For this bagpipe lesson Pipe Major Bill Robertson explains playing the reel Caber Feidh also included is a section about playing tachums.
The exercise below is to make sure the movements that occur often are played correctly. The longest “B's” and “C's” must have good relative duration. The “D” and “E” grace notes following have to be executed clearly by playing “D” grace note on the way down to the lower note, not late.
As you can see the “E” grace note is played soon afterwards with clear division, all akin to the “G, D, E,” rhythm, without clipping. If necessary practise a while slowly and evenly like an open tachum with an “E” grace note tagged on the end.
The first part for Caber Feidh has some expressive main notes. Can you name them? They are longer duration high “G's” and high “A's”. The dotted low “A” in the seventh bar can have a bit extra feeling, yet within the momentum.
The second part doublings on the low “G's” should be relatively open. The low “G” grace note could almost be a short note. Attend to the good upbeats as in the tune throughout.
The third part has feelings on the “C's” and “D's” with solid grips that must have clarity of the short “C” grace note ahead of the grip, almost as a very, very, short melody note, which together imparts a nice rhythmic embellishment. The high “A” in the eighth bar can be felt to good effect too.
The fourth part “G, D, E's” should have that extra touch of duration on the first dotted note, first pulse in the first , third, fifth bars, and dotted low “A” in the seventh bar, as you flow along with good down/up much as for the previous reel.
When playing Caber Feidh it is important to have clean clear fingering in exchanging of lower and upper hand notes. The tune flows along and is more relaxed than the previous reel. I like to dwell slightly on the longer high “A” in the last bar and slight deliberation on the “C” to finish nicely, subtly perhaps.
If in doubt about rhythm in reels, in general let the reels roll along in a nice regular Down Up pulsed rhythm with certain accents or feeling, not over-pointed, allowing for clean clear execution without clipping short notes too much. P/M's or Directors of pipe bands might want competition type reels played with more relative duration or pointing on most of the dotted notes. That can be alright providing good clarity is maintained on the short notes and on technique such as tachums, cuttings, and “G, D, E,” movements.
Caber Feidh is Gaelic for Deer's horns. It was in the long toast of the Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforths and Camerons) regiment. The music naturally was associated with the regiment too.
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