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Looking for a bit of assistance from some of the more experienced posters out there.  
I found this piece of pipe music with the intention of playing on mandolin. I was going to use MuseScore to create tabs but seen a few things I was not sure about, and therefore thought to seek help.

The first is the key signature looks like A but with G instead of G#, never seen this before?

Secondly there is a lot of grace notes in the piece, so how best to handle them  when played on mandolin, ignore them, add some or add all? 

Hope this make sense.

Alcluith
Hi Alcuith,

I'm sure that "the experts" here will give fuller advice but I might be able to answer a couple of points for you.

Firstly, there is no G sharp on the pipe scale. Pipers can't play these under normal circumstances. So, *true* pipe tunes won't use this note. It will always be G.

However, you will no doubt have seen pipe tunes in standard notation with G sharps included. These have been adapted by players of other instruments such as fiddle, mandolin and so on or, perhaps, they may have been composed on other instruments in the style of pipe tunes e.g. marches, jigs and so on.

In my opinion, it's a matter of taste whether we choose play the note as G or G sharp on the fiddle or mandolin although...obviously.. we should all be doing the same thing. Piping purists and those with such a background may well disagree (many do) with this, of course.

As for the grace notes, these are specifically for pipers. Some will work well if transposed to the mandolin or other intstument. Others won't but, arguably, we don't need to use as many as that. Personally, I would just learn the basic tune and add ornaments where and when I think it would be appropriate. Again, that's a matter of taste too.

Hope this helps.

Incidentally, I did a Google and found this

https://lbps.net/lbps/a-pipers-guide-to-...limitstart= .  It looks quite helpful.

I should have added(It makes it clear in the link) that Highland bagpipe music is often written with no sharps at all. However, we can assume that the key is in A but with a G natural instead of a G sharp.  Of course, on a mandolin, it's really "B flat" although pipers would still think of it as "A"...... When I play with Pipers, I prefer to use a capo and play as if in "A" rather than use "B flat" fingering. In my opinion, it sounds better as well as being easier.   Wink
(27-07-2017, 10:13 AM)JAJ Wrote: [ -> ]Hi Alcuith,

I'm sure that "the experts" here will give fuller advice but I might be able to answer a couple of points for you.

Firstly, there is no G sharp on the pipe scale. Pipers can't play these under normal circumstances. So, *true* pipe tunes won't use this note. It will always be G.

However, you will no doubt have seen pipe tunes in standard notation with G sharps included. These have been adapted by players of other instruments such as fiddle, mandolin and so on or, perhaps, they may have been composed on other instruments in the style of pipe tunes  e.g. marches, jigs and so on.

In my opinion, it's a matter of taste whether we choose play the note as G or G sharp on the fiddle or mandolin although...obviously.. we should all be doing the same thing. Piping purists and those with such a background may well disagree (many do) with this, of course.

As for the grace notes, these are specifically for pipers. Some will work well if transposed to the mandolin or other intstument. Others won't but, arguably, we don't need to use as many as that. Personally, I would just learn the basic tune and add ornaments where and when I think it would be appropriate. Again, that's a matter of taste too.

Hope this helps.

Incidentally, I did a Google and found this

https://lbps.net/lbps/a-pipers-guide-to-...limitstart= .  It looks quite helpful.

I should have added(It makes it clear in the link) that Highland bagpipe music is often written with no sharps at all. However, we can assume that the key is in A but with a G natural instead of a G sharp.  Of course, on a mandolin, it's really "B flat" although pipers would still think of it as "A"...... When I play with Pipers, I prefer to use a capo and play as if in "A" rather than use "B flat" fingering. In my opinion, it sounds better as well as being easier.   Wink

JAJ

thank you for that information, as always the people who use this Forum are always very helpful and I learn a lot from the regulars. I will try to tab it up and play on my mandolin. Just hope its a good tune!
I was born in Tullichewan Camp situated in the grounds of the Castle, which is now gone.

Again thank you

Alcluith
Hi Alcluith,  it is, as JAJ says, unusual to see a key signature on bagpipe music, pipers having but the nine notes on their chanters and G natural being one by default.  Pipe tunes tend to be in the key of D major, with the two sharps F# and C#, or, as in the case ofthe tune you have here, in A Mixolidian mode. 

The A Mixolidian mode uses the D major scale (hence no G#) but you begin on the A note and play A, B, C#, D, E. F# G and A .  It is Mixolidian because we are starting on the 5th note of the related major scale.  There are seven principal modes, the three most common being the Ionian (the major scale beginning on the root note), Dorian (starting on the 2nd note of the scale) and the Aeolian (starting on the 6th note of the scale and giving us the minor scale related to the major key.

JAJ also mentions that when fiddlers and other non-piping players adopt the tunes they often sharpen the G.  Many of the songs we sing which have pipe tunes as their melodies show this anomaly.  Listen to any singer performing a tune such as Rowan Tree - The singer uses G# while the piper plays G natural.

I realise  that I am probaby adding unnecessarily to your confusion at this time, but you do not need to hurry off to do an in-depth study of modes to be able to play the tunes.  The clue is to have a look at the last note of the tune and almost always if it is a D then you are in D major scale, and if it is A, then most likely A Mixolidian.  (I await correction from more knowledgeable musicians here).

As for the ornaments, at the start I'd ignore them and get the tune itself into your head.  The ornaments can be added later when you have the basic tune.  Hammer-ons and pull-offs are the devices I most often try when playing pipe tunes on my octave or mandolin - easier on the octave with its longer scale and lower string tension. Open drones work too.

Hope this has helped rather than hindered you! Rolleyes Huh  P.M. me if you feel it might help.
Hi John and Alcuith,

Yes, most of the tunes are in "D" or "E flat" on your own instrument if you are not a piper. I misled you slightly by saying "A" although, basically, it's helpful to think of the notation as an A scale without G sharps.

As John says, don't worry too much about modes just now. I don't think too much about these and just tend to play whatever I hear or see written in the notation.
It's handy to know a little more about these if you are doing a lot of accompaniment but not as necessary for playing melody.
(27-07-2017, 12:07 PM)JAJ Wrote: [ -> ]Hi John and Alcuith,

Yes, most of the tunes are in "D" or "E flat" on your own instrument if you are not a piper. I misled you slightly by saying "A" although, basically, it's helpful to think of the notation as an A scale without G sharps.

As John says, don't worry too much about modes just now. I don't think too much about these and just tend to play whatever I hear or see written in the notation.
It's handy to know a little more about these if you are doing a lot of accompaniment but not as necessary for playing melody.

Hi JAJ and John,

Firstly need to stop hiding under my sudo-name Alcluith, Drew normally or Andrew on Sundays and High days.

I am getting the a clearer picture from both of you and it is very helpful.
I've had a go with the tune see the attached pdf

cheers

Drew
There are some tunes where the 7th is doable either way, or simply missing entirely, but this isn't one of them.

The G naturals are very strongly emphasized on the tune, and often appear in groupings that form a G major broken chord.  Each of the first three sections ends with a bar whose first half is in G and second half in A.  This is the characteristic final cadence for a Mixolydian mode tune, VII-I rather than the usual major-key V-I.  The second and last sections retime the last-bar cadence on the second repeat to go (harmonically) | A G : A  - |.  This is unusual, I can't think of another pipe tune which does that. Like quite a few mixolydian tunes, this one uses only 2 chords - the whole thing only needs G major and A major, and anything more than that would be muddle.

One rule of thumb in deciding whether the sharpness of the G is optional - do you get G naturals in both octaves?  There are a lot of pipe tunes where there is no low G, and sometimes that means you can substitute a G# on some other instrument and it will sound okay.  But the low G on the pipe chanter is the most emphatic note it's got, louder than any other and maximally dissonant with the drones, so if you find that in the tune, the composer really meant it.

David Glen was precise in the way he did key signatures, and I don't know of anybody else who used the same idea. He says in the intro to his massive collection that he expected pipers to ignore them - they're there specifically for people who want to play the tunes on something else, like the piano or violin, because in his judgment, whatever key signature he puts there will be the one that works best when you aren't playing the tune on the pipes. The difference from the official piper's key signature can be pretty large.

I'd never heard of the castle and this explains why:
http://lostbritain.uk/site/tullichewan-castle/
It sounds rather like one of the fake Scottish placenames you see on whisky bottles in France.
(27-07-2017, 01:15 PM)Jack Campin Wrote: [ -> ]There are some tunes where the 7th is doable either way, or simply missing entirely, but this isn't one of them.

The G naturals are very strongly emphasized on the tune, and often appear in groupings that form a G major broken chord.  Each of the first three sections ends with a bar whose first half is in G and second half in A.  This is the characteristic final cadence for a Mixolydian mode tune, VII-I rather than the usual major-key V-I.  The last section retimes the cadence at the very end to go (harmonically) | A G : A  - |.  This is unusual, I can't think of another pipe tune which does that.

One rule of thumb in deciding whether the sharpness of the G is optional - do you get G naturals in both octaves?  There are a lot of pipe tunes where there is no low G, and sometimes that means you can substitute a G# on some other instrument and it will sound okay.  But the low G on the pipe chanter is the most emphatic note it's got, louder than any other and maximally dissonant with the drones, so if you find that in the tune, the composer really meant it.

David Glen was precise in the way he did key signatures, and I don't know of anybody else who used the same idea.  He says in the intro to his massive collection that he expected pipers to ignore them - they're there specifically for people who want to play the tunes on something else, like the piano or violin, because in his judgment, whatever key signature he puts there will be the one that works best when you aren't playing the tune on the pipes.  The difference from the official piper's key signature can be pretty large.

I'd never heard of the castle and this explains why:
http://lostbritain.uk/site/tullichewan-castle/
It sounds rather like one of the fake Scottish placenames you see on whisky bottles in France.
Jack

After the WRENS left the camp was used by US SeaBees  when they were laying a pipeline from Loch Long to Grangemouth. My father-in-law, a Dubliner, was cook with them.
After the war it was to be used for Polish troops but due to lack of housing local families decided to squat in the Camp much to the disapproval of the Navy and local council.  My parents, who were newly married, squatted there, although initially my father was still in the navy. I was born in the camp, thus the interest in the tune and the Castle.

Drew
(27-07-2017, 01:09 PM)Alcluith Wrote: [ -> ]
(27-07-2017, 12:07 PM)JAJ Wrote: [ -> ]Hi John and Alcuith,

Yes, most of the tunes are in "D" or "E flat" on your own instrument if you are not a piper. I misled you slightly by saying "A" although, basically, it's helpful to think of the notation as an A scale without G sharps.

As John says, don't worry too much about modes just now. I don't think too much about these and just tend to play whatever I hear or see written in the notation.
It's handy to know a little more about these if you are doing a lot of accompaniment but not as necessary for playing melody.

Hi JAJ and John,

Firstly need to stop hiding under my sudo-name Alcluith, Drew normally or Andrew on Sundays and High days.

I am getting the a clearer picture from both of you and it is very helpful.
I've had a go with the tune see the attached pdf

cheers

Drew

Hi Drew,

Your notation and tab look good.  I have not checked it in detail, but it certainly looks to be accurate from your original pipe score, and without the ornaments it is a lot easier to read and learn.

John
On a mando, won't you often be incorporating bits of harmony into the tune as you go?

In which case, it has to be worth knowing that E7 is one chord you will not be doing that with.
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