Friday, October 21, 2011

... And You Only Use 9 Notes!

Pipe Major Roddy S. MacDonald


Creativity is a gift... and unfortunately or fortunately, perhaps, a gift for very few. Bruce Gandy, Michael Grey, Gordon Duncan... all names that bring to mind some great tunes over the years. Oh, there are dozens of participants in the composition game - perhaps one tune a year - maybe one tune in a lifetime that makes it to the mainstream. I would be such a player. Perhaps that is why it has been a passion of mine to discover new music; and in the process come to appreciate the nuances each composer brings to the table. Roddy S. MacDonald is a giant among current composers. He has published two books, the ClanRanald Collection with his father, Willie MacDonald (Benbecula) and his latest, released at the National Piping Centre during Piping Live, 2009 - the R.S. MacDonald Collection. Such great tunes (and names, BTW) -El Paco Grande, Good Drying (the title tune off his CD), The Last Tango in Harris, The Pivovar Express, and the list goes on. Buy the book...buy the CD...hours of enjoyment.

But this isn't why I am writing this piece...I just got sidetracked! His latest tune, Dalvey, is a classic! It is not the proverbial diamond in the rough, but a polished gemstone for anyone's up-taking.... written using the A arpeggio, but just skimming the octave briefly in the second and fourth parts, it tickles your harmonic fancy with an abundant use of the note D and very fiddle-like use of cuts and dots, what I might refer to as "3 note pulses"....


I hope you enjoy this tune.... Roddy has been gracious enough to grant copyright permission to the Corner for publishing here. I believe in copyright for composers. I purchase their books and CD's. I encourage you to do as well and in return, we all play our role in supporting a living tradition!