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How much luck have you had in getting a piper to play the tune you called for being played?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Duke of York, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Thankfully, we don't get many pipers in this part of the world who could ruin a tune such that you'd hope you never heard it again, but we have bands and buskers who take requests.

    The thing is though that most of them don't know how to play the songs you ask them to play.

    It's no word of a lie that I've despite many requests yet to find anyone who knows how to play "Looking through the knothole in granny's wooden leg. The closest I ever got to getting a request being played was on the Isle of Wight in the late 70s when we stayed in a hotel that had laid on a jazz trio who were asking for requests.

    I asked if they knew Satin Doll and they all said what a brilliant suggestion it was, but none of them could remember how it went. They asked if I could hum it to get them going, but as luck would have it, for the life of me I couldn't remember how it went either.

    It was all a bit embarrassing for us. Embarrassing for the rest of the audience too, since none of them knew how to hum it when put on the spot, either.

    It fascinates me how phrases like "He who pays the piper calls the tune" enter our language when the chances of a piper knowing how to play the tune called for are slim.

    I doubt that even Paul McCartney is able to remember the words and melody of every song he wrote without being prompted and I very much doubt that a piper would know the melody to any song written during the punk and rap eras, or for that matter could anyone who grew up listening to that rubbish.

    I think I might be tempted to pay a piper and ask him if he could play Close to the Edge for a bit of fun, just to show how ridiculous this phrase is. It's the sort of tune he might have heard, but would be impossible to play on the pipes. I sometimes played the squeeze box when I was in a folk band, but like the bagpipes, it's a bit of an art getting the air into the instrument's lungs for when the notes are required and no way could it compete with Rick Wakeman on the electronic instruments he played on Close to the Edge.
  2. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    I have my copy of “Close to the Edge” autographed (twice) by Steve Howe.... who we saw in acoustic solo concert. At same concert he related how once he was with a very talented new guitarist who challenged him to play something. The “something” was “Classical Gas” originally by Mason Williams. He then went on to prove to us that like then he could play this !! Just wow was all.....
    Jolly_Roger15, agathamorse and nomad like this.
  3. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    No problem at all. A friend of ours is a member of an early music ensemble and plays a wide range of instruments including the Northumbrian pipes which have a delicate, musical tone unlike the warlike screech of the Scottish version whose tuning is at odds with the doh re mi scales used in 'classical' music. The sunny Christmas Day after we moved into our finca in the hills of Andalucia, said friend played carols on the terrace while our big dog Basil sat close and attentive with a rapt expression on his intelligent face.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. rachel_g41

    rachel_g41 Established commenter

    Not sure if this counts, but I met a couple of spanish bagpipers in a park (El Retiro) in Madrid one day and they played Flower of Scotland for me.
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    When I was about 8 years old a bagpiper did a demonstration for our Church Lads Brigade group, and I can still remember the difference between the goose and the chanter so some of it worked. He played some screechy stuff then asked if there were any questions. I put my hand up and asked "Can you play Donald Where's Yer Troosers?", a popular Andy Stewart ditty that was doing the rounds on Ed Stewpot's Junior Choice on the wireless. The piper went all sniffy and replied that he was sure he didn't know that song (lying git, how could a piper never have heard of Andy Stewart), whilst casting a despairing glance at our group leader, who's eyebrows were already somewhere near the ceiling, combined with a laser beam death stare in my direction.

    OK, an innocent socio-cultural faux pas on my part, but what other ef fing Scotchman tunes was an 8 year old from the English Midlands supposed to know beyond what he'd heard every week on Junior Choice? Jings Crivens helpmaboab I wisnae raised on a wild and windy croft ootside Stornoway the noo.
    agathamorse and Duke of York like this.
  6. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    Not pipes, but I've heard a ukulele band do Smoke on the Water. Amazing!
  7. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    Tut. Ukelele
  8. abwdSTEM

    abwdSTEM Occasional commenter

    Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know,
    The piper's calling you to join him,
  9. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I never paid the piper so rarely got the chance to call the tune and these days I'm happy to listen to most music. Who wants to be in charge of the play list anyway - I like a nice surprise.
  10. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    "Lay down and let the slow tide wash me back to the land where I came from.
    Where the mountain men are kings and the sound of the piper counts for everything.
    Did my tour, did my duty.
    I did all they asked of me.
    Died in the trenches and at Alamein died in the Falklands on T.V.
    Going back to the mountain kings where the sound of the piper counts for everything."
  11. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    Ok, bear with me here...

    Thinking of pipes & pipers because of this thread I remembered that...

    ...I had really liked Billie Piper in Dr Who...


    ...and that she was married for a time to Chris Evans, a one time radio 2 breakfast show presenter...


    ...Evans had taken over that DJ gig from Sir Terry Wogan, who did the job for an amazing 27 years...


    ...in 1978 Wogan had an unlikely hit record with ‘The Floral Dance’ in collaboration with the Brighouse and Rastrick Band (from Harrogate)...

    ...the Floral Dance is one of the songs available to play on the 54 keyless Dean, wood & brass piped, fairground organ, called... The Pied Piper..

    ...so there you have it...

    ...Billie Piper to The Pied Piper which will happily play any song you like or request so long as they have the required perforated cards or rolls...

    primarycat likes this.
  12. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    Yup. That really is how my brain works.

    All the blooming time! :(
    primarycat likes this.

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