I have heard from several older players that match sticks were used
under several keys to sound a constant drone when playing pump organ
together with violin to simulate the sound of the bagpipe. this
predates the widespread use of piano.
The fiddles reels, jigs, strathspeys and airs soon were being accompanied
by that darling of Victorian technology, the "pump organ". I want
to learn more about the style of that accompiament myself.
Much like eslewhere in North America, by the 1930's and 40's the old
parlor organ, once the symbol of conspicuous consumption, was looking
pretty outdated and the ear was tiring of it and getting a piano became
the new way to show your status. And the chording for the fiddlers
also moved to the piano, on a variety of uprights built in Nova Scotia.
Although, like so much traditional music, it almost died out in the
1970's, the 80's brought a revival, and now the music is quite alive and
well. In fact, it is still evolving, as the upright piano is now being
surely replaced by the portable digital piano, which is a lot easier to
maintain and to take to and from parish and legion halls for dances than
are 80 year old uprights.
On the Kichen Ceilidh list, there is some interest in reed organs, and
in fact folks were a little surprised that such things are still around -
more still surprised to learn that the supply exceeds demand and that
servicable organs can be had for a few hundred dollars or less.
Some have expressed interest in obtaining instruments. Others are interested
in making contact with people in their own area (note that perhaps a majority
of Capers do not live fulltime in Cape Breton, due to the paucity of employment
since the mines closed) who have RO's and would be interested in making
them available for some attempts at historical work.
I would especially call attention to Kate Dunlay and David
Greenberg. They have done a great deal of the modern musicological
research on the CB style, and are top rate players as well. They
are in the Toronto area, and I suspect we must have ROS members in the greater
Toronto area who might be interested in helping David and Kate, who
have a serious interest in working with reed organs in CB music.
See Kate & David's web page at http://www.total.net/~dungreen)
There are others who have expressed interest in buying a reed organ in
working condition. For the sake of the people on the Kitchen Ceilidh list,
I offer this URL: http://www.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk/ROS/ - from there you can
find the item to click which will tell you how to join the mailing
Don't be shy about the ROS list - we are very used to mail from
strangers asking "how can I sell my RO" - it would be most refreshing to
have a new face asking "where can I *buy* a RO near me"!
Also, it is my hope some folks, who may not be in a position to buy one,
may get together with people in thier area who aould enjoy have the RO used
for recreations of an old style of comping.
Kitchen Ceilidh itself is I belive an "invitation only" list, so I'll
not post data on joining, but if this is something of interest to a ROSer
please just email me (email@example.com) and I'll pass your name along -
I'm sure you'd be quite welcome!
Or if you are a ROSer who would like to be involved in some way, drop me
a note to forward to that list. Note that the highest concentrations
of Capers who live away are in Boston, Toronto, and Detroit, I believe.
One final note for the KC people who are in Nova Scotia - you should
be aware of the The Organery in Truro NS. This is a Bed & Breakfast and
museum of over 100 reed organs for viewing or playing, of which
you can learn a little more at this URL:
I think I posted this quote on the Scots list in the past, but I will repost
it since I now have a computer at home, or rather, one that I can carry
about with me.
>From "Theresa & Marie MacLellan: A Trip To Mabou Ridge", Rounder LP 7006,
1976 (yeah, I was even around then:))
"Marie MacLellan first learned to to accompany Scottish music on the parlor
organ, learning from her mother Mary. When Marie was young, pianos were
scarce in the countryside and it was not until she moved to Sydney after the
war that she really learned to play the instrument. To this day, Marie
regrets the passing of the old pump organ which she thinks was ideally
suited to Scottish music."
Timothy Jaques firstname.lastname@example.org
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
"Sometimes a majority simply means that all of the fools are of one mind."