Ah hah. I suspected that all Strathspey questions would eventually
lead back to his Johnnyness. We Milwaukee folk have futzed about with
the Laird before, but are trying to figure out just what mister C is
doing on the *Fast* portion at the end. I think you know what I mean-
We're talking at least 16th triplets here. Actually, this portion
was recorded in Madison, and you can hear myself and my friend Jan
gasping at the end. And earlier that night, darned if he didn't ask
us where "a discrete place to smoke" might be. Boggling.
Anyway, If there is interest, I could post a couple variants of the
Laird that we have come up with lately. Another idea- how about a
"common Strathspeys" list? Here are the local favorites:
Stirling Castle (any of 2-3 versions)
The Braes of Mar
The Laird Himself
The Lady Hamilton of Darlymple (transpoosed up a 4th to make it work
on non 5-string citterns)
The Cat that Kittled in Jamie's Wig
And for those with the Skye collection, check out
Steer The Gill (set as a reel)
As far as the original question- He plays it straight before he ups
the tempo, then goes nuts on the reel version. I think that the basic
guideline for this is:
Slow (strathspey) speed: keep it pretty much as written, stately.
Reel (fast) speed: mentally convert snaps to "ornament" in your
playing, vary as much as you like.
To quote the preface of the Skye collection:
"The strathspey, especially, should be played with grace and in
measured time, giving the dancer an opportunity of moving his limbs
gracefully. When this is not done, the thing degenerates into the
railway speed performance of a clog dance in a pantomime, and to a
stranger seems most ludicrous; while the music itself sounds as a
regular jumble of the same note repeated in different strains"
Hope this sets the record straight, or at least firmly crooked.