Tuesday, November 29, 2005


The songs - a new approach

Back in June, Anders and I were at a loggerjams with Cairn O' Mount - I wanted the guitar part to stick to the simple driving rhythm part he had previously recorded for me. He was already bored with that, and wanted to try something different. We went round and round, and it got kind of ugly.

This last weekend, with Anders in town, we hit on another approach.

I have been jamming with a local rhythm guitarist, and in the back of my mind, I've been wondering about whether I should get him into the band, mainly in case Anders can't make a given gig. But this thought wasn't fully formed, and was lurking in the back of my head. At the same time, Anders has expressed an interest in playing more than just guitar: mandolin, octave mandolin, cittern, or Irish Bouzouki. Maybe even English guitar.

When we began to rehearse Cairn O' Mount yesterday, I played Anders' old rhythm-part on the stereo as a "refresher", and noticed Anders noodling a lead guitar part as he listened. And I liked it! So we quickly decided that the rhythm part will be left unchanged, and that a yet-undetermined guitarist would take Anders' old rhythm part, and Anders would play a new lead part on either a nylon-stringed guitar or cittern/bouzouki.

This led to having him try his hand at a mandolin part for Sergeant Where's Mine?, and that sounded very good. There's already a bouzouki part in the old SixMileBridge arrangement of The Mosstrooper's Lament, so we're all set for the songs.

The question now is where would Anders play guitar? I'm thinking he may stick to guitar on the instrumental sets, and the other guitarist might try something else. Or two contrasting guitar parts. We'll see. But the new approach is very exciting.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Year End Standings

I'm still waiting on the results of my Upgrade Request, but the official year-end standings are in.

Out of 797 pipers in Grade IV Senior in the Eastern US Pipe Band Association, I ranked 4th in both overall and piobaireachd. My points per competition was a bit disappointing, so consistency will be my main goal for next year.

We're working on new tunes in pipe band: a set of march, air, strathspeys, and reel for the Broadswords dance; and Christmas tunes for a single concert. There are a disturbing number of Christmas tunes that fit the big pipes. I've been off the big pipes for a week or so, mainly because of a bit of bronchitis.

On fiddle, Elke and I have continued pouring through the Gow and Marshall collections. There are some great barely-known tunes in there. And Marshall sure likes the key of Bb.

We visited the first Gow collection in fiddle club, learning (among others) an intermediate strathspey version of Auld Lang Syne.

Additionally, I've begun a a blog for the DC-area Scottish sessions, which is where I'll keep track of the goings on at both The Royal Mile and the fiddle club sessions, and any other Scottish sessions I may come across. When I comment on the sessions here, it'll be more from my personal perspective.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?