A highland tune in a modern style: The Lochaber Badger

Fred Morrison

This week we continued looking at the tunes that Amble Skuse taught in February. There was a big pentatonic theme and we focused on a modern one by the highly-regarded Fred Morrison, who plays various pipes and whistles and writes distinctive tunes.

The Lochaber Badger is a relatively simple reel with modern-sounding, syncopated phrases that come out of the Highland piping tradition. It makes a good introduction to this style of tune, having a hypnotic quality and able to take being played fairly slowly. Where the notes are held across the main beats, you can provide more air on the beat to make it pulse and give it a bit of swing, which is what we did in the class.

Other Fred Morrison tunes are to be found in two collections of his compositions that can be purchased through his website.

I have recorded Lochaber Badger on flute and whistle, but not provided notation, which can be found with some discussion at The Session website (ours is the first one, in Em). My recording of a simplified, slowed down version can be found on the Resources page. Here is Fred Morrison himself playing it with Michael McGoldrick (the second tune in the set):

Photo of Fred Morrison by BedwyrPhoto.com, some rights reserved.

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