Was Off to the Wild

I spent the weekend in the Pisgah National Forest, and at the Grandfather Mountain Scottish Highland Games.

The Grandfather Games

Plenty of time for hiking and camping. If you get up early enough, you'll find yourself completely alone in the Linville Gorge. It is named after a Long Hunter who was killed by the Shawnee, along with his son. Those "Long" hunts for furs could go on for as much as a year, during which time you might amass quite a store of hides. Of course, this made you an ever-more tempting target.

Linville Gorge

Saw a black bear again this weekend, a charming young male who pause and stood up to look me in the eye before continuing on his way. No aggression at all, just curiosity. I also saw a double rainbow after an evening rainstorm, the first one I've ever seen that you could fully see both of the two bows from horizon to horizon. It was especially intense in its color.

They did "Britannia Rules the Waves" at the games, as well as all the military service songs. People who had served stood up while their service's song played. Turns out bagpipes can't play the Air Force song because it features "chromatics," whatever that means.

A bit of appropriate music for the Celtic Carolina homeland. This instrument is the Appalachian Dulcimer, a simplified version of a very old instrument -- and, in its hammered form, a much more capable one. You see the Appalachian form throughout Western North Carolina. You see the hammered form more rarely.

The national animal of Scotland, by the way, is the unicorn.


Texan99 said...

A chromatic scale has 12 notes to the octave, like a piano using both black and white keys. If a tune has too many runs in it that run up and down by half-notes, it's very difficult to play on some instruments. You can sometimes get away with a single half-note run if you choose the right key to play the tune in, but if there are several runs, in various places in the scale, you won't be able to make enough of the half-notes to fill in all the runs properly. If it's a recorder or something similar that lets you make half-notes by half-covering holes, you can do it with a lot of difficulty. I don't know enough about how a bagpipe works to say why it's hard there, but it has something to do with limits on half-note intervals in the pipes or the drone or both. Generally, if you look at a written tune and it's full of incidental sharps and flats, you're going to have trouble. Older folk tunes use fewer of those; they're associated with a lot of modern or complicated changes in chords.

Grim said...

I see. Thank you for that explanation. The band master simply offered the phrase as if it should be self-explanatory, which I suppose it is if you know enough about music. :)