Cranford Publications News
Traditional Music from
Cape Breton, Ireland and Scotland
Volume #5, Newsletter #1 05-2016
Cranford Publications
Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
 1 888 860 8073  (FAX or message anytime)
 1 902 929 2391 (9AM-6PM AST)  promotes old-style instrumental Cape Breton and Celtic dance music. Notation, sound clips and information are posted online - resources that complement the books and recordings we make available. 

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Introductory Note from the Editor
Paul Cranford with Mildred Leadbeater on her 95th birthday

Happy World Fiddle Day!

This newsletter brings you information both from Cape Breton and from the world fiddling community.

Like past issues of my newsletter, content focuses on information of interest to tune players. Many of the links will take you to on-screen musical notation; others however can take you to other publishers and musican's sites - locations that have offerings of interest.

Updates have been done so, if you are a regular tune visitor to be sure to refresh your browser.

World Fiddle Day in Cape Breton

May 21 2016, is World Fiddle Day 2016. As a past patron of WFD I try to promote fiddling by issuing a newsletter to coincide with this annual event.

Here in Cape Breton, a land of fiddlers, WFD is pretty much business as usual. There are many on-going Saturday fiddling events which are held in different parts of the Island every week. Here is a partial list for tommorrow:
  • In Sydney, 3-6 Governors Pub hosts a ceilidh. This week I'm the featured fiddler with accompaniment by Mario Colosimo. We're both well-known as session players and so we will be welcoming guest fiddlers either to join us for a session or take a solo slot.
  • In Iona, 5-8 at the Highland Heights Inn, three of Cape Breton's finest, Howie MacDonald, Brenda Stubbert and Hilda Chiasson will be gracing the stage.
  • In West Mabou the weekly Saturday night family dance starts at 9 PM, this week featuring a teenage fiddler, Haley LeFort.
  • In Cheticamp, the Doryman Tavern holds their usual 2-6 Matinee this week with two fiddlers, Chrissy Crowley and Gillian Head accompanied by pianist Jason Roach
  • In Glendale there is a house party, part of Feis Cape Breton, a music mentoring project nuturing young Cape Breton musicians.

Tunes for Cheticamp

It has been a hard year for the people of Cheticamp, Cape Breton. The community is still reeling from the loss of three of their greatest fiddlers: Joe Cormier, b.1927, Arthur Muise, b.1950, and most recently Marc Boudreau b.1985. Below are links to a few tunes to celebrate the lives of those great musicians:
  • Southwest Bridge, a reel by Dan R. MacDonald - A Joe Cormier favourite by Cape Breton's most famous composer.
  • The Earl of Seafield's Reel - another Joe Cormier tune this one from 19th century Scotland.
  • March for Arthur - by Larry Parks (a fiddling cousin of Arthur). Arthur liked D minor.
  • Tunes with Arthur - by Brenda Stubbert (in the '80s Arthur visited the Stubbert household dozens of times).
  • The Paramedic - a hornpipe I wrote for Marc Boudreau a few years back while he was working as a Paramedic.
  • The Cheticamp Reel - a traditional Acadian tune.
  • Arthur's Visit to Point Cross - by Arthur's protege, Brent Aucoin
  • JP's Reel - an Arthur composition named for JP Cormier (transcribed from the playing of Brent Aucoin)
    • The MacDonald's March - Back in the days when Kay MacDonald was the host of the long running CBC radio program Island Echoes, the theme music was a Joe Cormier recording of this tune
    • Dan Cormier - A traditional Acadian reel often played by Joe Cormier
    • Missing Marc - a reel composed a few weeks back by Andrea Beaton for Marc Boudreau.
    • Arthur Muise - a jig composed by Jerry Holland
    • Arthur Muise - a reel composed by Jerry Holland
    • Johnnes Sturm - another G minor reel composed by Arthur, this one for the local luthier who made his fiddle.

    The Alexander Walker Collection

    Alexander Walker at Castle Newe
    It is the 150th anniversary of the Scottish publication of Alexander Walker's Collection of Original Fiddle Tunes. In his day, Walker was thought to be one of Scotland’s finest fiddlers. At home in the Glenbuchat area he was undoubtedly influential to the younger, but eventually more famous, fiddler-composer James Scott Skinner. In Cape Breton, Walker's music has long been a part of the repertoire. Over 50 of his tunes have been recorded or still circulate.

    Here at Cranford Publications a new expanded digital edition is in the works. All of the preparatory research and music arranging has been done. Peter Duffus of Aberdeenshire has supplied the historical research. His introduction sets the scene and describes how a man who came from one of the most isolated crofts in Aberdeenshire, grew up to rub shoulders with the landed gentry, scientists, thinkers and royalty itself.

    Walker in America
    During 2016 we will release this new issue of Walker's music and related history. All that remains to do is to assemble everything in a manner suitable for electronic viewing on tablets and computers etc. When complete, we will be seling a single downloadable, functional pdf includig linked indexes, navigation between related tunes etc. In the meantime, we have freely posted links to some samples of our work. The titles listed below are all downloadable/viewable tunes - each with extensive history.

    Castle Newe | The Bridge of Bucket | Isla Side Lasses | Lads of Tarland
    Lady Augusta Gordon Lennox | The Earl of Seafield | Lady Forbes of Newe  Lonach Hall | March to the Rendezvous | Marchoness of Townshend | Marr Lodge | Mayen House | Mill of Newe | The Willow Hornpipe | Royal Aberdeeenshire Highlanders | Mr. Barclay | Sir James M. Edingight | The Sporran Mullach | Tweedside Lasses | We'll Aye Gang Back to Yon Town
    The Free Gardener | The Banks of Avon

    Glenbuchat Heritage is a new strathspey I wrote for Peter Duffus

    Assuming you have received this newsletter from me (and not via a forward) you will receive another email when the project is completed (likely late summer). You can subscribe here.

    Preparing for the Digital world
    When I started publishing books in 1979, I could send a copy of the Skye Collection anywhere for $1.90.  The book retailed at $14.95.  With inflation I had to raise the price of books - I do try to keep it down, but now the same book has to cost $18.95.  Postage however is not under my control and now, to send the same book internationally costs approximately $40.

    Nobody likes books of music notation more than myself and I do plan to keep as many books in print as long as possible but, as described above, the economics are difficult. That being said, I get dozens of emails every years asking for my books in electronic form  I can only hope that the new generations of musicians will enjoy reading on tablets as much as the oldtimers enjoyed print.

    The Walker book decribed above, will be my first foray into that world. Eventually it appears l will have to make all my books available that way.

    Music History

    As I prepare for my entry to digital publishing I have recently purchased a tablet and am using it extensively for listening to music while I'm doing morning exercises.  As well I use it for reading - both music notation and books. Surprisingly I like it! Although relatively small (a 10" screen) resolution is very crisp and it works well for music on a piano or music stand.

    Since I'm interested in the history of Irish music and also working on a collection of Irish music, my first read is Reg Hall's impressive lifetime work -

    A Few Tunes of Good Music: A History of Irish Music and Dance in London, 1800-1980 & Beyond.

    This  1000+ page ebook,  is available FREE. Hard to believe but yes, you can freely download it in either PDF or Flipbook formats free-of-charge from the Topic Records website.

    Apps for Organizing your Digital Sheet Music Library
    Online tune sources

    Although you can use any PDF reader to resize and read music on your device, to manipulate tune medleys with ease there are music readers much better suited to the job. I'm experimenting with various software specialized for sheet music and will report my findings in the next newsletter.

    Two apps that are very full featured (ones that work for tune players who create their own medleys from multiple sources) include ForScore (ipad) and MobileSheetsPro (android). Both allow users to save personal medleys (create playlists) from source tunes - notation stored in different sequences, enlargements and in different files which you store in your device.

    A couple of good sites to gather digital copies of old Irish and Scottish music include The Irish Traditional Music Archive and Highland Music Trust.

    Books from Other Publishers

    In the non-digital domain, a couple of substantial printed books have been published which might be of interest to my readers. Not available from Cranford Publications, the following links take you to other sites where they are available:

    Tommy Peoples is a well-known Irish fiddler from Donegal. His self-published book, titled Tutor Text and Tunes is available direct from the author. It contains valuable insights both into his remarkable playing style and to the influences that have shaped his life and music. The music notation is his own calligraphy and the tunes a mixture of traditional and original. One tune of Tommy's tunes played by many, including Arthur Muise is The Green Fields of Glentown.

    The Cape Breton Fiddle Companion is a new work by Liz Doherty another fiddler who hails from Donegal. Born in Buncrana, after many, many pilgrimages to Cape Breton Liz has completed a project which honours Cape Breton's music - both past and present.

    Quoting from her intro " There is an Irish proverb that reads 'ní neart go cur le chéile' or many hands make light work. The Cape Breton Fiddle Companion has been from start to finish, a collaboration involving many people on both sides of the Atlantic."

    Her book is an overview covering almost every aspect of the music from tunes to technique, bios to venues, history to tune types - and much, much more. A large softcover volume of over 400 pages it is comprised predominantly of text but also includes many photos and example tunes. Organized alphabetically, it could be thought of as a user-friendly encyclopedia - with each entry making an enjoyable short read. Available from various outlets including CBU Press, Amazon and Cape Breton Books..... and yes - this one is also available for your e-reader from Kobo, Kindle store and Apple iTunes


     Flexible Bundle Offer - great value! 
    books form CranfordPub
    Custom book bundles
    Collectively the nine books in the Cape Breton Heritage Series now contain over over 2200 tunes. Individual titles retail at $19.95 or $24.95. Here however, for those of you looking for a bargain, you can buy in bulk - perhaps collectively for a group of musicians, or because you want to complete a personal library.

    Our  flexible bundle offers give you a choice of any eight or nine of the following eleven Cranford Publications titles offered below - (including multiple copies of the same book)

    • 8 books for $100 + postage.
    • 9 Books for  $112.50 + postage. (the complete 9 book CB Heritage Series -listed by date of 1st edition below).
    • More than 9 books - still $12.50 each... If you want to substitute from the list below or buy more than 9 copies of these titles just send an email after purchase

    These are the eligible titles:
    • The Cape Breton Highland Collection (2015)
    • The Cape Breton Scottish Collection (2013)
    • The Cape Breton Fiddlers Collection (2007)
    • Brenda Stubbert: The Second Collection (2006)
    • Jerry Holland: The Second Collection (2000)
    • Winston Fitzgerald: A Collection of Fiddle Tunes (1997)
    • The Lighthouse Collection (1996)
    • Brenda Stubbert's Collection (1994)
    • Jerry Holland's Collection (1988)
    Or add one or both of the following titles as substitutions:


    Happy World Fiddle Day. To easily locate all 46 tunes referenced in this newsletter go here.

    I hope you all have a tune-filled day!!


    Paul Cranford
    Cape Breton Island
    May, 2015

    PS - If you have enjoyed this newsletter feel free to forward it to an interested friend

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