Page 90 - Stories Told about the Bagpipes
ISSUE : Issue 50
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/1/1
turned about and went back, sailed away. They knew that he was the one that did it, and they cut his fingers off. But they were darn sorry afterwards that they cut his fingers off--he'd be so useful for themselves, at a time when they'd need someone to play something special. But they were too late. Thanks to Lucy Mombourquette for getting us a photo of her mother, Katherine Mac? Neil (Mrs. Dave) Patterson, to go with this piece of family history. Her story was collected by MacEdward Leach and pub? lished in 1957 in "Celtic Tales from Cape Breton," in Studies in Folklore in Honor of Distinguished Service Professor Stith Thompson, ed. by W. Edson Richmond. Mrs. Patterson was about 75 at the time. Leach has her at Benacadie Pond, but her daugh? ter says the old home was in Benacadie Glen. Of this tale. Leach wrote: "The male Cinderella is a common enough story, but the combination here found with the fairy helper is unique. This uses stock motifs at the beginning: cruel step? mother (S 31); male Cinderella (L 101); widower's son as hero (L 111.5). The mo? tifs building up the remainder of the sto? ry are rare: boy learns to play pipes by putting his fingers in fairy's mouth (*D 262.2.1); magic music charms birds from nest, fish from sea, milk from maidens' breasts (*D 1275.2.1)." Readers will be interested in Joe Neil MacNeil's Tales until Dawn: The World of a | Cape Breton Gaelic Storv-Teller. collect? ed, translated, and edited by John W. Shaw. It includes folk tales and proverbs, as well as Joe Neil's reminiscences about his early years in a Gaelic-speaking rural community. The book is available from lo? cal bookstores and from McGill-Queen's University Press, 63A St. George St., To? ronto, Ont. M5S 1A6. Cloth edition: Gaelic with English translation, $50.00. Paper edition: English translation only, $15.95. Some Bagpipe Tunes Our Fiddlers Play Paul Cranford: Tunes have always been swapped back and forth between fiddlers and pipers. This has never caused a problem for ear players, because the fiddle is a flexible instru? ment which has the ability to accurately copy the intonation of the bagpipe (that is. the bagpipe's unique tuning of the scale). However, fiddlers who concentrate on reading music and are used to playing the intonation of the piano scales discover that the major and minor key system doesn't accommodate the different intervals found in a traditionally tuned set of the Highland bagpipes. The notes which deviate the most from modern piano tuning are the' 3rd, 4th, and 7th notes of the scale. This gives the Highland bagpipe its flavour, and the fiddler a particular set of problems when playing bagpipe tunes. These problems are because our notation system can only approximate the bagpipe's scale. To help overcome this difference, we have included arrows in a couple of the tunes of? fered here. They are not meant to be precise. They only suggest the sharpening or flat? tening of melody notes. And in some situations musicians might choose to ignore the arrow altogether. It is important to remember that today's fiddlers tend toward an intonation based on the modern piano. And some modern bagpipe makers are even tuning their pipes to a similarly equal-tempered scale. The arrow notation used here is meant to encourage today's fiddlers to use their ears, and to keep alive the traditional bagpipe sound. The Grey Old Lady of Raasay Although 2-part versions of this reel appeared in the earliest collections of Scottish ' bagpipe music, this 3-part traditional setting appears to be unique to the Cape Breton fiddle repertoire. I first learned the tune from Doug MacPhee and was later influenced byl a tape of Bill Lamey. rf0 • P r,,' 0 , • ftip r,f , ??r 0 ? , ?? F . # _ ?? ni -m 1 • < • 90
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