Rob MacKillop

Playing Edward Light’s Harp Lute

In Music on January 6, 2015 at 9:51 am

Ian Grant loaned me his original Georgian Harp Lute, invented by Edward Light in the late 18th-century.

Sadly, I only had the instrument for four days before Ian flew back to Australia, during which time I made this video. It has a delightful sound.

Ian sent me not only the instrument by Edward Light, but also Light’s publication, Introduction to the Art of Playing On the Harp-Lute & Apollo-Lyre with suitable Lessons &.c Composed and Adapted BY Edward Light, Inventer.

This volume gives some instruction and twenty seven or so pieces of increasing difficulty. I recorded three pieces from pages 10 and 12, ‘Dance’, ‘Haunted Tower’ and ‘Scotch Air’. I offer them here as an introduction to the instrument and its repertoire. I’m told that it was immensely popular in its day, and that there are many hundreds of pieces for it.

The tuning, from bass to treble is, G CDEFGA Bcegc’ – the last five notes lying on the fingerboard. Three of the basses have semitone levers, or an early version of such, and therefore keys other than C Major can be played. The tuning is not too far from the so-called English Guitar, or ‘guittar’ of the second half of the 18th-century, and much of the repertoire is similar – Scotch Airs, popular songs, a little bit of Haydn…etc.

Bach for the Tenor or Cello Banjo – New Book/CD

In Music on January 9, 2014 at 12:01 am

My arrangements for tenor banjo (or any 5ths-tuned instrument) of the first three cello suites by Bach, is now available from Mel Bay and other outlets.

The book has a CD recording of my performances of the suites on three different banjos.

BachTenorBanjoCover

Bach’s cello suites are among the most famous solo instrumental works of all time. The cello and the tenor banjo share the same tuning, and banjo players might be surprised at how well this great music fits on the fretboard.

Here is a chance for tenor banjo players to explore Bach on their instrument, which could be tuned to either regular, CGDA, or Irish tuning, GDAE.

Accompanying audio is included, using three different tenor banjos: a regular tenor (Deering Eagle II), a gourd tenor (Jaybird Banjos), and a cello banjo (Gold Tone) which has the same low pitch as the cello. A ‘suite’ is a collection of dances of varying speeds and time signatures, conceived to be performed as a whole, and preceded by a prelude. Bach’s Prelude to the 1st Suite is magnificent and justly famous. The Bourree from the 3rd Suite is also very popular.

Enjoy playing Bach on the Tenor Banjo!

 

 

New Photo Blog Post, plus other stuff

In Music on October 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm

I have a photography blog – photography is my hobby. As I’ve just updated it with a new post, I thought I’d provide a link here.

This is the site: imagesrm.com – and the latest blog post is at the top of the page: Meditations On Kolbenneblok.

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What else is new? Well, I’ve added a new page to this site, devoted to my study of the plectrum banjo. LINK.

I will be performing a 30-minute plectrum-banjo recital at THIS EVENT is Huddersfield on the 26th October.

 

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