For this bagpipe lesson, Pipe Major Bill Robertson provides a few lesson pointers on how to play the tune Arniston Castle, a strathspey. Claimed to be traditional. It is most likely an older strathspey of only two parts extended later to four parts presumably by an unknown piper.
Basically throughout, “Es”, high “As”, and the longer low “As”, predominate and should have feeling/control. The first part is an example. Have good control on all dotted “Es”, dotted high “As”, and the low “G” in the second bar (also in the second part). The triplets must have enough duration on the third note, and the short note “F” leading in from the first pulse fourth bar. The second and fourth part dotted high “As” are held until it “hurts” both before and after relevant strikes and clear cuttings.
Observe where two very short notes are together for slight relaxation on the first one i.e. the seventh bar second and fourth part*, also the second and sixth bars third part. The grips “C” to “E” should be solid with an amount of relaxation to equate to a triplet rhythm. Tempo could be about 106 – 114 Beats a minute.
Remember four pulses to the bar, with subtle feeling on the first beat of each bar, yet maintaining the spirit/lift the dance and its momentum.
Arniston House is a historic house in Midlothian, Scotland, near the village of Temple. This Georgian mansion was designed by William Adam in 1726 for Robert Dundas, of Arniston, the elder, the Lord President of the Court of Session. The western third of the house was added by John Adam, brother of Robert Adam, in 1753.
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