I GOT A KISS OF THE KING'S HAND
This pibroch tune is said to have been composed in 1651 by Patrick Mor McCrimmon, a member of the most famous piping family, the McCrimmons of Skye. When King Charles II held a review of the Scottish army at Stirling, he was told that McCrimmon was known as the Prince of Pipers, and the King let the piper kiss his hand. The piper was so pleased he composed this pibroch on the spot.
A pibroch begins with a theme (called an urlar or ground) which is then varied throughout the piece. These variations become gradually more complex and rhythmic as the piece goes on. At the very end, the basic theme is sounded again. One thing that makes the variations more complex is the amount of ornamentation that the piper must play. Ornamentation consists of the little notes called 'grace notes' that are not part of the main melody. These notes are essential to all pipe music.
In our examples the small notes are the grace notes and the large notes are the main melody. You will see that the time signature changes between and within variations. Because of the amount of ornamentation we can only give a few bars of some of the variations. We show the first few bars of the urlar, which has 16 bars, and of three of the seven variations which are played in this tune.
On our recording you will hear only the first six bars of the 16 bar urlar, followed by six bars only of the same 'line' played in the seven variations, then the urlar again to finish.
The order of performance is urlar, dìthis, dìthis doubling, taorluath, taorluath doubling, crunluath, crunluath doubling, crunluath mach, then urlar again.