chant n fife

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Songs from the British Isles – arranged for Hümmelchen, Dudey and many other instruments. Compiled by Hermann Rieth


chant n fife – sing and whistle

Traveling to England with the bagpipes may remind you of owls being carried to Athens. But it is a joyful endeavor to explore music of the island kingdom. In the tradition of minstrels, songs are accompanied by instrumental pieces or singing. Where necessary, a melody is adapted (range, chromaticism) or transposed to a key that allows playing with the dudey.

This new booklet by Hermann Rieth contains both originals and adaptations. One feels free to deal with the presented material according to one’s own gusto: To invent accompanying voices, preludes, interludes, postludes, to set up one’s own arrangements or to put together sets with other music.

Contents of the collection:

Sumer is icumen in is probably the oldest secular song in the British Isles to have survived in written form. It is amazing how close the melody is to our listening habits. For this edition, a low leading note has been adjusted in only two places.

NOBILIS HUMILIS, also called Magnus Hymnus, is an early organum and is reproduced here without alteration. What is striking is the importance of the third, which established itself as euphonious in the islands long before this happened on the continent.

Byrd one Brere is the oldest love song in England to survive in writing, roughly noted on the back of a papal bull. The transmission here is a possible suggestion for interpretation.

Airs from the Beggar’s Opera use as melody popular tunes of the time (1728). John Gay wrote the lyrics, Christoph Pepusch added a bass. The opera enjoyed great popularity. For this booklet, arias were selected that are playable on our instruments without modification. The bass has been transposed up an octave and adapted where necessary so that it can be played on an alto instrument (dudey or cornamuse). These changes are marked in the musical text.

AIR 10 goes without adjustments. AIR 15 has two additional octaves. AIR 17 needs three small changes. AIR 22 becomes playable through repeated octavations. AIR 24 goes without adjustments, as well AIR 27 and AIR 29. AIR 34 needs at one point the increase of the low leading tone. AIR 36 goes without adjustments. AIR 48 needs two octaves. At AIR 54 the biggest changes of the bass are necessary. AIR 69 has received many increases in the bass, but for a bagpiper of its kind, these are part of the daily routine. An additional accompaniment part was introduced for some arias: AIR 17, AIR 27, AIR 34, AIR 69.

After the great success, the following year John Gay wrote the opera Polly, “being the second part of the Beggar’s Opera”. However, it fell victim to censorship and was not performed during the librettist’s lifetime. AIR 5 gives an idea of what it was all about. A print with lyrics and melodies has been preserved. Three arias were selected for this booklet. The source contains other melodies of interest to us. AIR 5 was only slightly customized and got an accompanying voice. AIR 20 was moved down an octave in parts and given an accompanying voice. A second part was appended and remained textless. AIR 71 was transposed and also provided with an accompanying voice.

Love, Love, Nothing But Love is included as an example of the extensive music for Shakespeare’s dramas.

Martin Said to His Man is a funny drinking and mocking song of the Renaissance. The tenor can be taken from the dudey. Two small changes were made for this purpose.

Country Life is from the rich fund of English folk, in this case from the Yorkshire Dales. It became known through the group “The Watersons”. The melody can be played without any changes. The accompanying voice is in the same register.

John Ball was a priest in the 14th century who advocated that there was no reason for different treatment of servants and masters. The coming society would be determined by mutual comradeship and the love of people for each other. He was executed for spreading this message. Sydney Carter dedicated a folk song to him.

Shepherds Arise and
are two popular English Christmas carols that can be found in the repertoire of the Sheffield Carols, among others. Both were given accompaniments that can be played with alto or soprano and alto pipes. When performed purely instrumentally, they can sound like fanfares. A collection like this should not be without a song by the Scottish poet Rubert Burns.

My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose is one of the better known. The melody is playable on the Dudey without modification. The accompaniment is again kept in the same position. 

Order no.: 19

ISBN: 978-3-943060-19-5
Format: DIN A4
Number of pages: 44 pages
Cover: Softcover

Additional information

Weight 0,3 kg


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