Lament for MacGregor of Rora

I learned this beautiful lament — the Lament for MacGregor of Rora — from the fiddle playing of Lauren MacColl. Her version is of the melody is simpler than many other versions you will find out there.

I love this lower key too. It is much more common to hear this played in the mode of A Dorian, but I’m playing it here in E Dorian. This key would be too low to play this lament on the pipes, of course, but it works beautifully on the fiddle.

Lament for MacGregor of Rora would normally be played on highland bagpipes, rather than fiddle

With laments, it is common to take a fluid approach to the rhythm and the tempo, and to ornament heavily with cuts, double cuts, grace notes, chords and drones.

I have transcribed Lament for MacGregor of Rora for fiddle in the sheet music below. However, it doesn’t do justice to the tune, since this is just the skeleton of the melody. When playing slow airs or laments, the player must choose how to, interpret, embellish and vary the melody to create expression and emotion in the music.

Just playing the notes below won’t really bring out this beautiful lament. So listen to the recording — or find other players’ versions of this tune — so that you can start to work out your own interpretation of the Lament for MacGregor of Rora on the fiddle.

Fiddle players, if you would like to take your fiddle playing to the next level, take a look at my online fiddle courses, including my free Irish fiddle course.

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