|There is no music holder for the bagpipes which requires the piper to commit all the songs in his/her repertory to memory. Consequently, a piper will often start 'em up and play song after song as moved by the moment. This song page is in that tradition.|
The use of the first-person singular "I" herein is unusual but I'm talking about me, the Clan Piper (who also is the webmaster).
I don't know what it is about the song Black Bear that Scots find so dear, but I include myself in that number. For a piper, it is very challenging -- the fingers seem to be flying in all directions simultaneously. But rewarding when mastered. It has a delightful syncopation, very much a strathspey (although the song is often listed as a march).
Black Bear / Piper of Drummond
Black Bear is an open-ended song, i.e. it requires a a closing verse or a second song for it to be complete. In the rendition above, the format was AABA, with the final "A" acting as the closer. In the selection here, a second song, namely The Piper of Drummond, acts as the closer. For the piper, this combination is a joy to play, but the relief felt when the accending run in the "B" portion of Black Bear is played successfully may hinder the separate challenge of The Piper of Drummond! This pair can make your foot a-tap and lead you to jump from your chair and dance around the room!
Cock of the North
Doesn't the title of this song evoke images of the Scottish regiment marching somewhere, kilts a'swaying, pipers a'piping, and drummers a'drumming? Just like a bunch of roosters strutting around the barnyard. Well, someone had that image in his/her head when this song was composed (actually, it's easier to march long distances if a little strut is added to the gait.) The music itself reinforces that image and helps the soldier get his "strut".
Green Hills of Tyrol
There are a class of songs described as Retreats, and that doesn't imply an advance to the rear! A retreat is an evening ceremony when the duties of day are complete and it's time to relax. The Colonel of the Regiment would often have the pipers play a series of calming songs which became known as "Retreats". The selections here, the Green Hills of Tyrol and it's companion When the Battles O'er, are representative of Retreats.
The bagpipe has but nine notes and plays in a single key: no sharps, no flats, nada! So it's not unexpected that several songs sound similar at their beginning. The song Wings is included here because it has the same opening riff as does Scotland the Brave, Mari's Wedding, Craigs of Tumbledown Mountain, and (probably) many more. I perform a song sequence that includes all of these just because of that similarity (no, that sequence is not included here.)
Teribus is often the terminating song in a medley that includes Scotland the Brave. Even if it's not, it's still a nice tune. Several years ago I took my 'Pipes on a cruise and entered the on-ship talent show. I performed a medley that had Teribus as the concluding song. I played it faster than I had ever rehearsed and flawlessly also; and the cutoff was perfect. I couldn't have done it better.