as a warning to other ships of their presence. MacDonald decided to have them play their new tune. So, it was by The 79th’s Farewell to Gibraltar’s first public airing that the ship avoided collision.




    Last edited by WalesLax; 7th August 17 at 12:44 PM. Reason: Originally posted from iPad, and the formatting was off.

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  7. #5
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    This site has historic information about many pipe tunes catergorised as general, lament and salute piobaireachd stories:


    http://www.bagpipe-tutorials.com/ron-macleod.html
    Last edited by Bruce Scott; 6th August 17 at 07:44 PM.

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  9. #6
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    One that I love to play if the "Pibroch of Donald Dhu". Contrary to it's title it's light music, not piobaireachd. Donald Dhu was the son of the last MacDonald Lord of the Isles and he spent most of his short life as a prisoner of the Campbells.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domhnall_Dubh
    'A damned ill-conditioned sort of an ape. It had a can of ale at every pot-house on the road, and is reeling drunk. "

  10. #7
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    One of the first piobaireachd I learned was Sir James MacDonald of the Isles Salute. It had an interesting story, involving a visit of the afore-named noble, a hunting party, the accidental shooting of the noble in the foot and this tune composed when he was out of danger and on the mend. It is a more celebratory tune, to show the host's happiness there was no tragedy involved and to reassure the noble's kinsmen there was no ill intent. Rumor has it that the tune has an unofficial nickname of 'Salute to the Wee Footie.' Here's some more info: http://www.bagpipe-tutorials.com/james-macdonald.html


    JMB
    Last edited by Blupiper; 8th August 17 at 02:41 PM.

  11. #8
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    I was unpacking (I've only been in this house for months ), and came across this incredible book of pipe tunes and their stories, and thought this group would appreciate it.

    http://www.whiskytunes.com/


  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalesLax View Post
    'The 79th’s Farewell to Gibraltar’ was one of the early quicksteps written for troops on the march. It was composed by Pipe Major John Macdonald of the 79th Cameron Highlanders in June of 1848 when his regiment left Gibraltar for Canada. The 79th was originally supposed to have gone to the West Indies, a post notorious for its unhealthy climate and the inordinate amount of casualties due to fever, but at the last minute the regiment was posted to Canada due to the fortuitous intervention of the Secretary of State (who happened to be the commanding officer’s brother).

    For three years, that regiment had been part of the garrison stationed on the strategic (but small) Rock of Gibraltar, located at the far southern part of Spain. The regiment was delighted to get off "the Rock," to go somewhere else.



    This is the reason the Pipe Major composed “The 79th Farewell to Gibraltar” and decided to teach it to the pipers on the crossing. But the tune’s title may have been somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as the transport lay off Gibraltar for some days, delayed by contrary winds.

    After having crossed the Atlantic Ocean without incident, the fog on the St. Lawrence seaway presented a serious hazard. The captain was greatly concerned about a possible collision and asked the Pipe Major to take the pipe band up on deck to play as a warning to other ships of their presence. MacDonald decided to have them play their new tune. So, it was by The 79th’s Farewell to Gibraltar’s first public airing that the ship avoided collision.




    This is one of my favorite tunes to play.

  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalesLax View Post
    I was unpacking (I've only been in this house for months ), and came across this incredible book of pipe tunes and their stories, and thought this group would appreciate it.

    http://www.whiskytunes.com/

    "Neil Gow's Farewell to Whisky" is the tune I would play upon exiting after piping in the haggis platter (to "A Man's A Man for A' That") at the H&T Rabbie Burns Supper.

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