Category Archives: Composition

Can I write a set of strathspeys?

Well, I made a valiant attempt, anyway! My set of strathspeys is called, whimsically, “My Foot Has Gone to Sleep” – partly because I really prefer watching dancing to actually doing it, so the title is just one of my excuses for not joining in!  Having said that, this weekend I found I would have to play Clavinova rather than organ at church (an electrical problem), so both my feet had a rest.  I played my strathspeys after a more sedate voluntary.  No-one passed any comment, so who knows if they didn’t notice or were too polite to say they didn’t like it!

The computer-generated audio file for violin, acoustic bass and guitar is horribly artificial-sounding, so I hope that one dayMusard Cherubs Quadrilles someone will play the piece and I’ll have something more human-sounding!

My Foot Has Gone to Sleep

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HAPPINESS IS …WRITING A BALLAD

magpie-2364332__340Not content with setting old folk-tunes, this weekend I decided to go one further and write a ballad.  Yes, the whole thing.  Seventeen verses and a couple of different tunes, so the setting uses tune A for a few verses, then B for a few more, and finally back to A again.  We have all the ingredients for a classic ballad – a lovelorn lass, a motherless child, a lone father … and a couple of Glaswegian magpies.  (They exist – I can show you the tree and chimney pot where I spotted them on my way to the bus-stop last Friday morning!)

magpie tree skyI was asked to write something for voice, flute, violin, piano and guitar / accordion.  I’ve done so.  Personally, I think it would be best to have either piano OR guitar / accordion, but not having heard it played by live musicians, I’m willing to be proved wrong.  Here’s the computer audio-file – unfortunately you can’t hear any words!  But if you listen right to the end, you’ll get an audible hint as to how the story ends!

Jackdaw-Jo : a Ballad