Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Trad Tuesday: Cape Breton tunes by Coig



Coig is the Cape Breton 'supergroup' that consists of Darren McMullen on guitar, mandolin, mandola, banjo, bouzouki, whistles, flute and vocals; Rachel Davis on fiddle, viola and vocals; Jason Roach on piano and Chrissy Crowley on fiddle and viola. They exemplify the Cape Breton style of fiddling.

Cape Breton was settled by transplanted Scots Highlanders, and their music is still much as one would have heard back in Scotland in the 1800's. In Scotland itself, there was an effort during that time to 'clean-up' fiddling and change to a more classical Lowland style that you can still hear today. 

The most noticeable difference between these styles is in the rhythm; especially in dotted rhythm tunes like strathspeys and marches. In Cape Breton, the dotted 8th notes and 16th notes are fairly relaxed. If you were to listen to older pipers in Cape Breton play strathspeys, the rhythm would almost sound like even 8th notes that have a swing. In Scottish fiddling, the length of the dotted 8th is much more exaggerated and the 16th is shortened to make a much more pointed rhythm.