Repertoire for Funerals

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Repertoire for Funerals

Postby InvertedPiper » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:16 am

Hello there, one and all!

Hopefully this doesn't seem too morbid or tasteless a question, but I've recently been thinking of getting to the stage where I can offer my services as a solo piper at funerals and the like. While I don't necessarily expect many opportunities to occur in this area (I live in Australia where NSP are almost unheard of by the broader community), I was hoping people might be able to suggest tunes that are traditionally played on such occasions. Or even just tunes you think would be appropriate, even if not on the favourites list.
I'm guessing the two broad types of interest I might get would be either from people with cultural or family links to the north of England or people investigating something different and special for their ceremony, so tune suggestions you think good for either purpose would be much appreciated.
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Re: Repertoire for Funerals

Postby Tpfairfax » Mon May 11, 2015 5:32 pm

I suspect it all depends on the type of feel required for the Funeral - and the role in which you are playing.

You can be up beat without being disrespectful and many of the normal tunes in the mainstream repertoire may work.....

If you want something with a bit of heart - there are some lovely tunes from both Northumbrian and Scottish repertoires which can create a mood without being cliched.

I have used the following (for both weddings and funerals) - though in a co-opted rather than professional role...:

Tunes Like:

Sweet Hesleyside
Rowan Tree
Wild Mountain Thyme
Mist Covered Mountains
Rothbury Hills
Dark Island

Especially in Australia where the Jockanese Repertoire may be more recognised than the deep northumbrian one....

I am currently fiddling with the Gael (Last of the Mohicans) - it takes a bit of re-arranging and transposition (unless you have a really punchy chanter!) It has a wonderfully haunting feel. I note there may be a copyright issue with this one.
Wayfaring Stranger - (US Trad) is also very good if you need some emotion and "bend".... but needs a bit of arrangement depending on your pipes.

For weddings, Highland Cathedral is popular, if a little cliched. Again - needs a bit of arrangement. I played this at a family wedding in Austria last weekend. (Needed to be something recognisable). Oh Dear What can the matter be (the version in NPS book 1 with variations is great) is also very useful if the Bride is making her groom sweat a bit - though you need to have something recognisable with a bit of gravitas when (if) she actually arrives (Highland Cathedral serves well)!! Clearly you need to be confident that she probably will turn up unless you are happy being ejected....

There are lots of lovely tunes in the various tune books - I suspect the secret is to find the match which suits the feel of the day.
Drop me a line if you can't find any of these.....

The professionals may have a more formal Funeral set.....


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Re: Repertoire for Funerals

Postby Julia Say » Mon May 18, 2015 9:00 pm

There is also a copyright issue with "Dark Island". They wanted several hundred pounds to allow reproduction in a Society folio - which is why it isn't there.

Noble Squire Dacre is the funeral march of the Howard family. He wasn't "noble" - he took backhanders as protection money in the reiver period.

Julia Say
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Re: Repertoire for Funerals

Postby InvertedPiper » Sun Oct 18, 2015 11:58 pm

Thanks for the suggestions Tpfairfax! I hadn't even considered how all those things would affect tune choice, but I certainly shall now. And thanks for the tunes as well, I shall check them all out. I believe Rothbury Hills and Dark Island are the only ones I know as yet.
Sometimes the upbeat ones can sound amazing when slowed to a sombre pace, as well: I came across a tune in an old record by a few Australian musicians (and one East Anglian) which is a Scottish reel called 'Sir David Davidson of Cantry', but they play it as a slow reel on dulcimer and guitar and it's possibly the most beautiful tune I've heard this year! Although there is one thing I do have to ask you - pardon my ignorance, but you're going to have to elaborate on what you mean by 'Jockanese repertoire' :D

There is also a copyright issue with "Dark Island". They wanted several hundred pounds to allow reproduction in a Society folio - which is why it isn't there.

Whaaaaat? Who owns the copyright for that??
I shall investigate "Noble" Squire Dacre as well, thanks :)
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