OfÂ the thousands of tunes madeÂ forÂ playing on the Great Highland Bagpipe, there’s hardly a Christmas tune in the lot.Â Pipers write tunes for their pals,Â mums, dads, bands, teachers, to commemorate “in” jokes and happenings, birthdays, retirements, battles won and lost and places.Â But not much for Christmas – or Hogmanay or New Years for that matter!Â
The “Christmas”Â tune I am most familiar with is the ordinaryish traditional reel, “The Christmas Carousal” (sometimesÂ misprinted as “The Christmas Carousel” andÂ that’s something completely different -Â fun, maybe, for theÂ kiddies).Â Â There’s also, “Christmas Eve”, by Angus Cameron found in David Glen’s number 13 and “The Christmas March”, by Donald Varella found in his U.S. Bicentennial Collection.Â I’m sure there’s a few others butÂ its definitley slim pickings on the jolly old tune front.Â The NoÃ«l is fairly dry, I’d say.
For Christians and a lot of fun-loving secular-cum-druid types Christmas is one of the biggest celebrations of the year.Â I have to think most of today’s (and history’s) pipers fall in to the category of Christmas-celebrators.Â
I wonder why it is that there isÂ so little musicÂ composed by pipers to mark Christmas?
Surely Burns wasn’t rightÂ when he named his typical piper in his, “Tam O’Shanter“:
There sat auld Nick, in shape o’ beast;
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge:
He scre’d the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl.–Â Â
I’ll have to make myÂ first Christmas-namedÂ tune this year!
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