Annotation:Piper's Cave (1) (The)

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PIPER'S CAVE [1], THE. Scottish, March (2/4 time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB'. With the addition of a third part set as a polka, this has been recorded under the name “Scartaglen Polka,” one of several tunes bearing the name of that Sliabh Luachra, County Kerry, Ireland, town. A reel or polka version called "The Boys of the Balivanich" was recorded by Northumbrian piper Joe Hutton.

There are several 'piper's caves', some with stories attached. There are Piper's Caves on Cape Breton island, Nova Scotia, a chalk Piper's Cave in County Antrim, Ireland, and one at Campbelltown, Argyll. Carl Engel, in his Musical Myths and Facts (1876) tells of one Scottish Highland cave:

There is also still in the Highlands a cave called Uamh na'm Piobairean—i.e., " The Piper's Cave," into which the famous Macruimean with his children used to repair to practise the bagpipe. This cave is on the top of a brae, or rising ground, eight miles north from Dunvegan Castle. Even his daughters, people say, would occasionally steal to the cave, if they could lay hold on their father's favourite set of pipes, and indulge in a vigorous practice for an hour or so. Moreover, at what time the Macruimean family was first established as the hereditary bagpipers of the Lairds of MacLeod, no one can say now; for it was so very long ago.

Fr. John Quinn finds this tune to be a reworking of melodic motifs found in the well-known polka "Maggie in the Woods."

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Martin (Ceol na Fidhle, vol. 2), 1988; p. 10.

Recorded sources : - Jock Tamson's Bairns - "May You Never Lack a Scone." East Allen Recording EAR 015-2, Joe Hutton - "Joe Hutton - Northumbrian Piper"

See also listing at :
Hear the folk-tale of a piper who disappeared into a cave at Tobar an Dualchais [1]

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