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Author Topic: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme  (Read 49068 times)

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Chris Brimley

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #40 on: April 06, 2010, 09:49:08 PM »

Yes, I have a score with the Scottish 'reversed dots', and the lovely major chords, attributed to 'Pipe Major William Lawrie'.  I'm trying to remember where it came from.  I've just read the discussion on thesession.org about it, and everyone's previous posts - my mistake about it being written in the thirties, that was just when it was published, wasn't it?

It seems all the more remarkable that the real author Laurie managed to write such a stirring tune and then name it after the battle where he was wounded so severely.  I suppose we forget nowadays just how strong many people's beliefs actually were about fighting 'for their country'.
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Bill Young

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #41 on: April 06, 2010, 10:20:14 PM »

I discovered it's not quite like that. I quote Jack Campin (who usually knows what he's talking about) on Mudcat a few years back:
Quote
"The Battle of the Somme" is a 9/8 slow march written by William Laurie during WW1. He was in the battle, wrote the tune in hospital after it, and died of his wounds a few months later; he lived long enough to see it adopted by every pipe band in the Army. (He was not the much better-known pipe tune composer Willie Lawrie, who outlived WW1 by a few decades)

Jack Campin didn't get it right this time. In piping circles, it is always referred to as a retreat march, not a slow march. The tune was composed by the better-known pipe tune composer Willie Lawrie, who did not outlive WW1, but died of illness (not wounds as often reported) in 1916. There were not two men, William Lawrie and William Laurie, as Pipe Majors of the 8th Argylls at the same time in WW1. The different spellings used may account for some of the confusions found. These comments in Session.org illustrate some of the confusion about this tune.
I refer readers yet again to the attached short biography of PM William Lawrie included in the book of tunes by three generations of Lawries from Ballachulish, Scotland, arranged for fiddle and accordion by grandson Willie Lawrie. The section on tunes by grandfather William Lawrie, PM of the 8th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in WW1, includes many great pipe tunes, including "The Battle of the Somme", labelled "Retreat March", in the key of D. (music attached).

Edited to include PM William Lawrie tune list as well as biography.

Here's my version, hope you like it:

http://www.onmvoice.com/play.php?a=18083

At last! A version approaching how this tune should be played! It could be even more brisk. Multiple World- and Scottish Pipe Band Champions, Shotts and Dykehead, play it at 99bpm (3 beats to the bar).
« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 09:19:40 AM by Bill Young »
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gmatkin

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #42 on: April 06, 2010, 10:33:03 PM »

Nice work Anahata! I really like the idea of getting as much music as possible out of a one-row, and you've done it beautifully.

Utterly ignorant of the tune's origins as I was, I'm afraid I played it more at an amble than a march, or even a slow march. Every day I learn something, and then wonder what the chances are that I'll remember it...

Gav
« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 10:05:01 AM by gmatkin »
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Bill Young

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #43 on: April 06, 2010, 10:41:41 PM »


Anyway I'll listen to yours with interest right after this  - meanwhile here's mine:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pu7QST0wCQA


Just great! That's the version I like best so far.

Chris Brimley

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #44 on: April 07, 2010, 07:56:45 AM »

Yes, Anahata, I like your version too, which seems to capture the sort of sound that I imagine many of the one row melodeons around at the time would have had. 

I'm interested to know how the arrangement of this tune came about - I think my score comes from the same source as yours, Bill.  Was it written in that key, or has it been amended since the original?  I guess if it was written on the pipes (in hospital?), it would not have normally been in that key.  And the chords sound as if they were a rearrangement and embellishment of the original tune, perhaps by the 1934 book compiler?
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Anahata

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #45 on: April 07, 2010, 08:10:05 AM »

I'm interested to know how the arrangement of this tune came about - I think my score comes from the same source as yours, Bill.  Was it written in that key
That's the source I used too, though I found it on Folktunefinder. And the key would be approximately right for highland pipes. I could have used my Castagnari Max in D, but for some reason I thought the tone of the Hohner would work well and I wasn't trying to get "authentic" key-wise.

Quote
And the chords sound as if they were a rearrangement and embellishment of the original tune, perhaps by the 1934 book compiler?
Undoubtedly. Those E7 - A7 changes are the ones that shout "Scottish-style piano accordion" at me!
Pipers have no use for chords anyway...
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #46 on: April 07, 2010, 08:40:48 AM »

Pipers have no use for chords anyway...

Almost, but not quite. Improvising pipers actually use broken chords quite a lot. eg Anne-Marie Sutton or David Faulkner here; and Vincent Boniface particularly. He even runs chord extensions into the second octave.

There was also Hamish Moore's legendary performance in Beverley Minster. Noticing that his music bounced back at him from the west wall - he modified his musical line and 'started playing chords'.  I was child-minding and missed it, but there was much talk of this amongst the pipers afterwards.  :|glug
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Anahata

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #47 on: April 07, 2010, 08:45:52 AM »

Improvising pipers actually use broken chords quite a lot ...
And of course there's all sorts of glorious harmony when two or three pipers (or more) are gathered together.

But I still think a piper/composer wouldn't actually write chords into a composition.
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Bill Young

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #48 on: April 07, 2010, 08:54:39 AM »

. . . I'm interested to know how the arrangement of this tune came about - I think my score comes from the same source as yours, Bill.  Was it written in that key, or has it been amended since the original?  I guess if it was written on the pipes (in hospital?), it would not have normally been in that key.  And the chords sound as if they were a rearrangement and embellishment of the original tune, perhaps by the 1934 book compiler?
There's a convention in pipe tune music. No key signature is written on pipe music. If the music ends on the note D, it's said to be in "D". If it ends on the note A, it's in "A", or "Am", like the same composer's "Captain Carswell". About half of pipe tunes are in "D". The pipe chanter scale is fixed, nominally in the scale of A with a G natural (there's a fancy name for this scale which eludes me at the moment). Back in WW1, the pipes may have actually sounded in A or D. Over the years, the nominal A on the pipes has been gradually raised until now it sounds like Bb. The pipe score I posted a while ago shows the tune written out in "D", and there's no reason to suppose the pipe score was ever anything else (couldn't have been, as the tune goes from G up to A, the whole range of the pipes).

There are no chords in pipe music. The version with chords that I posted is an accordion arrangement by the composer's grandson, also Willie Lawrie of Ballachulish, himself a piano accordionist and composer.

ladydetemps

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #49 on: April 07, 2010, 09:13:53 AM »

hmmmm...I'm just not 'getting' this one maybe its all the discussions of different versions, I've just ended up confused. :( :-\

Clive Williams

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #50 on: April 07, 2010, 09:20:11 AM »

hmmmm...I'm just not 'getting' this one maybe its all the discussions of different versions, I've just ended up confused. :( :-\

Fear not my lady, just play it as you feel it.

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ladydetemps

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #51 on: April 07, 2010, 09:21:52 AM »

hmmmm...I'm just not 'getting' this one maybe its all the discussions of different versions, I've just ended up confused. :( :-\

Fear not my lady, just play it as you feel it.

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But I don't 'feel' it that's the problem. :(

Simon

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #52 on: April 07, 2010, 09:54:47 AM »

Here's my first try (mp3) at this tune. Still needs a bit of polishing.  ;)
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**DTN**

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #53 on: April 07, 2010, 10:24:18 AM »

Here's my first try (mp3) at this tune. Still needs a bit of polishing.  ;)

WOW!! ...Although I'm not going to bother with this tune myself (i simply don't like it)... but!! Simon your playing of it is simply brilliant! , I listen to it the whole way through and then again! ... A lovely melody ... its made me totally rethink what i thought of this tune! ... By the way what is the Melodeon thats playing?
Derek
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Simon

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #54 on: April 07, 2010, 10:42:56 AM »

Thanks Derek. It's a Serenellini Gold98 G/C (with 'dutch' modification).
« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 10:45:20 AM by Simon »
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Anahata

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #55 on: April 07, 2010, 10:55:59 AM »

nominally in the scale of A with a G natural (there's a fancy name for this scale which eludes me at the moment)

Mixolydian.
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tiny

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #56 on: April 07, 2010, 06:35:32 PM »

Here's my first try (mp3) at this tune. Still needs a bit of polishing.  ;)

I really like this version. thank you
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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #57 on: April 07, 2010, 07:41:00 PM »

Quote
Here's my first try (mp3) at this tune. Still needs a bit of polishing.

That really does it for me. It's great.

My own attempt at playing a more sombre version is at http://www.flickr.com/photos/12394349@N06/4499972231/ I'm trying to use the base line that Howard suggested (or close to anyway). What would the chords be for the B part?

Bryn
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Anahata

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #58 on: April 07, 2010, 07:49:38 PM »

Here's my first try (mp3) at this tune.
Perfect arrangement, and beautifully played.
I loved that empty spacious sound of just melody and bass line at the beginning, and the RH harmony part when it came in was a real treat!  :|glug

Quote
Still needs a bit of polishing.  ;)
Getting perfect bellows control when you're playing three parts at once needs more than a little practice  ;D
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Tune of the Month for April 2010 - Battle of the Somme
« Reply #59 on: April 08, 2010, 12:09:07 AM »

Like a couple of others here, I didn't think this TOTM was my cup of tea, then I started playing around with it on the one-row, and came up with this. I see that William Laurie subtitled it a 'Retreat March' so I envisioned this as a dignified slow march.

Battle of the Somme.

This edited version (later than my original ToTM submission) was recorded and performed here in honour of my friend Mike Steel a few days after his untimely death from cancer on 16th July 2011. Played on a Wesson Clipper 1-row 4-stop melodeon in C; electronic drones generated in GarageBand.
 
Edited to update URL of sound file.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 10:20:37 AM by Steve_freereeder »
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