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STRATHSPEYS!
Time to dig in!
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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ELCBK
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September 16, 2022 - 1:33 am
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I've learned a little bit about Strathspeys this past couple years, from workshops, tutorials, articles & playing - but still on the journey - no expert. 

I have found Strathspeys extremely fun to play - I hope I can encourage others here to try to learn some! 

 

Don't try to learn a Strathspey from a book!  It's hard to determine the Strathsbey bowing & rhythm idiosyncrasies from books & sheet music - and I have learned the notation can be inaccurate or 'tamed'/'smoothed out', which is a Strathspey death sentence.  Workshops & Video Tutorials are GREAT! 

 

The FIRST thing I recommend to do is LISTEN, to as many Strathspeys as you can, as often as you can - to feel the iconic, jagged, 4/4 RHYTHM!   

Strathspeys are usually slower than Reels, but there are also 'Slow' Strathspeys.  I have found most Strathspeys played much faster in Cape Breton Style (even 'slow ones). 

There are 3 main ornaments that generally show up in Strathspeys - the 'Scottish Snap', the 'Birl', and the 'Scrunch' (I can recommend tutorials - you'll want to master these and a few others). 

 

Even if you don't want to learn the "Miller O'Hirn Strathspey" - I recommend WATCH THIS VIDEO - to get a good idea of what a Strathspey is!!!!!  It's part of an Alasdair Fraser Workshop. 

I enjoyed his workshops this past April's FIDDLE HELL Festival.

 

There are wonderful Strathspeys in Major, Minor & Modal Keys!  In fact, check out Strathspeys - at The Session there's 56 PAGES listed, with 10 per page!  You can find titles in a key you prefer, then search on YouTube for a performance of it - or listen thru a streaming audio source.  Quite a few Strathspeys have been recommended in different threads here on the Forum.  

 

Related Threads:

Mrs Russell of Blackhall Strathspey Thread

Rants can be Strathspeys - What is a Rant? Thread

Captain Campbell Strathspey Thread

Scottish Piper Tunes Played on The Fiddle Thread

A Peek at Scottish Fiddling History Thread

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ELCBK
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September 17, 2022 - 1:24 am
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This tutorial is a GREAT one to start learning a Strathspey!

Fiona Cuthill video tutorial teaching "Cutting Bracken", the 'Scottish Snap' & Strathspey rhythm

 

 

Fiona Cuthill is extremely generous - has more Strathspey tutorials and many other great Scottish fiddle tutorials at Fiona Cuthill - YouTube Channel

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/01/3d/0d/013d0dcf10013d5ce09f7ebd08294a98--emily-name-name-tattoo-designs.jpg

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ELCBK
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September 17, 2022 - 1:50 am
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@ABitRusty -

Wow, I just had a fabulous treat! 

Found a recorded Intermediate Fiddle Class from last year, by Dan MacDonald - going over "The King George Set"!!!  Miss Lyall's Strathspey (which I've been meaning to learn for awhile), King George IV (I've previously learned), The King's Reel & Old King's Reel.

 

 

You can get a sampling of Dan MacDonald's other zoom lessons, along with very slowly played tune videos & up to speed ones, at Dan MacDonald Fiddle Teacher - YouTube Channel.  He has a Beginner and Intermediate Playlist. 

Some of you may find it worth inquiring about lessons! 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/37/8c/b2/378cb287b914ded1375f0e7a6f088090.jpg

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ABitRusty
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September 17, 2022 - 7:40 am
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@elcbk thank you !  I have liked in youtube so its saved for later.  Watched a bit and Ill work on it.

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ELCBK
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September 17, 2022 - 11:53 pm
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Ooo... don't want to forget about this Strathspey - even if it isn't directly from Scotland! 

Megan Bellar's great tutorial for "Lime Hill", Strathspey - composed by Dan R. McDonald (Cape Breton).  Sheet music at thesession.org 

 

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ELCBK
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September 21, 2022 - 9:52 pm
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Just wanted to share this strathspey I started on today - in a minor key! 

"Mrs. Gunn's Strathspey", which is followed by "Sweet Molly" Reel (seems like a Scottish Drowsy Maggie variant), and "Wise Maid" Reel - arranged & performed by Bonnie Rideout!  

 

 

Mrs. Gunn's Strathspey - Sheet Music at The Session

Hobson's Reel (Sweet Molly) - Sheet Music at The Session

The Wise Maid Reel - Sheet Music at The Session

 

...going to try to learn the whole set, eventually. (lol) 

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/9a/18/0b/9a180b3943cd1e5749fb96f7bc7d7de2.jpg

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ELCBK
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September 22, 2022 - 9:53 am
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I'm usually very skeptical about how trad tune transcriptions are notated - they usually don't match the versions I've heard/seen performed. 

That said, Bonnie Rideout plays "Mrs. Gunns Strathspey" ALMOST EXACTLY how it's notated at The Session link I gave (grace notes, too)! - just wanted to mention this, since quite a treat for me.  2nd note, in the 2nd measure, is a D - not E!

I actually fell in love with this set of tunes quite a few years ago.  It's on the very 1st Bonnie Rideout CD I bought, "Kindred Spirits" - WAY before I thought about picking up the fiddle.  🤔 Maybe it was part of the reason I did!

...lots of fun, to be learning another tune with a jagged rhythm (syncopation? 🤣)!

https://images.fineartamerica.com/images/artworkimages/mediumlarge/2/laurel-and-hardy-quotes-dont-keep-doing-that-you-sound-like-a-seal-david-richardson.jpg

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ABitRusty
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September 22, 2022 - 11:45 am
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They tell me, the voices from the podcast, that scottish music has always been notated as played.  That seems to be  more common.  

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ELCBK
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September 23, 2022 - 2:38 am
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Well, I was wrong. 😔 

Edited my previous post... one wrong note to watch out for.

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