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By contrast, Reid expressed the a machs evenly-- whether toarluath or crunluath -- without a dwell on the final note. He called it a 2/4 approach.

Below is the same segment of “Grain in Hides and Corn in Sacks” written to suggest Reid’s timing of the a mach variation. With ties below the staff I have indicated the structural blocks that organize the tune, what most would term the “phrases” .

Note that two differing rhythms can exist in a single structural unit.



When combined within one variation the result is a broken but patterned rhythm based on the distribution of the a mach melody notes (B, C and D). Some have uncharitably called it “erratic”. It does speak to the flexibility and adventurous musicality of this group of pipers. Connell’s instructional tapes illustrate a subtle variation on Reid’s pattern.

17) A low A melody note graced with a low G gracenote is rarely cut nor treated as a bridging note. This is most evident in the timing of cadence phrases with a concluding low A. This seems to be a response to the heavy accent afforded by the low G gracenote and the importance of the fundamental of the scale.

This “rule” can also influence timing of notes within a ground. Campbell noted the opening motifs of “Lament for Donald of Laggan” as an instance in which the low A graced with a low G embellishment, ought not to be shortened (see Campbell (ed.) 1984, page 12).

From Andrew MacNeill comes another example: “Kinlochmoidart’s Lament”. He presented the opening motifs somewhat like the staff version below. The small motifs that make up the melody are noted by “ties”. (See the introductory notes to the revisions to William Connell’s instructional book.)



18) The “ Donald Mor Rundown” played as a tumbling-down-the-scale movement is always an option. Here is the “rundown” as it is conventionally written and how it is often interpreted as a non-tumble down motif:an introductory E and three-note phrase.



William Barrie and William Connell broaden the the D gracenote to melodic length, roughly equal in duration to the following B and low A. Andrew MacNeill and Robert Reid kept the D as a short gracenote to B. While these are truly runs down the scale, they should not be rushed.



Some commentators suggest that the rundown played as a tumbling down movement is inappropriate for a tune expressed as a lament. In my experience Connell used it universally. Reid employed it in “Lament for MacSwan of Roaig” but did not use it ( Andrew MacNeill, personal correspondence) in “The Mac Leods’ Salute”. This is clearly a question of taste as opposed to a mandate.

19) The introductory E is conceived of as an embellishment, regardless of its length or melodic impact. Generally, it should not dominate a musical motif. Alexander Cameron (the younger) seemed to adhere to that principle most consistently. Gillies and his students are more adventurous. They offer several deviations from the first principle, some of which become stereotypic.

According to Andrew MacNeill, Reid’s general practice was to lengthen the E to significant melody note length when the following note was a low A --- as in the opening motif of “MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart”. If the note following was a low G, then the introductory E was relatively short and the low G emphasized -- as in the opening motif of “The Bells of Perth”.











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