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Scotland

Amazing Grace Music – New Version

The Story Behind Amazing Grace Music

Ever heard of the song “Amazing Grace”? Sure you have.

Love the tune and melody of it’s music? Sure you do.

Amazing grace music has been first linked to the variant of the tune “New Britain” of which the composer is unknown and which is in William Walker’s shape-note tunebook Southern Harmony,1935. In addition to that, New Britain first appeared in a shape note hymnal from 1829 called Columbian Harmony.

Furthermore, the melody is Scottish or Irish origin since it is pentatonic and suggests a bagpipe tune. When we talk about Scottish or Irish music the Great Highland Bagpipe indeed has a large role in it since it has long played an important part of Scottish music. Although this particular form of bagpipe developed exclusively in Scotland, it is not the only Scottish bagpipe, and other bagpiping traditions remain across Europe.

The earliest mention of bagpipes in Scotland dates to the 1400s although they could have been introduced to Scotland as early as the sixth century.On the other hand, when we talk about Irish music, the harp, reels, hornpipes, jigs, mazurka, the flute, the fiddle and the uilleann pipes are the musical instruments which are commonly used in this type of music.

Amazing grace music has an origin which is a mixture of both Scottish and Irish music. It has been mentioned earlier that bagpipes in this type of music. What are bagpipes anyway? Bagpipes are a class of musical instrument, aerophones using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag.

Even though the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe and Irish uilleann pipes have the greatest international visibility, bagpipes of several varieties can be found in use throughout Europe, Northern America, the Persian Gulf and the Caucasus. Amazing grace music indeed has a very interesting origin which is why it has a very unique and wonderful sound.

Traditional Scottish Dance Music

Scottish Dance Music incorporates many different genres and styles which have developed over time.

Traditional music was originally sung and played for social gatherings, where the original form of the ceilidh comes from. This was a gathering where different members of the party would each take turns to play a tune or sing a song, sometimes with others joining in.

Many of the tunes and songs have been passed down through the generations and are constantly evolving even today as musician put their own slant on them.

James Scott Skinner

The fiddle was a very popular instrument in Scotland and its profile in highland music was raised by James Scott Skinner in the late 19th and early 20th century. He was one of the first traditional musicians to tour abroad and took his music to America.

Much of his music was written for dancing and a great amount of his music was published and continues to be extremely popular.

Traditional music was also used to form some of the working songs like those sung by the women “waulking” the cloth in the woollen cloth-making, common in Scotland at one time.

Scottish Country Dance Bands

Scottish Country Dance Bands are nowadays comprised of two accordions, fiddle, piano double bass and drums. They generally play in strict tempo to accompany Scottish Country Dancing which has become a worldwide phenomenon thanks to the RSCDS. (Royal Scottish Country Dance Society)

Ceilidh Dance Bands

Ceilidh Dancing is perhaps more common and also accessible to non-dancers as you don’t need to know all the steps and formations beforehand. Ceilidh bands can be comprised of many different combinations of instruments. Fiddles, whistles and accordions are commonly used to provide a strong melody, with piano, guitar and drums providing the rhythm section.

There are also many contemporary Scottish bands which play in more of a concert setting rather than for dancing. These are often in large arenas and they tour around the world.

Worldwide Appeal

Wherever you go in the world, thanks to the large expatriate Scottish community, there are always festivals, societies and other events which bring Scottish ceilidh music across the world. As a result there is a huge demand for Scottish ceilidh bands and Scottish performers.