Category Archives: Musical examples

A Historical Approach to Studying Traditional Music: Valuing Older Collections

In this presentation, I managed to combine Karen the music librarian, Karen the musicologist and Karen the newbie educationalist.  I’m posting the slides here, just so they’re there if I need them, but I’ll turn my notes into a written piece at a later stage.

A Historic Approach to Studying Traditional Music, slides without notes

Now then, later today Jennifer Snow gave an excellent presentation extolling the virtues of YouTube as an educational tool. Brilliant, I thought – maybe I could find some examples of my Scottish music for when I give seminars to our traditional music students.  (Someone had suggested this after my own presentation – so obvious that I could kick myself for not thinking of it earlier!)

A TREASURE HUNT FOR PARTICULAR SETTINGS OF SCOTTISH TUNES ON YOUTUBE

Things didn’t start well.  I couldn’t find a YouTube video of the very first example. But I did find one of the second. So I kept going!

  1. Dutches [Dutchess, Duchess] of Athole’s Strathspey / Niel Gow, First Collection of Scottish Fiddle Tunes, 1784
  2. The Highland watch, now the 42nd Regt. or Royal Highlanders Strathspey. Very Slow / First Part of Gow’s Complete Repository, 2nd edition, 1805  – here played by Tim Macdonald and Jeremy Ward, March 2016 – I think they’re using the first edition, though. This is how it would have sounded.  And see how slow it actually is!
  3. The Lass of Peatie’s Mill / Frances Barsanti [ca.1742] -in A Collection of Old Scots Tunes. It’s written “with the bass for violoncello or harpsichord”. I have been playing it with realised figured bass on the piano, but I found a YouTube version for 3 cellos by Giovanni Solima. It’s a thought-provoking arrangement – I like it.
  4. Thro’ the wood, laddie / Barsanti again. Here on the Baroque oboe with cello and harpsichord accompaniment. Delightfully played by Michael Henry, Roberto Gini and Diana Petech. Starts 7 minutes in.  Recognise it from Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy?
  5. Cope, are you waking yet? / Ritson’s Scotish Song. Published as an unaccompanied tune, there probably won’t be a recording of it!  (If you look it up, try ‘Cope, are ye waking yet?’ – loads of versions but NOT Ritson’s unaccompanied vocal version. (Did he even intend it sung? His version is ridiculously high, perhaps because he was more interested in the words than the music, for the notation of which he had to seek advice.)  Just  because I like it, here’s an alternative for you – another Tim Macdonald YouTube recording. With cello accompaniment and variations -definitely not Ritson’s version, but I love the raw sound and energy of this setting.
  6. Robin Adair / arr. Colin Brown, 1883 in a collection called The Thistle.  You won’t find this arrangement on YouTube – it’s very averagely late Victorian! I’ll record it myself at some stage.

 

Footnote: The paper was entitled “A Historic Approach”.  Any subsequent interations will be “A Historical Approach”, which is more correct! My approach isn’t historic in the sense that you’d talk of a historic event. It’s a historical approach making due recognition of the cultural history surrounding these music publications. Mea culpa!