minstrel: period music for bagpipes

Chris Elmes chris at gaita.co.uk
Mon Apr 28 14:52:40 PDT 2008

Most medieval music is within the range of a 9th, and quite a lot in a 6th, but not always in the natural mode for the highland/smallpipes (which is mixolydian?). One thing to try: see if you can get your drone up a tone from the normal. This means you can play a lot of music in dorian mode (starting from your 2nd - a lot of the music doesn't get to the octave) which will triple the amount of music you could play. Also try taking out one of the sections to see if it will sound at the 4th - this will open up the possibilities of playing in plagal modes. If all else fails you can stop the drone altogether.

You would also have more luck looking at 13th and 14th century music than the later sources, eg 16th century, where the music gets bogged down in harmony at the expense of melody and rhythm.


Chris Elmes

Gaita Medieval Music

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: hugh ryan 
  To: minstrel at pbm.com 
  Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 1:55 AM
  Subject: minstrel: period music for bagpipes

  i've played the small pipes on & off-and might start playing again for our local group.  i've found some period tunes that work, but am hoping to find a source of tunes collected for the bagpipe range.  i will probably need to get another bagpipe on which i can get a more chromatic range so i can play alot more of the music.  right now i've got a set of scottish small pipes with the flatted 7th & i haven't had any luck with getting any extra notes out of the scale.  any ideas where to find a book of period music written specifically for the bagpipes?  also, anyone had much luck finding enough music to fit the highland scale?  

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