Category Archives: Tune of the Month

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Tune of the Month April 2020 – The Merry Blacksmith

The Merry Blacksmith is an Irish tune requiring low F# and low D. Some smallpipe chanters can play low F# if they have tone holes and you tape over one them and close the other on your leg when you want low F# instead of low G. This also requires the remaining length of the chanter below the tone holes to be just right to give an in tune low F# once both tone holes are closed (my Hamon chanter does this). Of course, there’s still low D to contended with so I just play our normal “high” F# and “high” D in the ending phrases and use birls on low A for the low F#  elsewhere, as seen in the arrangement given here. The Irish setting will also tie the low As together across the bar lines, without a gracenote were applicable. I utilized this pause in the first part between the first and second bars, but inserted a gracenote between the second and thirds bars.

The Merry Blacksmith – pdf file

The Merry Blacksmith – mp3

February 2020 Tune of the Month: Clachnaharry

I was looking for a new competition strathspey for a grade 3 player and found Clachnaharry in The Cabar Feidh Collection, Pipe Music Of The Queen’s Own Highlanders (Seaforth And Camerons) page 162 by PM Jack Chisholm. It’s undoubtedly under copyright so I cannot share the music with you but I would seek out the book as it is a good resource. The tune has no birls, though a plethora of taorluaths will keep you well practiced, though none are cumbersome: A to A and B to B.

Clachnaharry – played slower

Clachnaharry – played faster

The Doune of Invernochty and Highland Harry are two other competition strathspeys I’ve recommended for either their ease of technique or ease of finding the strathspey rhythm, respectively.