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  1. #11
    Join Date
    8th January 08
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    A common pipe tune is called "The High Road to Gairloch". But, the Stewarts know it as "The Stewart's March" and the MacIntyres know it as "The MacIntyre March". I have a longer version of the tune as it is known by, "We Will Take the Good Old Way", but I cannot locate it in my files and have not learned this version yet (if ever).

    The following I obtained from Electronic Scotland, but I cannot attest to its accuracy:

    The MacIntyre March is considered one of the finest march tunes and deserves more than passing mention. Gabhaidh Sinn An Rathad Mor is variously translated as "We Will Take the Good Old Way" or "We Will Take the Highway." For the many places you will find this quick-step check the bibliography . The English version of the Gaelic is from the translation by Rev. Dr. Alexander Stewart of Nether Lochaber, composed in 1873.

    Because the tune was so fine, other clans have expropriated it and substituted their own words. It will therefore be found in other collections under titles such as `The Stewart's March', `The Highway', `The Sherra'muir March' and so forth. In those cases, there may be a claim of origin for their clan and a lively discussion on this very subject was carried in the Oban Times in 1888 over a period of months! The Gaelic words for the MacIntyre March are attributed to Iain Breac MacEandraic (Freckled John Henderson), a native of Appin. The Stewarts first played it in 1547, as they returned from the disastrous Battle of Pinkie.

    There can be no doubt that the March belongs first to Clan MacIntyre for it is the Clan referred to in the oldest set of Gaelic words. These words contained a jeering reference to the Clan Campbell as luchd nam braoisg or "wry mouthed" in spite of the fact that the powerful Clan would resent such independence on the part of the weaker Clan MacIntyre. The third verse attributes this feeling of independence to the fact that the singer had spent the night in the company of his clansmen, the MacIntyres of Cladich. The MacIntyre March is said to be the tune to which Bonnie Prince Charlie made his triumphal entry into Edinburgh on September 17, 1745, preceded by "A Hundred Pipers an `a an `a."
    Last edited by Jack Daw; 17th August 17 at 12:22 PM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    18th October 09
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    With tunes by known composers published since staff notation began being used in the Highland piping world, the matter is straightforward.

    For me the most interesting thing is with traditional tunes, that is, tunes which go back to an unknown origin.

    The same melody can crop up in England, Scotland, and Ireland in various forms: song air, jig, reel, strathspey, march, etc. It was standard traditional practice to adapt rather than compose; if you needed to play for somebody dancing a jig, you'd take a preexisting song air, or reel, and rework it as a jig. (This practice is still active in the Highland piping scene.)

    A song the same melody can be found with different sets of lyrics, some variations of others, some utterly different.

    If an instrumental piece the same melody can be found with a number of different titles, none of which, perhaps, are the original.

    A thing happens when a traditional tune will later be ascribed to a specific composer, complete with a title, and story behind the title. Many tunes are known to exist prior to the event their modern title commemorates.

    A prime example are the urlars of some piobaireachd which existed as song-airs prior to a piper being claimed to be the composer. The situation was probably akin to jazz, where popular song-tunes are played and then developed into full jazz pieces with improvisation. (I was told this by a Gaelic scholar, who had collected a number of songs which could be shown to predate the piobaireachd their melodies are now associated with.)

    So you might have a cool story about a tune... which actually has nothing to do with the time-period the tune originated in.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 17th August 17 at 06:23 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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