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Laird Will’s Free, Simplified, Illustrated and Painless Bagpipe Lessons – 6: The D-Throw
I know I said this would be the lesson for learning “Scots, Wha Hae.” But I rrealized we need one more wee lesson before doing justice to the tune. We need to learn one of the fancier embellishments. It appears only in one place in “Scots Wha Hae,” but it’s important. It’s called the D-Throw.
2. The D-Throw is so called because it is based on the note D, and feels like you are throwing the D off the chanter with the motiuon of your fingers.
3. We will start on a low A (just the right little finger raised, remember) so do that now – place it a few times, with a G grace note in between.
4. An interesting thing about the D Throw is that it is written down one way, but actually played slightly differently. When you see a D Throw written in a pipe tune, it looks like this:
But it is actuallly played like this:
Remember, the small notes are grace notes, that are played so quickly they are not part of the timing of the tune. Here there will be 4 grace notes – g-d-g-c before ending on the note D.
5. Here’s how we do it (VERRRRRY slowly)
a. From a low A, drop your little finger to play a “g”
b. Raise your right index finger for a sort of a “d”
c. Snap it quickly back down for another “g”
d. Raise your middle and ring fingers TOGETHER for a “c”
e. And then quickly also raise your index finger for the final D note, which is the actual D you are throwing to.
6. Now do the steps in 5 very slowly, as if they were all quarter notes rather than grace notes. We’ll start on a low A and go to D using a D Throw:
It sounds something like this (ignore the notation):
Ignore the notation in the example – the impoirtant thing is you are playing G-D-G-C-D
(Note also it’s not a “real” D you are playing. You are just raising your index finger rather than index, middle, ring fingers as in an actual D. This is so you can play the grace notes quickly.)
Play this sequence slowly MANY times, until you are comfortable with it. Remember, accuracy first, speed second!
This person is demonstrating the D-Throw on all the notes in the scale. Try it. Note you can go to a D-Throw from ANY note, but it always ends on D. Whatever note you start on, you always begin by closing all holes to a low g:
7. When you are comfortable, begin picking up the speed of the grace notes
A g-d-g-c D
The first A and final D are actual quarter notes. The g-d-g-c are grace notes. Try playing them a bit more quickly. Then faster, then faster, but never so fast that you make a mistake. When you get quick enough so that you are playing the grace note ppart in between the two beats of the A and the D, you are doing a D-Throw.
This will likely take some time to master.
[***One caveat: Some pipers like to play what is called a "light" D-Throw, which is played exactly as it is written in the first example above: g-d-c-D. This is a cheap D-Throw. DO NOT learn it!***]
It sounds like this when played correctly (the seventh note in the tune, that sounds kind of bubbbly):
Now Practice! And remember, accuracy first, speed second.
Questions? Email me at email@example.com
Highland Titles continues its Tradition of contributing to local events and organizations in the Glencoe area.
What Is Shinty?
Shinty (Scottish Gaelic: camanachd, iomain) is a team game played with sticks and a ball. Shinty is now played mainly in the Scottish Highlands, and amongst Highland migrants to the big cities of Scotland, but it was formerly more widespread, being once competitively played on a widespread basis in England and other areas in the world where Scottish Highlanders migrated.
While comparisons are often made with field hockey, the two games have several important differences. In shinty, a player is allowed to play the ball in the air and is allowed to use both sides of the stick, called a caman, which is wooden and slanted on both sides. The stick may also be used to block and to tackle, although a player may not come down on an opponent’s stick, a practice called hacking. Players may also tackle using the body as long as it is shoulder-to-shoulder.
The game was derived from the same root as the Irish game of hurling but has developed different rules and features. These rules are governed by the Camanachd Association. A composite rules shinty–hurling game has been developed, which allows Scotland and Ireland to play annual international matches.
Shinty is also one of the forebears of ice hockey: in 1800, Scottish immigrants to Nova Scotia played a game on ice at Windsor. In Canada, informal hockey games are still called shinny.
This tells it all:
This was the afternoon I was supposed to be cooking for 150 hearty appetites at my parish’s annual SpaghettiPageant. The event started years ago as a spaghetti supper the men’s group and I would host: I made the “gravy” and they did the rest. Then about five years ago, having yet again been forced to cancel the children’s Christmas Pageant because of a winter storm, we moved that event and combined it with the spaghetti dinner.
This post was published in July of 2012, nearly a year and a half ago. For the past few weeks it has been the most viewed post on our blog. Can it be a Poetry or English Lit class has discovered it?? In case that is so, we reblog it here, to make it easier to find. And we have made a couple of minor adjustmenst. Thanks, Readers!
One of the chief aspects of becoming Laird of Glencoe is a concern with the planting and preservation of native trees in the Highlands. Many of my posts are about that. But right now I’d like to start with a poem.
TREES, by Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918), is a poem many “experts” love to hate. I remember a high school English teacher who thoroughly berated Kilmer’s words as being simplistic and puerile. Those who know mock Kilmer’s supposed straight-jacket of iambic tetrameter: duh-DA/duh-DA/duh-DA/duh-DA. Of course that comes from a misunderstanding of the function of meter and rhyme in poetry, and the subsequent inability properly to read a poem. Thus is Kilmer’s poem butchered by the inept reader:
i THINK that I shall NE ver SEE
A PO em LOVE ly AS a TREE.
(Thank goodness, at least, this recognizes the word is “po-em” and note “pome”!)
But Kilmer’s poem “Trees” is properly read like this:
I think that I shall never see a POEM
lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is PREST against
the earth’s SWEET flowing breast;
A tree that looks at GOD all day, and lifts her LEAFY arms to pray;
A TREE that may in Summer wear a nest of ROBINS
in her hair;
Upon whose bosom SNOW has lain;
Who intimately LIVES with rain.
POEMS are made by FOOLS like me,
But only GOD can make a TREE.
(The iambic tetrameter works best when saved for the final couplet, and understated even there.)
I thought I might try writing a poem on “Reading Kilmer’s Trees – Redux,” but Merriam-Webster says the only rhymes available are aw-shucks, conflux, deluxe, efflux, influx, and reflux. Not so, of course. What about conducts, instructs, obstructs, or usufructs? Perhaps 47 in all. And then there are the almost countless imperfect rhymes, such as out-of-luck’s what many poets are. Can you give it a try?
~ Laird Will
Forget the palm trees below and imagine oak, ash, and pine, and the Highland Hills in the distance . . .
Land of our fathers, we will always be
Faithful and loyal to our own country
In times of danger, we will set you free
Lead you to glory and to victory.
Gone is the past, let us start anew
Let this hope of peace, always remain
Spirit of Scotia, be strong and true
Then your children will smile again.
Hail, Caledonia, to our ancient prayer
In this Highland Cathedral, let our standards bear
Joining together with one dream to share
God bless the people of this land so fair.
Lonely the exile, o’er distant seas,
The home of their birth, gone from their eyes.
Bring back their souls o’er the ocean breeze
To the land where their fathers lie.
Rise, Caledonia, let your voices ring
In this Highland Cathedral of our God and King
Whom joy and liberty to all will bring
Come; let your heart, with love and courage, sing
Amazingly, This melody was composed by German musicians Ulrich Roever and Michael Korb in 1982 for a Highland games held in Germany . . .
Standing guard at the castle gate,
they do not trust the battlements
to protect their homestead’s fate,
this kilted Laird and schnoodle friend.
And so alert they wait
their charge attend,
until they both released
may be to join the waiting feast.
Sure, there is no enemy there without,
no fearsome foe about
But for the schnoodle and the kilted lad
an ancient duty calls:
Stand fast and bar the door at any cost!
Or maybe watch the squirrels,
or to the feeding birds proffer a toast.
2012, Laird Will & Rudy