Miss Rowan Davies

  1. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    I hope that there is not another thread lurking on the SAW group for this tune, other than on the Poll Tune Suggestions where CC has recommended it in the past few days.

    Here is my version, played on octave and acoustic guitar, with the acoustic guitar having an extra track. One track has the chords (key of G) in open position then the second track adds same chords but capoed at 7th fret to add another layer to the backing.

    The pictures were taken this morning in The Bishop's Glen above Dunoon near my home.

  2. crisscross
    Wonderful version of this nice tune John!
    And beautiful pictures...
  3. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Very nice, John. Lovely photos to such a lovely tune and masterfully played as well.
  4. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Really beautiful John.
    It’s like the sound track to a film.
  5. Frithjof
    Very enjoyable music, John. The pictures make me want to hike this landscape.
  6. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Very beautiful. The octave gives it such depth, very nice.
  7. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Where are my hankies when I need them - this is so peaceful, tune and pictures, that it instantly makes the world leap to a better level.
  8. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks so much, everyone. Mr Cunningham certainly can turn out a great tune, and he has composed so many too. It is a very enjoyable tune to play. Thanks to crisscross for putting it in my mind with his Poll suggestion.
  9. Robert Balch
    Robert Balch
    Very beautiful John. The music and the photos go so well together. The double guitar track with the capo at the 7th gives it a nice depth. Great idea.
  10. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Here's my take on Miss Rowan Davies.

  11. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Lovely stuff John and David - really enjoyed both of those versions!
  12. Frithjof
    As beautiful as Johnís version, David. Only the atmosphere of your recording seems to be darker. May be all the fog in some of the chosen pictures makes that.

    I like to play that too. Found the sheet music in The Session.
  13. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks David, It’s nice to see the contrast of the timing/tempo between the two of your versions.

    Here’s version 1 with TAB, though there are three versions on thesession.org
  14. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    What a lovely version, David, and a fine arrangement. I love your choice of photos here - I recognise them as almost entirely Scottish, so extra thanks for this, Phil and I both being proud Scots.
  15. crisscross
    Another fine version of this tune, David!
    The concertina adds some almost orchestral qualities.
  16. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Very impressive David, and I think I recognized many of the photos as well, at least those from Skye (Quiraing, Storr, Dunvegan? John will set me right here, I expect).
  17. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Somehow I got it in my head that Miss Rowan Davies was from the Isle of Skye, she may be but it turns out I was thinking of another Phil Cunningham tune, Margaret MacKinnon of Digg. Digg is on Skye. Most of the photos are of Skye or Scotland but only John can know for sure.
  18. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    This is a truly beautiful tune, and two great recordings.

    Here is mine. As with the other Phil Cunningham tune I have uploaded today, I have recorded it as a mandolin duet with tenor guitar backing, using a transcription by the Dunedin Scottish Fiddle Orchestra at:


    This one uses my Vinaccia bowlback, for a quite different tone from the Gibson I've used for The Hut On Staffin Island. The portraits in the video are all portraits of or by Scottish women, although not necessarily all called Rowan...

    1898 Giuseppe Vinaccia mandolin (x2)
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar

  19. crisscross
    Beautiful mandolin duet, Martin!
    And thanks for the link to the tunebook.
  20. Frithjof
    Beautiful piece of chamber music, Martin.
    The compilation you linked to is a treasure itself.
  21. Frithjof
    I just overlooked Christianís post. Obviously we thought the same.
  22. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    All nice versions of a beautiful song. Sorry I missed the boat on this one. By the time I mentioned it to John, he had it done, posted and off to play in his fiddle group.
  23. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    A lovely chambermusical rendition, Martin, and the bowlback makes it unmistakeably Italian. I'll call this "Pipe Major Cunningham's Farewell to Venice".
  24. Robert Balch
    Robert Balch
    3 great renditions of this beautiful tune. I think I might have to put this on the "to learn" pile!
  25. crisscross
    I also put it on my "to learn"pile and today found some time to record my modest version:
  26. Frithjof
    Thatís a nice one, Christian.
  27. crisscross
    Thanks Frithjof! Listening back to yesterday's recording, I discovered some timing irregularities.
    The eighth notes after the long note seemed a bit hurried and a bit too late. So I tried to record the mandolin part again.
    Hope it's better now...
  28. Frithjof
    Your playing is very sensitive today, Christian.
  29. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Nice one, Christian.
  30. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Wow! Standards are high, CC. Well done.
  31. Gelsenbury
    Very nice tone and timing!
  32. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Unless it sounds awkward there are no rules saying every note has to be of the written note value. You can make it your own, as long as you like it. This is a very nice one.
  33. crisscross
    Thanks a lot folks!
    (I'm not talking about changing the note value consciously, Ginny, in my first recording I played a little inexactly.)
  34. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Christian said: "I'm not talking about changing the note value consciously, Ginny, in my first recording I played a little inexactly."

    This is the difference between playing strict tempo, as written, and actually feeling the tune as you play it. Maybe the notes need to be adhered to more strictly when there are several players all playing the same thing, or at least melody and first and second harmonies as in Strathspey and Reel Societies (in Scottish music). I always think a slow air is best played by a solo fiddler rather than by a group, beause this allows the player to give expression to the tune and make the interpretation their own. Ginny's idea of there being no rules is one we can embrace in the tunes we play on the SAW group. Even playing for dancing allows one to vary phrases and notes as long as the tempo remains steady!
  35. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Ok thanks guys. Getting my two hours out of bed to write and get 'educated' My point was CC did a good job.
  36. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    This tune was in my Winter Tune Camp syllabus and it is to my ears quite wintery too.

  37. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Hope the rumble in the background is traffic noise and not a wintery avalanche, Simon! Good try once again.
  38. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks John, yes I’m beginning to despair with the traffic, everyone’s home on holiday at the moment, there has to be ten times more cars than last year, and in fact there’s actually meant to be a 12 mph speed limit in the village... it’s often 30.
    But I’m recording a lot of tunes a day so happy about that at least.

    Tomorrow I may try using the wind cover on the microphone, gain v low, very close to the instrument and high amplification afterwards. Or maybe even buy a pickup, quickly before the markets close.
    Fives tunes left...
  39. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Another revisited tune -- as with a couple of others this weekend, I've used OM accompaniment instead of tenor guitar, which suits the tune I think. Otherwise the same duo arrangement I used in my earlier recording. I'm playing each of the three parts of the tune first without and then with tremolo.

    1898 Giuseppe Vinaccia mandolin (x2)
    Mid-Missouri M-111 octave mandolin

  40. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Listening again to your version of November 2019, Martin, I think I prefer the balance in that one. I feel the harmony line is just a bit too loud in the mix in this latest version, competing with rather than complementing the melody line. Still a fine delivery from you, of course.
  41. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, John -- always good to hear what doesn't quite work.

    Mixing is always tricky -- I find that the balance is completely different depending on the speakers used for playback and while I try to tweak after listening to it on a number of different setups, I don't always get it right. It sounds good to me on my main speaker for music listening, but I appreciate that it's different to my earlier take. Some of that is in the playing as I took it a bit quicker and I tried to get some snap into the fiddle ornamentation in the varations. It's also a quite different combination of tremolo and single stroke than my earlier one. However, I think the biggest difference in sound is the OM which is a more resonant instrument than the tenor guitar I used before.

  42. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    You are so right, Martin. When we are mixing we are always aware of the fact that other people (our hoped-for audience) will be listening on their own setups, which vary from phone through laptop, PC to high quality sound systems. I have a set of Beyerdynamic Studio headphones and a pair of Samson near-field monitors and it is always a revelation to listen to a mix on both of those then play it back as the YouTube video through the computer's desktop speakers.
    Your point about the octave v tenor for resonance is a good one too. The double courses on the octave certainly give more sustain. Glad we have this forum for swapping our thoughts and ideas.
  43. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    I didn't comment on Simon's version yet: nice playing in urban surroundings, Simon!
    In Martin's recording, I especially like the phrases played tremolo. They seem to stand out clearer against the second mandolin. And Martin's nice recording gave me the idea to also revisit this tune. I found the sheet music at
    That's an interesting chord progression, especially, when you play the third G-major chord with a b in the bass, you have a descending scale in the bass.
    Mandolin-wise I tried the rest-stroke the way it is taught in German mandolin tutorials:
    all notes are played with a downstroke, except those, that are too fast, get alternated, as in a tremolo for example. By playing all eighth-notes with a downstroke, the natural accents get a bit lost and have to be executed consciously. OK, enough rambling, here's Miss Rowan Davis Revisited:
  44. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    This is a lovely arrangement, Christian. The melody really comes out so clearly against your guitar backing. Your comment about the use of the downstroke is close to my heart. I play most of my slow tunes almost entirely with downstrokes as I have more control of the notes that way. My version at the start of this thread is played almost entirely with downstrokes, even the odd runs I have put in.

    I love the pictures of Edinburgh you have used here too. It is such a photogenic city, especially in the Old Town.
  45. Bren
    Thanks all.
    I finally got round to listening to this thread and realised that a local fiddler would come to our house every New Year and play this tune, and every New Year I would ask him what it was and every New Year I would forget.

    I vaguely remembered that there was a Phil Cunningham tune he played that I liked but couldn't remember how it went, but hoped I would remember it if I heard it.

    A couple of weeks ago I ventured out for the first time in a very long time, to attend a concert by Phil and Aly at the Aberdeen Tivoli.

    Somehow I've never managed to catch one of their concerts before.

    I was hoping that they'd play that tune I couldn't remember, but they didn't.

    The new (to me) tune that I liked was Dr Robbie Shepherd MBE, a waltz, (from their recent album "No Rush") not to be confused with a 6/8 tune of a similar name by another accordionist, Graeme Mitchell.
  46. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Bren, thanks for the info on Phil's Robbie Shepherd tune. A new one to me. I have just had a quick listen to it on YT and it has quite a continental feel to it, I think. My accordion buddy plays the Graeme Mitchell one regularly and it is a cracking tune too.

    I envy your attendance at the concert in Aberdeen. I have managed to catch Phil and Aly on the occasions they have come here (to Dunoon) to perform and an evening with them is so much more than just the super music they play. The stories and banter could keep the evening going on their own.

    Re remembering titles of tunes - my bogie tune seems to be Lady Leverpark. Every time we play it in a set or even on its own I have to ask what it is called.
  47. Frithjof
    Just today I found time to listen to the last three recordings. Fine versions by Simon, Martin and Christian.
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