Stalker Castle – Slip Reel?

Here’s an interesting wee tune from The Piper’s Assistant, Published by Glen Bagpipe Makers in 1845 and edited by John McLachlan.

In the book it is transcribed as a ‘Slow March’ in 3/4 but it seems to make more sense in 6/4. I’m not aware of too many highland tunes in this time signature other than some port à beul tunes such as A’ Bhriogais Uallach and An Drochaid Chliùiteach although it seems much more common in the old border pipe repertoire. I have heard some people use the term ‘slip reel’ to describe tunes in this time signature.

The full book can be accessed on The National Library of Scotland’s website as part of their collection of printed music by clicking here. I first heard the tune on Jock Tamson’s Bairns’ 2005 album Rare.

Castle Stalker (as it is more commonly known) is on a small tidal island in Loch Linnhe, North Argyll. You can read about it on the wikipedia page or my pals Rab and Michelle at Imagine Alba can take you on a guided tour.

Photo by Gil Cavalcanti.

I use the excellent, open-source software MuseScore for final score engraving. You can also upload your tunes to and then embed the score in your own site.

Stalker Castle – Traditional Scottish by bagpie

Below is the tune in ABC Notation. ABC is a great way to share simple, single staff notation and is popular amongst traditional musicians. You can learn about ABC notation here and I recommend EasyABC to convert the tunes into standard notation, for editing and playback (a working version for 64bit MacOS is available here for the moment).

T:Stalker Castle
d2 a2 f2 a2 c2 BA | d2 a2 fedc f2 B2 | d2 a2 f2 ed c4 | BdcB ABce f2 Bc 😐
|: d2 cB d2 cB c2 BA | d2 cB c2 BA f2 B2 | d2 cB d2 ed c2 ac | BdcB ABce f2 Bc 😐

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *