James Scott Skinner's Welcome to Inverness

  1. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    My latest offering, a great march written by Scottish fiddler and composer Alexander Grant (1856 - 1942) to mark the visit by Scott Skinner to play along with the Inverness Highland Strathspey and Reel Society in the early 1900s. Grant was a founding member of the society and its leader from 1903 till his death in 1942.

    My version is on octave and guitar, recorded as usual in REAPER on my old Windows XP powered laptop.

    Good to be posting!

  2. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Nice one John, the combo of octave mandolin and guitar is so lovely and warm sounding!
  3. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Very nice John, thanks.
  4. Frankdolin
    Great fun John! Love how the "lilt?" is carried through out. REally fine arrangement and playing, as per.
  5. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Many thanks, Jill, Simon and Frank, and much appreciated. You are right, Frank, there is a great lilt to many of those tunes, and a lot of this is down to what fiddlers call The Scotch Snap, and pipers call dot-and-cut (or strictly cut-and-dot). It is a combination of a semi-quaver with a dotted quaver (and is also reversed in places to add more variety to the tune). On mandolin I try to use hammer-on and pull-off to get that feel.
  6. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    I gues, you have to be born and raised in Scotland, to get a feeling for these Strathspeys. I would struggle each time an invertedly dotted eight note appears. But you master that rythm easily, John!
  7. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Easy. Drum machine, CC.
    Set it to 80 bpm and use the Highlands setting.
    Only problem is that once you’ve got it, you wont want to play anything else!
  8. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Interesting that you hear this tune as a Strathspey, Christian, when it is actually a march with a strong bagpipe flavour although composed by a fiddler, Alexander Grant. The Scotch Snap is a feature of the Strathspey. Many of our Scottish composers were proficient on more than one instrument, such as accordion and pipes or fiddle and pipes, etc and the influences of those instruments can be heard in their tunes.

    Simon mentions using a drum machine to get the feel of this kind of tune. My only problem with drum machines is their lack of feeling, or what a Highland setting might be. I recommend listening to as many examples of the tunes as you can, either as recordings or even better - live performances. Loads of great accordion and fiddle examples out there. As he also says, once you have the vibe you will certainly want to keep playing it.
    Thanks for your comments.
  9. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    There are quite a lot of Strathspeys that were actually written for the pipes.
  10. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    "There are quite a lot of Strathspeys that were actually written for the pipes." Indeed there are Simon. Which is probably why the Strathspey is the middle tune in the standard pipe band competition set of March, Strathspey and Reel. Also popular in fiddle and accordion competitions here in Scotland, both for solo competitors and for groups. Very often performed after a Slow Air. I was lucky enough to be part of the winning mixed group (The Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop) in two of the competitions (2018 and 2019) held as part of The National Mod annually here in Scotland over a week in October. It is a celebration of Gaelic culture and has adult and children's competitions in various instrumental categories and also in singing, both solos and choral and other spoken events.
  11. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Im not sure but I think the A and C parts here are repeated as shown.

    X: 1
    T:Scott Skinner's Welcome to Inverness
    C: Alexander Batton Grant
    R: strathspey, march
    M: C
    L: 1/8
    K: A
    P:A part
    e2 |: "A"A2 A<A c2 BA | c<e a>e c2 BA | "G"G2 G<G B2 AG | B<d g>d B2 AG |
    | "A"A2 A<A c2 BA | c<e a>e c2 BA | "G"d>c B>A G>A B>d | "A"c2 A2 A2 :||
    P:B part (a)
    (3ef^g | "A"a2 e2 c2 B<A | c<e a>e c2 BA | "G"g2 d2 B2 A<G | B<d g>d B2 AG |
    | "A"a2 e2 c2 B<A | c<e a>e c2 BA | "G"d>c B>A G>A B>d | "A"c2 A2 A2 ||
    P:B part (b)
    (3ef^g | "A"a2 e2 c2 B<A | c<e a>e c2 BA | "G"g2 d2 B2 A<G | B<d g>d B2 AG |
    | "A"A2 A<A c2 BA | c<e a>e c2 BA | "G"d>c B>A G>A B>d | "A"c2 A2 A2 |
    T:Scott Skinner's Welcome to Inverness (continued)
    M: C
    L: 1/8
    K: A
    P:C part
    | e2 |:"A"~A2 cA e>A c>A | ~A2 c<e c2 BA | "G"~G2 BG d>G B>G | ~G2 B<d B1 AG |
    | "A"~A2 cA e>A c>A | ~A2 c<e c2 BA | "G"d>c B>A G>A B>d | "A"c2 A2 A2 :||
    P:D part (a)
    (3ef^g | "A"a>^g a>e c<A c<e | a>^g a>e c2 BA | "G"g>f g>d B<G B<d | g>f g>d B2 AG |
    | "A"a>^g a>e c<A c<e | a>^g a>e c2 BA | "G"d>c B>A G>A B>d | "A"c2 A2 A2 ||
    P:D part (b)
    (3ef^g | "A"a>^g a>e c<A c<e | a>^g a>e c2 BA | "G"g>f g>d B<G B<d | g>f g>d B2 AG |
    | "A"A>A ~A2 c2 BA | c<e a>e c2 BA | "G"d>c B>A G>A B>d | "A"c2 A2 A2 ||
  12. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    It has that jaunty feeling of marching to a party, John. The guitar sucessfully poses as the piano which often would do the bass part in these sets.
  13. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Bertram. The guitar accompaniment is indeed modelled on a piano accompaniment, with the alternating bass accented on 1 an 3 and the strummed chord on 2 and 4. I use this style in many of my Scottish tunes and when playing with my session regulars. We very rarely have a piano but the second accordion plays those chords and basslines.

    Simon, your ABC notation has the 4 parts notated correctly for the repeats (as far as I can read ABC nowadays). Excluding the pick-up bars the A and C parts are 8 bars repeated while the B and D parts are sixteen bars with the variations in the second 8 bars of each. This pattern is common in very many pipe (and fiddle) marches, and the third part is regularly an 8 bar repeat. It is always good to find this in a tune as you realise you have a repeating part you only need to learn once then there it is popping up again. We Scots are famous for our alleged thriftiness!
  14. John W.
    John W.
    Lovely marching, John.
  15. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks John I can see that now. There’re basically the Ax2 and Bx2 part of a tune but instead of playing it again, you play another tune, which is similar.
    It’s true that without seeing the structure or repeating patterns they can appear to be more complicated than they are.
    (The French education system, which I partly like, has similarities).
  16. Gelsenbury
    As Bertram says, it does sound like marching to a party! It's a good welcome to Inverness, or anywhere.
  17. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Dennis. The Inverness fiddlers would have felt very honoured to have Skinner as their guest performer, and Grant's composition would have delighted Skinner, I am sure.
  18. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    Love the octave and guitar combo too. And played with a nice lilt to it. I'd follow along to that party.
  19. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Don, many thanks for your comments. Your opinion is always appreciated.
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