Laura Risk Niel Gow's Lament sheet music

February 25, 2023, 8:35 AM · Apart learning the basics - the new teacher is really expert and have us restarting almost from scratch - I have my preferences for the kind of music I like to try the sound in my current horrible way, having as a goal to reach the emotion coming out from it.

One of the discoveries touching me more is this performance from Laura Risk and Voices of Music

There are a few version for the violin sheet music available, but none of them really resembling this beautiful one, wanted to ask if someone know is available somewhere.

Replies (7)

Edited: February 25, 2023, 10:30 AM · Hi DZ! It certainly is a very beautiful version of Niel Gow’s Lament, bringing out the haunting and plaintive quality. I suspect that what you will be able to find are basic melody transcriptions. Early music/folk groups mainly work up their own versions, according to the instruments they have available, creating extensions, divisions, repeats, harmonization etc to reach a performance version; and the melody versions available on line or in print seldom have have much else, let alone the violinist/fiddle line’s ornamentation. This latter requires a good knowledge of the relevant folk style and period practice. In my experience, early music groups are quite protective of their work. However, there is nothing to stop you drawing on their style in developing your own. Why not draw in a few friends to help out? A cellist, a guitarist, another violinist and a recorder player would get you set up nicely in this repertoire!
Edited: February 25, 2023, 12:10 PM · Thanks Richard, I have discovered a pretty similar version on Musescore

but trying it myself didn't sound right (of course with all the expected differences in term of instrument, strings and skills considered) and trying to correct it myself seems a long process.

I have asked my teacher, so will see if he has the time and is willing me to defocus from basics learning.

Being me a violin beginner and considering his methodic approach I suppose will not encouraging me, but as an adult doing this for passion I will find another path to pursue this :)

Maybe I'm writing something really unprofessional, but this is what I am.
Some years ago when I purchased a Yamaha Clavinova digital piano for my wife I tried some software able to extract automatically a sheet music from a song. Is the technology progressed so much to being useful in that even for this kind of baroque music.

February 25, 2023, 12:37 PM · DZ, The Musescore version looks nice, and your teacher might like the idea of learning a duet. There are also guitar or piano chords, which offer further possibilities. With folk/early music it’s usually a good idea to learn a fairly plain text version first, committing it to memory; then you can begin to elaborate, ornament and develop on it. It’s an enjoyable journey in time and sound, as you develop your inner images of the Scottish landscape to accompany your playing. Enjoy the journey!
Edited: February 25, 2023, 2:23 PM · Niel Gow composed a number of very fine laments and airs which are often played today, as well as many reels and strathspeys. The full name of this one is "Niel Gow's Lament for the Death of his Second Wife". If you go on online to you can find several free sheet music versions of this famous tune. Richard P. in his responses gives excellent advice about playing this music.
Edited: February 25, 2023, 4:41 PM · As far as I know, there is a strong tradition of improvised ornamentation in Celtic music, and I think that the Laura Risk version is so beautiful because she is superlative at this. She has written articles on the subject - see here

Voices of Music are one of my favourite Youtube channels - they are experts at historically informed performances. That said, as much as I love to hear them play Vivaldi etc. I also love another Laura Risk folk performance

Edited: February 25, 2023, 6:53 PM · Will have a discussion with the teacher on Monday, will see if he think will make sense to accommodate a path for learning this inside our Suzuki book 1 level learning.

As adult my goals are different respect my 4.5 years old daughter, I want to play with my wife beautiful music. Technique is key to play, but like the idea having a benchmark for our process in a music we like.

I have seen the different versions in TheSession, but none of them seems coming close the one of Laura Risk, that's the one I get so much emotion from.

I'm listening many other her performances like the linked Crooked tunes from Quebec (I like it a lot also), but also from another Voices of Music "solist" (not sure can say so, just my ignorance about the official roles in their ensemble), Alana Youssefian, like the Antonio Bertali Ciaccona I like a lot

Think anyway this Lament song version is not only beautiful, but possibly achievable at multiple levels of correctness even for us beginners (at least that's my hope, testing this morning the Musescore sheet music I was able to get a recognizable result).

March 11, 2023, 12:40 AM · Neil Gow's Lament for the Death of His Second Wife is one of the most popular Airs in all of Scottish fiddling, I think. You'll find transcriptions in practically every collection of tunes out there.

Notes and rhythms are somewhat fungible in Scottish fiddling, and as you work with the style you get a sense of what is integral to the tune and what you can change. (For instance, the dotted-note pattern is often reversible between long-short and short-long.)

Similarly, ornamentation is up to the fiddler. Everyone's going to play these tunes a bit differently, and very few people write down their ornaments unless they're conveying them explicitly to a student.

If you want to learn Scottish fiddling, you should study with someone who's a Scottish fiddler, or at the very least attend Scottish fiddling jams led by an instructor. Many Scottish fiddlers play classical, too, and have solid classical technique.

Scottish tunes aren't easy even if many of them are intended to be played in the first position, and you'll probably be at the end of Suzuki book 2 or so before you have sufficient technique to do so.

Also, being able to play the base tune is quite different from making it sound stylistically appropriate, which in turn is different from making the tune your own with ornamentation and variance. A Scottish fiddler's ornaments ought to be quick and clear, which means you'll need reasonable left-hand facility before you're able to manage that aspect of the music. It also takes a fair amount of right-hand control to produce varying tone colors and shape the line without relying on much if any vibrato.

Picking up the 'dialect' of the style is its own thing, a form of musicianship separate from the technical bits. I recorded this Lament for an online camp when I took up Scottish fiddling during the pandemic (YouTube link) and listening it to now, I can only feel, intuitively, that I would not play it like that now.

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