A Competition Strathspey: “The Blue Heron” (Score & Sound File)

March 16, 2008 on 4:30 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Score & Sound File, Solo Piping, Tips | Comments Off on A Competition Strathspey: “The Blue Heron” (Score & Sound File)

This tune comes from my third collection of tunes, “Old & New Tunes” (1995). The Blue Heron is a competition-style strathspey. 

A competition-style strathspey is, of course, at least four parts in length.  Our repertoire has a few good six-parters like, “Blair Drummond” and “Bogan Lochan” and one notable eight-parter, the grand daddy of them all, “The Cameronian Rant”.  However, the four-parted strathspey is the competitive norm and probably part of a good plan when setting out to compete in a strathspey and reel event.  I mean, why fill the air with more risky (and potentially blootery) notes than required when the rules call for a minimum of four parts?  Why?    

The Blue Heron_Strathspey by Michael Grey_dunaber.com

Because competition strathspeys are almost always more technically demanding than their two-parted cousins fundamental differences in the two are clear.    

While there are exceptions you’ll generally find competition strathspeys:

  1. Based more on rhythm than melody (with two-parters higher on the whistleability scale)
  2. More interesting and better interpreted played at a moderate strathspey tempo
  3. Low on the Highland dancer’s favourite tune list: competition strathspeys are made for technical and rhythmic shenanigans – not dancing.   

So here is “The Blue Heron” at a moderate 112 MM, a good tempo for an experienced solo competitor.  I hope you like it.


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