Composed by the famous D.R. MacLennan, half-brother of master composer G.S. MacLennan, Joe MacGann’s Fiddle is a classic of the ‘pointed hornpipe’ variety. This should provide a good challenge for most pipers as it moves up and down the scale incessantly throughout! The score used in this lesson can be downloaded here.
Of all the types of tune played on the Highland pipes hornpipes are arguably the most difficult to pin down in origin. Hornpipes are known throughout the whole United Kingdom, and can be found in various different time signatures, with various melodic shapes. To pipers today there are typically two ‘types’ of hornpipe – pointed and even. While both are in 2/4 time there is a very different feel to each variety. Even hornpipes are often written in minor keys and could be described as ‘driving’ in character. In contrast to this, pointed hornpipes are often in major keys, frequently D major, and have more ‘light-hearted’ character. In this series Margaret Dunn looks at pointed hornpipes, helping to explain both the technical and musical nuances required to effectively play these demanding tunes.
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