Book: Blondel Medieval Bagpipe Collection 3
Trios for three bagpipes in G & D or other Medieval instruments, arranged by Lizzie Gutteridge.
This is the third in Blondel’s series of Medieval Bagpipe Collections, each containing arrangements of tunes from the 13th to 15th centuries for a different combination of bagpipes or other (drone) instruments: Collection 1 is for three instruments with equal ranges droning in G, Collection 2 is for G pipes and large C pipes playing together in C. This book is for G and D pipes playing together with G as the tonal centre, and it is up to the performers whether to have both G and D drones going, or whether to plug the drones on the D instrument. My preference is to use only a small tenor drone on the D pipe, so that G is the lowest drone note. This collection starts with a quick tour of 13thc Europe: Hare, hare, hye!/Balaam! (Wolfenbüttel 2 codex) is a 3 part secular motet in the Parisian Notre Dame style, with words in praise of good ale and discussing the relative (heavy) drinking habits of the Scots, English and Normans. Edi beo thu hevene quene (Corpus Christi College Oxford 59) is one of the earliest examples both of English song, and of the English style of counterpoint with its distinctive use of 3rds as opposed to the 4ths and 5ths more prevalent on the European mainland in this period. The middle voice here has been added to the original two. Moving back to the mainland we then have Procenti Puero – Eya! Novus annus est (Florence Plut. 29.1), a New Year song in praise of Christ, originally a single line with the two lower voices added. Resonent in laudibus is a Christmas tune that will be familiar to many from later settings such as “Joseph, lieber Joseph mein” and “Let the voice of praise resound”. The Latin version seems to have been well know in the Middle Ages, appearing for the first time in the Moosburg Gradual of 1360. This arrangement takes the melody from the Swedish Piae Cantiones manuscript from the 1580s and adds two new harmony parts. Machaut’s monophonic virelais Comment qu’a moy is also given two new harmony parts here. The text is one of courtly love, as is the next piece Mit ganczem willen from the Locheimer Liederbuch, again a monophonic original with two extra voices added here. The next three are songs not of love but of war, starting with one of the most famous and most often re-worked tunes of the 15th century L’homme armé. Robert Morton’s versions of this tune in 3 and 4 parts are some of the earliest, and this arrangement is based on the lowest 3 voices of his 4 part setting. Hélas, Olivier Basselin (Manuscrit de Bayeux) is a lament for the imprisonment of the poet (and fuller) of that name from Normandy. By all accounts he had a tough time both English and French soldiers ransacking his fulling mill during the 100 years war. Reveillez vous picards (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, fonds français 12744) is a call to arms for the residents of the Picardy region of France where it is now the official regional anthem. It seems to have originated after the death of Charles the Bold when the both Louis XI and Maximillian of Austria laid claim to the regions of Picardy and Burgundy.
Finally, Propiñan de Melyor is an instrumental piece in 3 parts from the late 15thc Cancionero de la Colombina which is named for bibliophile Ferdinand Columbus, 2nd son of Christopher the explorer. It has a distinctive Spanish flavour and fits on G and D pipes with the original bass part raised an octave to become a countermelody. If you have a low G pipe then you could use it on that line to restore the original intervals between the parts.