Week #562 ~ Lament for Abercairney

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This weeks poll winner is Lament for Abercairney (Scottish slow air). Im posting this from my phone, so Ill go ahead post this now, and then find my tablet so I can link some more info about this tune!
  2. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Hi Barbara, I’m on my phone too!
    I’m outside a huge hyper market (that’s just closed) here in the south of France and the temperature has plummeted to 90F. It’s freezing here!
    I haven’t posted many SAWs recently, too busy practicing, but I’m going to really make an effort to record this one, because it’s Scottish.
  3. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    This is one of my favourite Scottish airs, and I have already recorded it three times previous, each time with quite different settings.

    My new interpretation is based on a setting by Pete Clark, which we also have in our group repertoire folders:


    I'm playing the lead on my bowlback ukulele tune in fifths, on which I guess I should follow Christian's lead and call it "Brescian mandolin"...

    "Brescian" mandolin (Baroq-ulele in fifths tuning)
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar
    Mid-Missouri M-0W octave mandolin


  4. John W.
    John W.
    Lovely version, Martin… Is the “Brescian Mandolin” a new instrument (I don’t think I have seen/heard you playing it before?
  5. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thought I would be first with this one, but Martin has got there first! Fine arrangement and playing, Martin.

    My arrangement is my own and I used mandolin, octave and guitar to create this one. Audio recorded using REAPER then rendered to mp3 and edited with the pictures in Movavi Video Editor.

    Here is my version with images taken a few days ago around The Bishop's Glen reservoir in my home area. It was at one time the water supply for the town of Dunoon and surrounding area.

  6. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Woops! Repeat posting again.
  7. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    The low G is a surprising choice for a fiddler (which Mr Gow was), but it gives the tune a nice boom, especially on John's OM.
  8. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Very nice, John K. I like the mandolin harmonies sitting on top of the OM melody. I was actually planning to record this tune on OM first, but then decided to give the Baroqulele a spin and liked the effect. I may record a second version.

    John W: I have had this instrument for several years, and there are a number of old recordings of renaissance and baroque tunes with it on my channel. However, the E string broke early in the first lockdown and I have only just got around to replacing it. Yesterday, in fact, which is why I started playing the current tune on this instrument.

    It's not strictly speaking a Brescian mandolin: that name refers to the last surviving incarnation of the now-effectively-defunct family of Northern Italian gut-strung bowlback mandolins, which also included the Milanese mandolin (six double courses in fourths) and the Cremonese mandolin (six single strings in fourths). The Brescian was developed mid-19th century and was an attempt of going with the time and combining the tone of single gut strings with the tuning of the Neapolitan bowlback, by changing to four single strings in fifths. They are now very uncommon, although occasionally a builder makes one -- there's a current thread in the Classical forum.

    My instrument is also a bowlback with four single nylgut strings, but wasn't originally built for tuning in fifths. Rather, this is the soprano version of a range of bowlback ukuleles based on lute designs made in Pakistan (of all places) and sold in the US and Europe under the name "Baroq-ulele". As far as I can see, only the baritone version is now still sold but they used to make them in a range of sizes and styles, with different woods and different tunes. The soprano version has mandolin scale and works just fine in fifths with the Aquila nylgut uke strings for fifths tuning. Actually a fairly similar instrument in size and design to the 17th century "mandore", a four/five string soprano lute, although those had different tuning.

    He will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Christian's "Brescian" mandolin was also built for uke tuning and changed to fifths.


    Edit: The E-string must have broken later than I thought as I have just noticed I recorded the Burns song "John Anderson, My Jo" on the Baroqulele in December 2020: https://youtu.be/8ZInkvX4tho
  9. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Two great versions of this Neil Gow tune! Martin's "Brescian" sounds and looks authentic. I always thought "Cremonese" and "Brescian" meant the same. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ2tpmz-kz0
    I guess as soon as the temperature allows it, I will also try this on my Soprano Ukulele wih Aquila mandolin strings, which are a little more solid than Ukulele fifth-tuned strings.
  10. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Christian. Not sure how well-defined these terms were back in the day, but there certainly were multiple different configurations in late-period gut-strung mandolins before they became largely extinct. I thought yours had Aquila nylgut strings -- I can't imagine putting actual mandolin strings on mine, it's too delicate for that.

  11. Frithjof
    Two great versions!
    I like the sound of Martins “Brescian” mandolin as well as the fine arrangement recorded by John K.
  12. Frankdolin
    Great versions both indeed! Though, I did like John's other one also!
  13. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Frithjof and Frank. Here is the alternative version, with OM lead and mandolin harmony (on the repeat).

    Mid-Missouri M-0W octave mandolin
    1898 Giuseppe Vinaccia mandolin
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar


  14. Bren
    Thanks all. I have heard this in sessions but didn't know the name.
  15. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks for your comments, folks. Martin, that octave version sounds great (not that the Brescian version sounds bad!)

    I see the earlier version from a few years back has also resurfaced, so comments may appear on either thread or both (or none).
  16. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    John: A lovely tune with a sweet melody and a nice layering of your stringed instruments. Like Bertram, I quite like that low bass on your octave.
  17. Frithjof
    Nice new recording with octave mandolin, Martin.
  18. John W.
    John W.
    I’m enjoying all versions so far, folks…and thanks to all for comments that that expand my understanding and interest in this/these instruments in the mandolin/and associated families.
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