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The Art of Strathspey Playing

Learn tips and tricks of this most quintessential of Scottish tune types

The Art of Strathspey Playing is a series of lessons looking at the techniques one can employ on the fiddle to play strathspeys.

It will delve into the history of the strathspey and its key protagonists over the years, including Skinner and Marshall as well as some newer strathspeys penned in Scotland and Cape Breton in Canada.

This series of lessons will be pitched at the intermediate to advanced player, although improving learners may find some of the tips and lessons attainable.

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Alistair McCulloch

Your Tutor - Alistair McCulloch

Alistair McCulloch hails from Ayr in Scotland and is one of the country’s best known fiddle performers, teachers and composers with many appearances on radio and television. Past winner of many fiddle championships, Alistair is fiddle instructor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
The Alistair McCulloch Trio features Aaron Jones of Old Blind Dogs, and former Capercaillie whistle wizard Marc Duff. His playing has seen him confirmed “as one of the finest fiddlers and composers of his generation” by The Living Tradition.

Course Syllabus & Structure

Alistair McCulloch - Fiddle Tutor
Fiddle

Introduction to the Strathspey

Alistair McCulloch briefly discusses the strathspey, its history and some of the key protagonists.   This Post is only available to subscribed members. Login

Alistair McCulloch
Fiddle

The Iron Man

Alistair McCulloch introduces us to the first of his strathspeys in this series, the classic “The Iron Man” by the Strathspey King, James Scott Skinner.   This Post is only available to

Fiddle
Fiddle

Lord Seaforth

Next, Alistair teaches us a strathspey from the Atholl Collection, with a sightly softer tonality with it being in the key of G Major.   This Post is only available to subscribed

violin scroll on music
Fiddle

The North Side of the Grampians

Alistair’s next tune is one in C Major from the Knockie Collection of Highland Music compiled by Simon Fraser in the 18th Century.   This Post is only available to subscribed members.

fiddle on side
Fiddle

John Stephen of Chance Inn

The next strathspey to be taught by Alistair is a more contemporary one written by Angus Fitchett of Dundee.   This Post is only available to subscribed members. Login

violin scroll on music
Fiddle

JH Mackenzie of Garrynahine

Alistair looks at his first pipe strathspey written by Pipe Major Willie Ross, focusing on producing pipe ornaments to add colour to the piece.   This Post is only available to subscribed

TitleLesson Length
Introduction to the Strathspey02m 56s
The Iron Man19m 34s
Lord Seaforth20m 15s
The North Side of the Grampians22m 20s
John Stephen of Chance Inn19m 47s
JH Mackenzie of Garrynahine19m 31s
More Coming Soon!

Each lesson is split into 4 or 5 clips depending on the type of tune. 

This could be:
1. A Brief Intro and Play Through
2. A tutorial on the ‘A’ Section
3. A tutorial on the ‘B’ Section
4. A tutorial on ornamentation.

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