Sunday, September 21, 2008

More background to our band tunes.

The Piper o' Dundee.

Traveling musicians were very popular before the proliferation of theatres and concert halls, and the piper in this case was most likely one of that ilk. It is nice to hear in the song that “he played bonnilie”, because I am sure he would have had a discerning audience.

The Road to the Isles.

Most Scots can sing along to this one, but the alternative title is little known – “The Burning Sands of Egypt”, which appears in an old collection called “The Piper’s Delight”. I guess we should consider the melody “Traditional”. The chorus of the well-known song says in part:

“Sure by Tummel and Loch Rannoch
And Lochaber I will go
By heather tracks wi' heaven in their wiles.”

The Rowan Tree.

An old air immortalised by the nostalgic memories of childhood added by Baroness Nairne in the early 1800’s. It is commonly played as a march, but it has a special appeal when played at its original tempo as a slow air.

Scotland the Brave.

Probably the best-known pipe tune with modern audiences, and an essential and early part of every piper’s repertoire. Very few listeners would fail to recognise this stirring march. The melody is traditional but the words are quite recent - by Cliff Hanley (1923-1999).

Skye Boat Song.

Another traditional air from the misty past, but the well-known words were written by Sir Harold Boulton (1859-1935). The song refers to the flight of Bonnie Prince Charlie after the disaster at Culloden that ended the Jacobite Rising of 1745.

Old Angus

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