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Cape Breton Strathspeys & Reels
Cape Breton
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (19 votes) 
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ABitRusty
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October 21, 2020 - 6:36 am
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Ive heard Franks reel played alot here..its common.  In the video around 3:21..favorite part of it ..havent attempted to play it just like it.  its one of those yeah..gotta learn that one day tunes.  King George is on the same shelf as vibrato maybe closer though.

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

Hmm Thinking Here Smiley

You got me thinking I'd better take a 2nd look at "Frank's Reel". 

Some of these, played fast, don't set right with me because I have to listen too hard to be able to distinguish an "A" from a "B" part, if any! (lol)

I did find this particular tutorial (slowed in last half) really cleared things up for me!

 

One missed accent, the whole thing just runs together... like "Brenda Stubbert's Reel".giphy.gif

 

-Emily

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ABitRusty
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@ELCBK  nice one here..oh wait.. i see your franks reel and raise you.. :)   

anyway..here is..gets jazzy too.. i bet its on the forum somewhere already..sorry if uts a repost

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ELCBK
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Here's Tara Lynne Touesnard - playing nice set of Cape Breton Strathspeys & Reels, starting with "The Haughs of Cromdale". 

 

Here's the "Fine Tuners" (Andrew Touesnard & Steve MacNeil) playing "Pretty Peg & High Reel" with A=432hz! 

 

I just had to show this practice set video by Andrew Touesnard.  Watch his hand when he plays the tunes fast (when you can see it) - I have NEVER seen vibrato like this!  Gives new meaning to "vibrating"! 

"Green Grow the Rashes O" - Tutorial by Kimberly Frazer (also has a video on how to do the Cape Breton "Cut").

 

mother child violin music image

 

- Emily 

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ABitRusty
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November 8, 2020 - 2:19 am
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liked how Andrew put the time markers in the description.  makes it easier to go to each listing.  he does have that vibrating vibrato thing going on huh.  

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ELCBK
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Suppose it's no surprise I'm hooked on another slow, Scottish Strathspey! 😔 

Just can't help it - they're SO bouncy & full of life!

Want to share my newest infatuation, "Lady Dalrymple of North Berwick's Favourite", here played by Tim Macdonald & Jeremy Ward (check out their Baroque Bows). 

Lady Dalrymple of North Berwick's Favourite

Great history and sheet music for this tune, here: 

This Tune at Traditional Tune Archive

giphy.gif

 

Btw, don't know if it's even possible for me to try to split off the Scottish Strathspeys from the Cape Breton ones, but I have thought about it. 

Pros & Cons? 😊 

- Emily

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ELCBK
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I should have paid more attention - wish someone would've called me on it! 

At the beginning of the video for "Lady Dalrymple of North Berwick's Favourite", I hear & see Tim Macdonald & Jeremy Ward tuning their Violin & Cello.  They are also playing with Baroque bows (which I mentioned). 

Now that I tried to play this, it's obvious these were done for a specific reason! 

I think this piece is in Baroque Tuning and A=415 Hz. 

The discrepancy between what I hear them play in the video and the sheet music documented at the Traditional Tune Archive, sounds about half a step flat - so this makes sense. 

Here's a video for tuning down with the Gabrieli Consort and Players. 

A=415 Hz for Tuning Reference

Should I also be worried about the 'Meantone Tuning' of the Period? 

Not so sure I can tell anything from listening to Tim and Jeremy tune their instruments, but 'Meantone was' still very popular when Niel Gow published this. 

giphy.gif

 

@AndrewH or @Gordon Shumway or @Irv -

Can you help me before I really get started on this?

I'm just not sure how to tune so I have the perfect thirds, or if I even need to be concerned about it here? 

Can you tell if I'm alright just tuning down to A=415, like the ref video above? 

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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ELCBK said

I'm just not sure how to tune so I have the perfect thirds, or if I even need to be concerned about it here?   

I assume you mean fifths? If so, how do you tune your instrument now, and do you have a teacher to show you?

You don't need to be concerned about 415 vs 440. 415 was an old standard: it's not a magic number. If you think there's something relaxed-sounding or -feeling about a lower pitch, then tune to any lower pitch you like the sound of.

But then you have the problem of tuning to fifths, which is probably why you are asking. An electronic tuner is unlikley to be useful. You have to use your ears. Tune basically to begin with - you know what a fifth sounds like. Tuning exactly requires hearing the beats between different overtones on two strings. I can't put it in writing at the moment. Maybe you can find a youtube video on it? Such precision can be delayed if your open strings sound basically good to you.

Andrew

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stringy
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July 11, 2021 - 7:17 am
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depending on where you went to in Europe tuning was different in the baroque era. in some places it was higher, in some places it was lower. I had often wondered how instruments were tuned before tuning forks or keyboard instruments became commonplace. There are some very good blogs on this subject. If you can sing scales you could always use your voice. I use a tuning fork for the A string, and tune the others from that, I never use an electronic tuner. But its up to personal preference.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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ELCBK
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 Thank you for your advice, but don't think it's relevant to the "Lady Dalrymple of North Berwick's Favourite" video vs. the sheet music I provided that I'm asking about. 

It's clearly tuned down in the video - pretty sure it's a half step, which would be A=415 Hz.  I believe it was done to be authentic for the time period, because the sheet music doesn't indicate anything. 

I will try to better clarify my question.

What I was concerned about was - can anyone tell if Tim & Jeremy are using Meantone temperament?  Probably more specifically, 'Quarter-comma Meantone', which was still common then - and sacrificed perfect fifths so to have perfect thirds? 

If so, does that mean I need to change how I tune the strings, or just how I play the notes?

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I suspect you've read too much and are overthinking. You can't have perfect thirds without stopping at least one string, so it's up to you how perfect they are. The fifths will almost certainly be perfect according to pythagorean principles. This is folk music. Your intonation will not be accurate to a quarter-comma or even a comma.

Andrew

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ABitRusty
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@elcbk could it be a combination of detuning and crosstuning?  in other words if they used a=415 then crosstuned in say ADAE or FCFC or GDAD or something along those lines?  I dont know what theyve tuned to but just suggeating that as a possibility.  One of the youtube old time fiddlers will use a combination like that in his videos.   Maybe experiment and see what you come up with.  Im not sure how to handle your 5th string though.  with a 5 string i dont know how the extra string would sound in combination with the other cross tuned strings and I havent run across anyone talking about it.  honestly just me wondering how it would play into the mix.

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stringy
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To be authentic to the time you would have to have a baroque violin, as for the tuning, there was no set standard. Ther is also the fact that because the way they play it maybe as you say, this doesnt mean that is how it was originally played, it could have been, but also in a town just down the road it may have been played completely differently, no one knows.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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stringy
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Gordon Shumway
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Bear in mind the possibility that the only people who ever had any interest in commas might have been the keyboard builders and composers, not the string players.

Also, for authenticity, you need an authentic audience, who were born 400 years ago and were formed by their culture. This objection to the concept of authentic performances has been around since at least the 70s or earlier, and it's why, I suspect, people talk of HIP instead nowadays.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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@Gordon Shumway -

Thank you, guess my intonation will be close enough by listening to what Tim & Jeremy play.

@stringy -

Thanx!  I only read their 'Tune in - Baroque Tuning' (July 31, 2009) at that blog - that's what made me think I should probably be fine just tuning to A=415. 

https://pbosf.blogspot.com/200.....le-of.html

@ABitRusty -

Yeah, that was my initial fear - that this was both cross tuned and tuned down, but thought (hoping) they were making a statement with the Baroque bows. 

😡 And, that brings me to a pet peeve - there are quite a few musicians who post videos on YouTube that I wish would just be nice people and mention the tuning they are using! 

I think the key to all this is in listening to Tim & Jeremy when they tune up in the beginning of the video, but my brain's been shutting down - maybe I need to try again when I can concentrate better. 

Trying to keep in mind what I see played - no heroic acrobatics with the left hand, so once I get it right - should be a piece of cake.  Kinda hate to change my tuning until after I record a couple tunes I've been working on.

Btw, from what I've seen for 5 strings - many times the C gets tuned up to D. 

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ABitRusty
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you could post a  question in the youtube comments about that.  More than likely they'd respond

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

Thanks, I think I will. 😊 

Didn't do it initially because the video is more than 2½ years old, but they've posted as recently as just a month ago - so site is active. 

Chris Haigh mentions on his website, talking about "Scordatura in Scottish Fiddle Music":

For example, the Caledonian Pocket Companion, from the mid 18thC had tunes in scordatura, as did Niel Gow’s “First Collection of Strathspey Reels”.

The tune video description says:

This tune is taken from Niel Gow's Third Collection of Strathspey Reels (ca. 1792).

So, cross tuning is definitely possible!

giphy.gif

 

...keeping my fingers crossed! 

- Emily

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ABitRusty
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googled scordatura then saw your "...so, cross tuning is defnitely possible.."

probably should read the whole post first...

🙄😏

glad i didnt type my amoxicillian joke..

🥺

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ELCBK
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giphy.gif

Okay... now I have visions of smearing YouTube channels with antibiotics. 

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