Pipe Marches on the Fiddle by Eggspert Dougie Lawrence

Do you enjoy listening to pipe tunes on the fiddle. More especially, do you enjoy 2/4 marches on the fiddle? Read on. Douglas Lawrence has been a friend since he played with the Whistlebinkies 40 years ago, writes Robert Wallace

A native of Buckie on the Moray coast, he is a brilliant fiddler, winner of major awards and a former member of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. A teacher of renown, six of his pupils won the Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship.

Douglas, or Dougie, was taught by his grandfather, and then, for 12 years, by Hector MacAndrew the renowned piper turned fiddler. Hector’s pièce de résistance was the 2/4 competition pipe march.

This skill he passed on to Dougie. You may have read before about how one of the most enjoyable performances of GS McLennan’s P/M John Stewart I have heard was by Dougie on the boat to a folk festival on Arran in the early 80s.

Dougie is also a football fan and a devotee of his local team, Buckie Thistle. Two weeks ago he drove north, trusty fiddle on board, to watch his team and stay overnight in the family flat. As I write, he is still there.

The lockdown means he can’t get back to Glasgow. His wife is getting concerned; not only about his general well being but how he will be able to boil his morning eggs. Only she knows the precise time it takes to get them as he likes.

Ever resourceful, Dougie applied some thought – he had plenty of time for that particular endeavour – and came up with a solution viz: an egg placed in warm water is just perfect if he starts one of his four parters when the water bubbles to a simmer. At the end of the tune, off with its head and there it is, not too hard, not too soft.

He has put his process to the proof and posted it on YouTube. You have just got to watch and listen. Seldom has horsehair given more harmony; seldom has a pipe march sounded so eloquent; seldom have boiled eggs had such an enjoyable timer:

A real character, and, as I say, a brilliant musician. Now I know there are piping fiddlers out there. Would you like to send us in a video of your playing of some of our favourite music on the violin? Usual address. And before we go, here’s Dougie with the Braes of Castle Grant:

  • Read more about Dougie here. PS: Keep the Lockdown Challenge stuff coming in folks. Publishing your essays, pictures and tunes soon.
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