Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More on our tunes.

Colin’s Cattle (Crodh Chaillean).

A haunting traditional Gaelic song, the words of which have been translated by Dr Alexander Stewart, allowing it to become firmly established in the folk singers’ repertoire. It has for a long time been played by discerning pipers and pipe bands.

Comin' Through the Rye.

The words are commonly associated with Robert Burns, but the tune is much older – in fact the original was probably a strathspey titled “The Miller’s Daughter”. Whatever its misty origins, the tune is now enormously popular with singers and pipers alike.

Corn Rigs.

A traditional melody with words by Robert Burns.

“Rigs” in this context simply means “fields”. Lammas is a period in August. The first verse is:

It was upon a Lammas night
When corn rigs are bonnie, O!
Beneath the moon's unclouded light
I held awa' to Annie, O!

The Crags of Tumbledown Mountain.

Composed by PipeMajor James Riddell of the Scots Guards to commemorate the battle that took place there during the Falklands War in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.

The Danish Knifegrinder’s Spring Song.

This lovely air came into the piper’s repertoire in the 1970’s as I recall. Nobody can accuse the piping fraternity of not grabbing suitable material from any source !! I am sure the Danes would approve.

The Day We Went to Arran.

Composer – D. McPhedran.

It is easy to imagine that a trip to this beautiful island could inspire a piper to commemorate the visit with a lovely tune. Arran is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde, with a population of around 5,000. It is a very popular destination for tourists from the Glasgow area, and boasts spectacular scenery.

Old Angus

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

Christmas isn't that far away, and there has been some pressure within the band to add something to our repertoire for use in the pageants. Well the most common tune locally is Jingle Bells but its been overplayed for many years and I don't really think it sounds that good on the Pipes anyway.

So, instead of that I have scribbled out "Oh Christmas Tree". We tried it out last week and sounds good, but for those who aren't around at the moment you can download the music from this link


PS and of course should give the background. O Tannenbaum is an old German tune, and the first version of the lyrics goes back to 1550. The tune is also used by the UK Labor party for their song -- in this version its called the Red Flag and uses words penned in 1889 by Jim Connell

Friday, September 26, 2008

A tune from a rare collection.

Back in late 1940's Capt Doug Thoreson, ex Pipe Major 4 RAR and 2/4 RAR was taught by Don Sergent of New Zealand. Doug produced the "Don Sergent Collection of Bagpipe Music" in the 1980's at the expense of the Army Band Corps.

Over time I would like to share some of Don's tunes, in memory of his talent, as the collection is quite rare.

Don has tunes from 1943 to the mid 80's.

Here is a small taste - "John Glengarry's Farewell" a 6/8 march.

(Click on the image to enlarge).

Bill Gall

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

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pipe Band at Beijing

Greetings to all. This is probably old hat.

I found an article at Evening Telegraph UK about the Band at the Olympics 08. The now famous Fintry Pipe Band, Dundee.The article tells about their invite and raising the funds !!!! to get to Beijing.

Tea Gardens Bill.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ramp Ceremonies

Hi All,

Well I've only got 28 days left of my deployment over here in the Middle East. Thus far I have been absolutely flat out Piping at Ramp Ceremonies for the Canadians. I've actually lost count of how many I've done. These ceremonies get quite depressing.

Anyway I've attached a couple of pics. Angus I thought you might be interested in what I've been up to Piping wise. I'm very sorry but I haven't done much band stuff - have been to busy with these Ramps.

Look forward to seeing you all when I return home.

Take care,


Sunday, September 14, 2008

After the Drill practice

There are various styles of Pipe Band Drill, and for us it's really as simple as what Marshall decides is what we do.

Today he focused on the most common mace signals, countermarching, getting into 2's, reforming the band formation and gate wheels. Am sure he will introduce other elements in due course, but think that was all the band could cope with in one day :>

However, the real point of this entry is to say that so far Marshall is sticking to the normal Australian Pipe Band Association drill manual, and if anyone would like to see a copy it's available on the web at http://www.pipebands.asn.au/pdf/DrillDressManual.pdf . Looking at this may remind you of the mace signals and some people prefer to see things written in order to understand what we are trying to do.

There are also various other manuals available from the same web site, but to see them you can either go to http://www.pipebands.asn.au/CollegeDocs.asp or you can go exploring via the links on the band's web page


Friday, September 12, 2008

Some more of our Band tunes.

Let me know if this is boring stuff ......

Amazing Grace.

This simple and beautiful hymn was catapulted into the popular music charts in the 1960's when it was arranged and played superbly by the pipe band of the Scottish Dragoon Guards as one track on an otherwise fairly ordinary long-playing record. It has endured as a favourite wherever pipe bands appear, and pipers know that format they are required to present must be as near as possible to the original popular setting. The unaccompanied piper at the start and the finish, with the contrasting augmentation of the full band in between, is a powerful emotion-stirring technique.

Auld Lang Syne.

An international favourite, the words of which are popularly ascribed to robert Burns. The original air is much older, and was called "I Fee'd (hired) a Lad at Michaelmass". On the world stage, this would have to be the most well known of all Scottish tunes. Sadly, it is another example of a tune that is constantly demanded of pipers, but which does not quite fit into the pipe scale. So we must make do with a wee bit of "cheating".

Cock O' the North.

The Regimental March of the Gordon Highlanders. The title of this traditional 6/8 was the nickname of the 4th Duke of Gordon, founder (in 1794) of the famous infantry regiment The Gordon Highlanders. Sadly, the regiment was disbanded in 2004 to become part of The Highlanders.

The Dark Island.

Many pipers are surprised to learn that this traditional-sounding air is a fairly modern tune (1960's) written for a film of the same name by Ian MacLaughlan. The Dark Island refers to the outer Hebridean island of Benbecula.

Farewell to the Creeks.

Composed by Piper Major James Robertson of The Gordon Highlanders.

The title extols the creeks and inlets of the Banff-Portsoy coastline of north-east Scotland where the composer came from. The tune was written in Limerick in 1919 when pipe Major Robertson had just rejoined his regiment after his experience as a prisoner of war from 1914-1918.

Old Angus

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another recipe for Tablet !!!!

This came via Email from Bill. Old Angus.

My ISP is not the greatest. Will soon change. I couldn't
get into the CEPB Blog so here's my Info for the lover of sweet

Traditional toffee:
1/2 lbs (225g) Butter or Marg;
1 pint (1/2 Ltr) of water;
4 lbs (1.8 kg) of caster sugar;
1 lb (450g) of sweetened condensed milk
Put the butter or marg and water into a non-stick saucepan and melt on
low heat. When the mixture is melted add the sugar and bring to the boil,
stirring all the time to avoid sugar catching.
When boiling add the condensed milk and simmer for 20min, stirring to
prevent sticking, then take off the heat and beat vigorously for 5 min
adding whatever flavouring you wish.
Pour into a greased tin and when partly cooled, divide into bars 5" X 1/12",(12.5X3.8 cm)
When cold, wrap each bar in waxed paper and store in an airtight tin. Makes
about 4 lbs (1.8 kg) of toffee.

This recipe came from my Aunty Nell (Lic grocer - Lang Stracht, Aberdeen).

Bill Gall

Monday, September 8, 2008

Guess the Mug.

Answers at the bottom. Guess the Face.
H: I:


See Willy I (Jason) told you id get you. Its wonderful what i can do with a computer.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Gurkhas

I have always been interested in these guys. I love it when they march, at 140 beats. No wonder why. So here is very brief article on them. I wonder if any of their traditional music fits in with the pipes!

Andy T