Single tracks not in albums

Lament for the Old Sword

Fraser Fifield

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Lament for the Old Sword

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An arrangement of this striking ancient melody performed here on whistle (in F) with two saxophones playing sympathetic responses. In place of the toarluath and crunluath variations I linked the theme notes with something that felt more natural to play on the whistle, hopefully while keeping forward motion and the sense of urgency/intensity those variations typically add.
My approach is faithful to the composition in many regards but does add an extemporised element, especially through the variations. This interests me as I believe an improvisational aspect to this music must have existed and indeed perhaps once formed its basis.
Music traditions in India, as in Scotland, are built upon a drone but the Indian style is (still?) improvised. The Indian musician doesn't differentiate between 'improvising' and 'playing music'. I wonder whether Scottish bagpiping has lost roots in this regard? Hinduism - the collective spiritual understandings of people of the Indus region is still strong, whereas any equivalent understandings inherent to these parts (ie modern Scotland, etc) has long since disappeared. My anthropological hobbyist part suspects we lost something fundamental in this Western world, a long, long while back. I feel music can give (albeit very) faint clues to this.

An article by Mrs Bridget Mackenzie, serialised in the Piping Times in 1980 (reposted recently on bagpipe.news, linked below), also offered relevant notions in regards the lost improvisational aspect of Piobaireachd, linking with an ancient style of Norse verse.

"The convention was that they were spontaneous, and to suggest otherwise was to insult the artiste, but there is evidence that this spontaneity drew heavily on the store of training previously built up".**

*bagpipe ornamentation which the final variations in piobaireachd are often based around.

** https://bit.ly/2NHaczR

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Praise of Longer Days

Fraser Fifield

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Praise of Longer Days

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Music composed and performed by Fraser Fifield, part of 'Piobaireachd 2021' a project supported by Creative Scotland. Please leave any comment at the bottom of the page, many thanks.

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Lament for Red Hector of the Battles

Fraser Fifield

The story behind the tune...

Hector Maclean served as a military commander under his uncle, Donald of Islay, Lord of the Isles. Ongoing territorial disputes between Barons of the East and West of Scotland led, in 1411, to the Battle of Harlaw, near Inverurie, Aberdeenshire. The battle saved Aberdeen from destruction at the hands of the highland forces but Red Hector, along with many others, met his untimely end there. The composer of 'Lament for Red Hector of the Battles' is unknown.

In this arrangement, after recording the Highland Bagpipe I added soprano saxes in octaves and a tenor whistle in F.

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Field of Hope

Fraser Fifield

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Field of Hope

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Composed and recorded on 3/4 July 2020, released July 5, 2020 composed, performed, recorded by Fraser Fifield. Sheet music for the melody line is included. Named after a local riverside walk called the 'Fife Field of Hope'...cos you gotta!

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A Flame of Wrath

Fraser Fifield

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A Flame of Wrath

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Fraser Fifield plays the Highland Bagpipe, Soprano Saxophone, Eb Tenor Whistle, Clarinet and Keyboard

'Breizh' (the first tune) is composed by Fred Morrison - do visit: https://fredmorrison.com

A Flame of Wrath For Squinting Patrick (the second tune) is composed by Donald Mor MacCrimmon.

Music arranged by Fraser Fifield

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